DTM - Hockenheim I: Rennen 2.
Thrilling charge in the second DTM race of the season at Hockenheim: Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) moved 20 places up the field during the one-hour race to secure the 33rd podium of his DTM career. The 2005 champion had qualified eighth but was relegated to P23 for a rule violation. From there, he went on a spectacular charge, gaining 20 places in the tricky weather conditions, helped in part by coming in early to change to wet weather tyres. After the double podium secured by Pascal Wehrlein (gooix Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) and Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) in the first race on Saturday, the Mercedes-AMG DTM Team claimed a third Top Three finish of the weekend. No fewer than 75,000 fans came through the gates this weekend to watch the first two rounds of the 2015 DTM campaign. Robert Wickens (SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) and Wehrlein placed seventh and eighth respectively in a thrilling rain-affected race to finish in the top eight.
Christian Vietoris (Original-Teile Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) came home in eleventh place. Daniel Juncadella (PETRONAS Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) crossed the finish line in P15, while Maximilian Götz (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) took the chequered flag in P16. Paul Di Resta was 22nd in this second race of the season. Austrian driver Lucas Auer (BWT Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) was unable to take part in the second race after skidding off track on the way to the starting grid.
Gary Paffett, P3: “What a race that was! The weekend was a roller-coaster. Obviously I was feeling disappointed after the first race yesterday and the second qualifying session today. We had a really good car this weekend that was unbelievably fast in the rain. In these conditions, it’s very easy to make mistakes. But the team did a fantastic job, and the race went perfectly for me. After this difficult opening weekend, it’s great to be back on the podium. The switch to rain tyres worked beautifully, and our strategy paid off in the end. I’ve never before been so happy about a third place as I am today. A big thank you to my team. The crew did a great job and have thoroughly deserved this result. Thanks, guys!”
Robert Wickens, P7: “As a team, I think we have to be happy with the weekend overall. My day yesterday was a bit of a nightmare with the engine problem in practice and no dry running before qualifying. But, to at least come away from the weekend with some points is a positive – even if it wasn’t as many as I wanted. The start today was great and I managed to get up to P6, so I was happy with that. But we weren’t expecting quite so much rain and struggled for performance in the middle of the race with tyre pressures that weren’t quite right.
Still, Gary proved what our car is capable of in these kind of conditions so that’s a positive looking ahead to the coming races.”
Pascal Wehrlein, P8: “I’m leaving Hockenheim with mixed feelings. The second qualifying session went very badly, unfortunately. Our car was very strong, but we got the timing wrong, so I had to start from 15th position. The race was hard-fought. I had plenty of scraps and moved forwards to take eighth place, proving this weekend that I am one of the fastest both in the dry and the wet. Many thanks to the team for giving me such a great car.”
Christian Vietoris, P11: “Those were actually conditions we like today. Unfortunately, we could not make the most of them. I had a tough weekend all round.
Basically, though, we now know that our car is quick both in the dry and in the wet. Now, we just need to put that into practice in the next race.”
Daniel Juncadella, P15: “Unfortunately, that was a very disappointing weekend. Today’s race was nothing special. My pace was nothing to shout about in the dry or in the wet. It just was not my weekend. Now I’m looking forward to the next race weekend at the Lausitzring.”
Maximilian Götz, P16: “That was another hectic race. My start was really good and certainly better than yesterday. I gained two positions and worked my way up to P18 by the end of the first lap. When the rain set in, I switched to wet weather tyres relatively early because I already had damage to one of my tyres. Consequently, I had the rain tyres on one lap ahead of schedule, which enabled me to overtake another three cars.
The end result was a P16. It could have been better, but this was a race where a lot was happening. Anyway, I acquired some valuable experience.”
Paul Di Resta, P22: “I didn’t get off to the best of starts. The first lap was a bit messy and then after the pit stop we were really struggling for speed. We opted for an alternative strategy to try something a bit different but unfortunately it didn’t pay off. There was a lot of contact
out there throughout the race and ultimately it just wasn’t our day like it was yesterday. The positive thing is that the car felt good in the dry this morning and we would have had the pace in the wet if we could have kept out of trouble, so onwards and upwards to Lausitzring!”
Lucas Auer, DNS: “Unfortunately, I made a stupid mistake before the race started. I tried to warm up the brakes on the installation lap and locked up the front wheels and skidded off track. I’m really sorry for the team. They’ve worked hard and we’ve been on an upward trend the whole weekend. Sorry, guys.”
Ulrich Fritz, Head of Mercedes DTM: “What an incredible race by Gary. It’s a mega achievement to start from P23 and finish on the podium. Plus, we also have Robert and Pascal in the Top Ten today, despite not managing qualifying as well as we might have done. All in all, we can really talk about having made a good start to the season,
and that makes me especially pleased for the whole team who worked so hard during the winter.”