Mercedes-AMG Motorsport’s 400th DTM/ITC race.
Gary Paffett (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM Mercedes me) finished second on the podium in Mercedes-AMG Motorsport’s 400th DTM/ITC race. This race, marking a special milestone, in front of 79,500 spectators (during the whole weekend) was really something with a safety car period, changeable weather conditions and plenty of scraps for position. Lucas Auer (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM BWT) finished Race 2 in fourth place, just missing the podium. He leads the DTM drivers’ standings after the first race weekend with a score of 40 points. Paffett has 26 points, the same as the winner of the second race, Jamie Green (Audi), and is in third place overall. Mercedes-AMG on 92 points top the manufacturers’ rankings. Mercedes-AMG Motorsport BWT lead the team standings with 53 points.
Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) and Maro Engel (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM SILBERPFEIL Energy) also finished in the points. Di Resta crossed the finish line in P6, Engel was tenth. Edoardo Mortara (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM BWT) started the race from grid slot four. The Italian dropped down the field after a scrap at the start but fought his way up into third place following the safety car period. However, Mortara fell back to eighth place after a spin in conditions made difficult by light drizzle. He finally finished the race in P13. The race came to an early end shortly after the start for Robert Wickens (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM Mercedes me). The Canadian was forced to retire after a contact in Turn 1.
Gary Paffett, P2: “Today’s race was like a rollercoaster ride. After the restart, I was in fourth place. I got away pretty well, but on Turn 4, I went onto the grass and dropped down the field. After that, I thought it would be difficult to get into the points. But we made a perfect decision on the pit stop and switched to wets at just the right moment. The car was then really fast. I overtook Marco and went hunting for Jamie. The first time I saw the board at the pit wall, he was 16 seconds ahead of me, but by the end of the race, this was down to just four. You must never give up and always fight to the end. All in all, it was an incredible start to the season for the DTM: in both races, all three manufacturers were on the podium, and each time it was three different drivers.”
Lucas Auer, P4: “Congratulations to Gary on finishing second. It was a tough race. Due to the difficult conditions, there were times when I had no idea what position I was in. After the pit stop, I thought I was last, whereas in fact I was fourth. So I am really happy. Maybe we stayed out a bit too long, but on the other hand, the rain might have stopped, and then it would have been the perfect decision. Essentially, I’m satisfied with the result. The restart – which is new this season – was crazy. You must be ready to put your foot down at any moment. If your reactions are just one-tenth of a second too slow, you drop down the field, but if you’re too early, you get penalised.”
Paul Di Resta, P6: “A disappointing day for me. The race was a mess, but more might have been possible. Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding at the pit stop. It’s difficult to communicate with one another during the race due to the radio ban. That cost us quite a bit, and we could only manage P6. I’m now going to focus on the next race weekend at the Lausitzring.”
Maro Engel, P10: “That was an exciting race with lots going on. The bottom line for me is that it was a positive start to the season. I twice qualified in the Top Ten, and I’ve now scored my first championship point, though having said that, I feel I could have got more out of this helter-skelter race. My focus is now on the Lausitzring weekend. My thanks to the guys for the mega work throughout the winter. They have given us a great car which we’re certainly going to have a lot of fun in this year.”
Edoardo Mortara, P13: “Ultimately, that turned out to be a disappointing race for me. It could have been a really good afternoon. I lost a lot of positions at the start but then I fought back to third place. At that point in the race, I had really good pace, and I think that I might have been able to catch up with the cars in front of me. When the rain started, I made a mistake on Turn 1 and lost the rear end of the car on a wet track.
After that, we made the wrong decision with regards to the tyre change, which cost me even more places. Overall, it was an eventful race. But if we look at the positives, we can say that we had decent pace in both qualifying sessions and in the races themselves. Too bad I didn’t get into the points today, but I’ll try to make amends for that next time.”
Weekend to forget.
Robert Wickens, Retired: “A weekend to forget. The pace was there the whole weekend. We didn’t get to use it, unfortunately. The second race ended before the first corner. A shame. Felt like I had a good start. I went to the inside and held my line, but unfortunately, there were too many cars trying to go for the same spot.”
Ulrich Fritz, Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM: “What a sensational race by Gary. He put the setbacks from the start of the race behind him and chased up the field like crazy. Finishing in P2 in these conditions was a superb performance. We’ve made a good start to the season, which was obviously important for the whole team, with a win yesterday and second place today. Congratulations to everyone in the team.”