Analysis: Lausitzring

Motorsport rocks Lausitzring: 67,500 spectators headed to the Motorsport Festival at the Lausitzring, where the DTM was being staged alongside the ADAC GT Masters and other series at the weekend (3rd-5th June). The Lausitzring has always been a good circuit for the Mercedes-AMG DTM team. No manufacturer has won there more times than the brand with the three-pointed star. Bernd Schneider and Gary Paffett jointly hold the record for the greatest number of wins at the Lausitzring with three each. Reigning DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein took his maiden win there in 2014 – and Lucas Auer has now achieved the same feat. The Tyrolean became the first Austrian winner of a DTM race since DTM records began by securing an outstanding maiden win. 

Lucas Auer dominates proceedings at Lausitzring

Lucas Auer marked his first DTM victory with whoops of joy and relief at the finish line. "I've never had to work so hard for a win as I've had to today," he told us afterwards. "It was really tough. The first few laps were really critical." In the course of these laps, Auer, who was on pole for the second time in his DTM career, continually drew away from his rivals. By the end of the first lap, he was already nine-tenths up on his Mercedes-AMG DTM team-mate Robert Wickens, who had shot up into second position at the start. Over the ensuing laps, the gap on the Canadian hovered around the two-to-three tenths of a second mark. Wickens came closer at times, but Auer always then managed to pull away a little.

The Austrian succeeded in increasing his lead to more than one second for the first time on Lap 6. From that point on, he continually drew away from Wickens and rivals Timo Glock and Gary Paffett. After eleven laps, Auer's lead in the #6 SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM had already increased to 2.2 seconds. Two laps later, it was three seconds, and then five seconds another two laps after that. He continued to extend his lead even further until his pit stop on Lap 18. Auer went back into P1 following Mattias Ekström's (Audi) stop on Lap 32 with a 6.5-second lead on Wickens which he then maintained to the end of the race.

"My crew did great on the pitstop, and my pace was also very good. It's mega to have won my first DTM race", said Auer. "The DTM is a fantastic series, and it makes me really proud to take my maiden win in it, particularly as I'm the first driver from my country to pull it off. We're going to celebrate today. I'm especially pleased for Peter Mücke. He lives and breathes motor racing and thoroughly deserves this win." His colleagues also congratulated Auer on a terrific weekend, during which he showed strong pace from the very first practice session on Friday. "He was simply unstoppable this weekend and really deserved to win", said Robert Wickens. "I would also have liked to win obviously, but it was his day today, and I'm very happy for him."

New championship leader: Robert Wickens takes lead in overall standings

The victory that Robert Wickens so desired was not to be at the Lausitzring. Nevertheless, the Canadian had a good showing with two third places in the two races. He is on 58 points after the first six rounds of the season and now heads the DTM drivers' standings with a lead of three points on Marco Wittmann (BMW). The Lausitzring with its unique track characteristics really suited the Canadian. "The track reminds me a little of those in North America," said Wickens. "There are a lot of bumps, which requires a completely different driving style."

Wickens had already shown in the first race on Saturday that he would be a force to be reckoned with this weekend. "I made a good start and moved up into third place. I then chased the two Audis, but unfortunately, it didn't work out." In the end, he crossed the finish line after 32 laps with a deficit of just two seconds on second-placed Jamie Green (Audi).

On Sunday, Wickens again gained position at the start, slotting into second place behind Lucas Auer. He defended P2 from Gary Paffett until his pit stop on Lap 15.  Wickens once more moved into second place behind Auer after all the drivers had completed their mandatory pit stops. Over the closing laps, however, Ekström drew inexorably closer to finally overtake him shortly before the end of the race. "We made an early pit stop to change tyres. I had to stay out for a long time after that on the same set," said Wickens. "Ekström was really fast towards the end. I didn't have any grip after the Slow Zone and had to make sure that I didn't drop any points."

A similar fate befell Gary Paffett. "In the end, I couldn't hold off Jamie Green and Mattias Ekström behind me," said Paffett. "They were simply quicker than me at the time. Fifth place brings some good points with it, but it's slightly disappointing, because I had set my heart on finishing third." 

Apart from delighted winner Lucas Auer, second Pink Panther Christian Vietoris also finished in the points in both races in his BWT Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM, rounding off a good team performance by the Mercedes-AMG DTM team. "Overall, we are obviously very pleased with the weekend", said Head of Mercedes-AMG DTM Ulrich Fritz. "The team are now being rewarded for their hard work."

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