First DTM pole for Robert Wickens.
At first, I was speechless.
“The Norisring is a very special circuit for me. I scored my very first DTM points here in last year’s race, and now it’s the place where I secured my first DTM pole position. That’s a fabulous feeling”, said Robert.
“I knew that my lap was strong, but I wasn't sure if my lap time would be enough for pole. As I was getting out of the car, I couldn't hear anything on the radio, but Gary came up to me and said: 'Excellent, P1'! At first, I was speechless. Now I'm going to concentrate on getting off to a good start, and hopefully things will carry on like this tomorrow. When you start from pole, you obviously want to finish on the podium.”
Mercedes-Benz team-mate Gary Paffett is placed directly behind Wickens in the starting line-up for the fifth race of the season at the Norisring. Currently third in the championship, Paffett came home in third position with a time of 48.460 seconds. “That was a brilliant performance by Robert. He drove very fast from the very first minute of practice. With the relatively small amount of time allocated to practice this year, it is difficult to pick out major changes to the vehicle”, said Gary. “I kept improving as the day progressed, but Robert was a bit faster than me in qualifying. Five Mercedes-Benz drivers in the Top 10 is a fantastic team result for us. The entire team is currently producing first-class work. The gaps between drivers are always very close at the Norisring and you have to post a perfect lap in order to book the top slot. So, third place is a decent result for me in view of that fact. As regards to strategy, tyres and DRS, everything in the race is still wide open. We have a strong car and hopefully, we’ll be battling for victory again tomorrow.”
Best ever starting position.
Mercedes Junior Pascal Wehrlein will be on the third row for the start of his fifth DTM race. He secured fifth position with a lap time of 48.356 seconds.
His team-mates Daniel Juncadella (48.410 seconds) and Christian Vietoris (48.485 seconds) will line up in positions seven and ten respectively on the grid. Seventh place is Juncadella's best ever starting position in the DTM to date. Roberto Merhi (48.848 seconds) will be in 21st position on the grid in the fifth race of the 2013 DTM season on Sunday. The Spaniard missed progressing to the second segment of qualifying by 0.135 seconds. Just half a second covered all 22 drivers in Q1.
Today went perfectly for us.
“Today went perfectly for us”, said Toto Wolff. “Robert is in pole position the first time in his DTM career and five of our six drivers are in the Top 10 – that’s a great team result. Our strategy of giving young drivers a chance is being repaid ever more handsomely as the season progresses. Robert appears to be in the swing now. We have always known that he has the speed, but now he is beginning to convert his form into top placings. Although competition at the Norisring is always tight, I am very satisfied with this Saturday’s qualifying. Still, we must be on guard in the race. Our car was fast, but tomorrow it also depends on the pace on long runs and on having the right strategy and the use of DRS – we are not about to write off anyone, certainly not strong opponents like Audi and BMW.”