DTM 2017: Norisring – Race 2

Sensational sprint to finish line in Race 2 at the Norisring: In the second race in front of 125,000 spectators (through the gates over the weekend), the two Pink Panthers, Lucas Auer and Edoardo Mortara finished on the podium, placing second and third respectively in their BWT Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTMs. In a race filled with drama that was stopped for half-an-hour following a crash, Lucas Auer moved up the field from sixth on the grid to P2. With 87 points, he is now only two points down on championship leader Mattias Ekström (Audi).

His team-mate, Edoardo Mortara, clawed his way into third place over the last few metres of the race in a photo finish with Mattias Ekström and Marco Wittmann (BMW). This was Mortara's second time in the points during the race weekend at the Norisring. He finished third in the second round on Sunday after placing eighth in the first race on Saturday.

Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) crossed the finish line behind them in sixth place. Robert Wickens (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM Mercedes me) was second on the grid and went into the lead at the start but dropped out of the points after a contact with Audi driver René Rast. He fought his way back up into P11 during the rest of the race. Maro Engel (SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) finished his 50th DTM race in P14.

Gary Paffett (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM Mercedes me) retired following a crash shortly after the safety car period. Gary lost control of his car on a bump in the track after a minor contact while battling with Jamie Green (Audi). He went into the barriers and then crashed sideways into the car of Mike Rockenfeller (Audi). The race was then stopped for half-an-hour. The two drivers were able to get out of their cars unaided.

Qualifying: Robert Wickens posted the second-fastest lap time at the Norisring in the second qualifying session of the weekend. He was in the end just four thousandths of a second adrift of the pole time set by Tom Blomqvist (BMW). 'It was an incredibly close qualifying session, considering that there was less than two tenths between P1 and P10,' said Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Ulrich Fritz. 'Rob posted a terrific lap.'

The next race weekend: The DTM makes a second foreign excursion of the current season on the weekend of 21st - 23rd July. This time, the teams and drivers have a journey of 2,000km to Russia. The two races will be contested on the 3.93km Moscow Raceway in the city of Volokolamsk, which is actually 80km northwest of the Russian capital.

Comments after the Race

Lucas Auer (22, Austria):

  • P2
  • Car number: 22
  • Team: BWT Mercedes-AMG Motorsport
  • Car: BWT Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM

'That was amazing - what a race! Obviously, I'm hoping that Gary and Mike are OK after the accident. Massive congratulations to my team. It was a master performance. On the last ten laps, I got a cramp and had to brake with my right foot. But anyway, I'm happy now. In the last four qualifying sessions, I've consistently been among the Top Seven, but I didn't always have race luck on my side. Now it's back. That gives me confidence for the next race weekend.'

Edoardo Mortara (30, Italy):

  • P3
  • Car number: 48
  • Team: BWT Mercedes-AMG Motorsport
  • Car: BWT Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM

'When you're in a fight like that with two other guys, it's like a drag race from the last turn to the finish line. It was tough, but ultimately it went my way and I had my nose in front. Third place from 16th on the grid is simply unbelievable. This is a fantastic result for the team and for me. I could have had a podium already - that was in Race 2 at Hockenheim - but I made a mistake there. Now I'm so pleased to have got my first DTM podium as a member of the Mercedes team. Hopefully, there will be more of these in the future.'

Paul Di Resta (31, Scotland):

  • P6
  • Car number: 3
  • Team: SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG Motorsport
  • Car: Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM

'It was a better day for the team with a double podium. For me, though, it was a bit of a mixed race. We had a decent strategy before the safety car. I actually picked up two punctures just before the red flag, so I only just managed to get back round the track. After the restart, I was in sixth place and that's the position I finished in. It could have been a bit better, but at least I got some points. After a difficult weekend for me here, my focus is now on the next two races.'

Robert Wickens (28, Canada):

  • P11
  • Car number: 6
  • Team: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Mercedes me
  • Car: Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM Mercedes me

'I don't really know what happened in the race, to be honest. I had a great start and took the lead. Everything was looking pretty good, and then I caught the lap traffic from people who had already made pit stops. They held me up massively. Being realistic, we should have pitted before that, but I lost probably four or five seconds and came out in P8. Then Rast drove me into the wall on the exit from Turn 1. It just went downhill from there. The biggest thing is that Gary is okay. That's the most important news of the day, but I'm massively disappointed with the race. After starting on the front row and leading the opening stint, you don't expect to finish outside of the Top Ten. That was no fault of the guys or me. Motorsport can be pretty cruel sometimes.'

Maro Engel (31, Germany):

  • P14
  • Car number: 63
  • Team: SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG Motorsport
  • Car: SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM

'Irrespective of the result today, the most important news is that Gary is doing reasonably well in the circumstances. I saw the accident right in front of me. Such a high-speed accident and such a powerful impact never look good. For me, it was unfortunately a weekend to forget. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the balance of my car right, so there were no points for me this weekend. Lucas scored a lot of points towards the championship, though, and there were two of our drivers up there on the podium. I'm now looking forward to Moscow. The circuit is new to me, but I've heard a lot about it, and I think it will be fun to drive there.'

Gary Paffett (36, England):

  • retired
  • Car number: 2
  • Team: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Mercedes me
  • Car: Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM Mercedes me

'That was a bad smash, but I'm fine. I'm sorry that Rocky got hit and injured as a result. I hope he'll get well soon. My special thanks go to all the medics - both at the racetrack and in the hospital. They took excellent care of me...'

Ulrich Fritz, Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM:

'First of all, get well soon, Rocky. Hopefully he'll be just fine again soon. We obviously don't want to see anything like that in motor racing. Luckily, Gary is only bruised according to an initial examination. It's not easy to sum up in words exactly what happened here. The photo-finish in particular was absolutely amazing. Ending up on the podium with Luggi and Edo today is incredible and makes up for yesterday.'

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