DTM-Preview: Rounds 7 and 8 of the season at Zandvoort.
After coming away from the season highlight at the Norisring with two victories and five podium finishes, the Mercedes-AMG DTM Team now travels to another venue with a venerable tradition: the sand dune circuit of Zandvoort (10th – 12th July). Since its debut season in 2001, the DTM championship has been contested 14 times at Circuit Park Zandvoort. Built to fit in with the natural terrain, the track is 4,307 metres in length and consists of nine right-hand turns and four left-handers.
There are several uphill and downhill sections as well as challenging combinations of corners, some of them rated as ‘hair-raising’. With the proximity to the beach, sand is often blown onto the surface, which impairs grip.
Gary Paffett (34, England): “Obviously I’m looking forward to being at Zandvoort. I’ve won there three times, so it’s a good circuit for me. Zandvoort is a great challenge. It is a tough old-school circuit. You are punished for every mistake you make. We always have a great atmosphere at the track. The crowd there are great, and looking at the weather forecast, we should have a nice, sunny enjoyable weekend. Performance-wise, it will definitely not be as easy as on the Norisring. It’s going to be tough, and we will have to work pretty hard to get a result, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
One of the most amazing tracks.
Paul Di Resta (29, Scotland): “Zandvoort is one of the most amazing tracks on the DTM calendar. I’m looking forward to the weekend, and I’m curious to see how
much better our car will be compared to last year. When you consider how much we’ve progressed, we should be able to score some big points at Zandvoort too.”
Keep the momentum.
Robert Wickens (26, Canada): “After a great weekend at the Norisring, I’m looking forward to Zandvoort. I hope we can keep the momentum going, but it’s not going to be an easy task. It is a really different circuit with a lot of high speed and a lot of tyre degradation, so hopefully we can get a handle on our car setup as quickly as possible. We will focus on scoring as many points as we can – the podium is the target.”
Christian Vietoris (26, Germany): “Last year, I was the first member of the squad to be allowed to drive our updated car at Zandvoort. Since then, we’ve got to know the car much better and found a window within which it works really well. Last year, we had only two hours of free practice to find a setup. Obviously, that wasn’t very long. On a separate note, I’m pleased to be driving at Zandvoort in the summer for once, and not in the autumn as we normally do. For the fans, the team and the drivers, of course, the combination of sun, beach, sea and motor racing is a dream. As regards to my own expectations, it’s hard to say how performance will compare at Zandvoort.
I don’t think we will be as dominant there as we were in Nuremberg. But I still think we will be competitive, and I’m hoping that we’ll get closer to the Audis. The tyres will probably also play an important role.”
Daniel Juncadella (24, Spain): “Over the last two years, Zandvoort has not been a track where I’ve enjoyed much success. I think this year could be different. We are well prepared, and our car has definitely got better. It would be nice to get a good result at Zandvoort. After all, the track with its dune setting is one of my favourites on the calendar. However, I’ve not yet been able to post a good result there in the DTM. But whatever happens, it’s going to be an interesting weekend. On Saturday, we’ll see where we stand relative to the opposition and what we can achieve in the two races. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the next few days in Holland.”
Lucas Auer (20, Austria): “After scoring my first points at the Norisring, I’m now looking forward to Zandvoort. When we get to Holland, I hope that I’ll be able to continue the
positive trend from the last race weekend. But this will certainly not be easy. The layout of the track presents a big challenge, but I hope that I can find my pace here as well.”
Maximilian Götz (29, Germany): “Unfortunately, the previous race weekend at the Norisring didn’t go all that brilliantly for me. The fact that all the other Mercedes drivers finished in the points on Sunday is especially frustrating for me. But anyway, at least I learned a lot again. Now I’m looking forward to Zandvoort. I have fond memories of this track. It was here that I won the 2003 Formula BMW title, and I’ve also had success in GT racing. I’m really curious to find out what it’s like driving a DTM car there. I can imagine that the fast corners are very challenging and that it will be hard to drive a perfect lap. Zandvoort has everything going for it: fast corners, slow corners, a bumpy old surface and sand on the track, plus the gravel traps.
The consequences of straying off track are twice as serious here, so you need to have your wits about you. For the first time, we’re going to see how the new, old tyre behaves on a real racing track, which will also be important. All in all, I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Pascal Wehrlein (20, Germany): “After a successful weekend at the Norisring, which included a win for me on Saturday, I’m obviously feeling quite upbeat at the moment. But you have to be realistic and understand that Zandvoort and the Norisring are two completely different tracks. We’ll certainly do everything in our power to make sure we put on a good show against our opponents in Holland, but it’s going to be much more difficult. I’m currently third in the championship, and so we have set ourselves correspondingly ambitious targets. It’s therefore important not to lose contact with the opposition. One thing that also makes me feel positive about the coming weekend is that I set the track record last year at Zandvoort. So it’s a track where I seem to do quite well.”
Ulrich Fritz, Head of Mercedes-AMG DTM: “With five podiums and two race wins, we obviously had a perfect weekend at the Norisring. Because of its very specific track characteristics, however, the Norisring cannot be regarded as a yardstick for the rest of the season. In Zandvoort, the balance of power will once again have shifted, in part due to adjustment of the performance weights. Nevertheless, we are going to Holland with the objective of scoring points and fighting for podiums. It will certainly be interesting to see how long the tyres last on this track.
Zandvoort is the toughest track on the calendar in terms of tyre wear. In the past, all of the teams have struggled with rapid tyre degradation. We need to take this into account in our race strategy.”