Quick Chat: Robert Wickens
Rob, at the Nürburgring last weekend, you registered your first win of the season. How do feel now after a few days have elapsed?
Robert Wickens: It was an amazing weekend. Going into it, I was pretty optimistic, but in the DTM you can never really expect to have a weekend like we had. We were pretty fortunate with the weather on Saturday, because we thought that we would actually not be that strong in dry conditions. I think, the fact that it rained all day Saturday was a major factor behind our result – a one-two-three-four and all six cars in the points. That was an amazing day for the brand. On Sunday, in dry conditions, we followed it up with a more or less similar performance. As a team, that shows how far we have come and that we are constantly pushing. We have put behind us the bad news that we are stopping at the end of 2018 and are now determined to show that we are still fighting hard and we’re not giving up. A double podium weekend in DTM is nearly impossible to come by, and the fact that I have done it twice this year shows how strong a team we are.
There are still 100 points up for grabs this season, and you are 36 behind the current leader in the standings, Mattias Ekström. Do you see yourself as still in with a chance of taking the title?
Robert Wickens: I don’t really want to think about the championship, to be perfectly honest. I’m racing for the passion and for the enjoyment of being in the DTM. Ahead of the Nürburgring weekend, the championship was far out of my mind. I just wanted to enjoy it, but it was a fantastic weekend that put me straight back into the hunt. All season I’ve had a mental thought process of just going race by race and taking everything day by day. I haven’t looked too far into the future, because I can only control what I do and what my team does. It’s an amazing season, and the fact that there are ten drivers all with a very good shot at winning the championship is unheard of. The fact that there are ten drivers who – within one weekend – could mathematically take the lead of the championship is amazing and unbelievable. During my entire time in motorsports, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like it.
In the second race on Sunday, a relatively large number of drivers complained about the ruthless tactics being employed on the track. Is this standard for the DTM, or is it that we’ve now entered the countdown to the title, in which anything goes?
Robert Wickens: Judging by my own experiences, it usually gets tougher at this stage of the season. Last weekend, I was affected by the strategies applied by Audi. I’m sure other drivers might see it differently, but from my experience, when I was leading after the pit stop and caught Duval and Müller, I thought both of them took their team tactics a little bit too far, especially given that I wasn’t a direct threat in the championship. They were just trying to slow everyone down to help Audi’s main title contenders. I understand it’s a part of DTM, but I think at Mercedes we can hold our head up high, because we are not doing any of that. We are trying to give the fans the best show possible and give them fair and real racing. The fight that Marco (Wittmann) and I had was just a pure old-school fight the whole race. In my mind, it was very entertaining, and I enjoyed it very much. It was a lot of fun.