Podium to end the Lausitzring Motorsport Festival: Robert Wickens (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM Mercedes me) finished third in his 70th DTM race in front of 67,500 spectators (through the gates over the weekend). This was the Canadian's fourth podium in a row at the Lausitzring. This fourth race of the season also marked the 200th race of the ‘new DTM’ since the year 2000. Including Lucas Auer’s victory on Saturday, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport have notched up 13 wins at the Lausitzring during this period. Gary Paffett (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM Mercedes me) in P4 crossed the finish line right behind his Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM team-mate. Lucas Auer (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM BWT) finished in the points for the fourth time this season in the fourth race of the year. He had a tough time in qualifying but improved by five positions to finish the race in P10. The Austrian thus defended his lead in the drivers' standings. Now on 69 points, he is 16 points clear of Jamie Green in second place, who won the second race at the Lausitzring. Mercedes-AMG Motorsport BWT on 88 points head the team standings. With 187 points, Mercedes-AMG also lead the manufacturer's rankings. Edoardo Mortara (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM BWT) finished his 80th DTM race in P11. Maro Engel (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM SILBERPFEIL Energy) and Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) crossed the finish line in P12 and P13 respectively.
Robert Wickens, P3: “I’d obviously hoped for more after taking pole, but I still finished on the podium, so it’s difficult to be too disappointed. The first stint was fantastic and I thought that I had the race under control, but Audi were really fast during the second stint. I was unable to find a reply. It wasn’t possible for us to pit on the first lap. Our tyres would not have held up long enough. We decided to make a relatively early pit stop in view of Eki’s pace at the start. That's how I knew it would be close. I’ve never driven 30 laps before in one stint on the same tyres, but that's exactly what I had to do today. Two podiums in one weekend are a great result. The championship is only just getting started for me. I would now like to keep it up. Congratulations to VfB Stuttgart on their promotion. I hope I did their colours proud.”
Gary Paffett, P4: “I started from P4 on the grid and placed fourth, so I’m satisfied, but not ecstatic about it. I would have liked to have finished on the podium. For a lot of the race, it looked as if I could do it. I had a couple of battles during the first five rounds and pulled off some good manoeuvres against Martin and Blomqvist, after which I was third behind Jamie and Robert.
Ekström, who had stopped very early and whose tyres were up to temperature, managed to get past after the pit stop. Although I think I was maybe a bit faster than Eki, I couldn’t find a way past him. We just weren’t quite fast enough on the straights.”
Lucas Auer, P10: “That was a great weekend for us overall. Thanks to all the guys in my team for their hard work. I got a great start and improved from 15th on the grid to finish ninth. My speed today was perhaps not outstanding, but I still picked up a point for P10. Now we’re off to the next race weekend.”
Edoardo Mortara, P11: “That was a tough weekend for me. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the car’s balance right for me. I struggled with pace both in the qualifying sessions and in the races. It’s difficult to improve when you start from the back. I tried to work my way up through the field from P18, but it wasn’t possible to place higher than eleventh. I now have to try to increase my pace in qualifying for the next races.”
Maro Engel, P12: “Our strategy was super, and the car was great to drive. Pace wasn’t too bad, but it’s never easy when you start so far back. I’m not quite sure why I had to give back a position. As far as I’m concerned, I overtook Augusto fairly, and he even made contact with the back of my car, making me run wide.
I was five seconds up on him but had to let him through. Nevertheless, I want to thank my team. We again showed that the car is very fast. We can build on that in Budapest.”
Paul Di Resta, P13: “That was a tough race. It’s always tough when you have to start from the back. I had contacts with Spengler and Glock after the pit stop. I don’t know if things would have been much better but for that happening. Overall, it was a disappointing day. Now there’s a long break before the next race. I’ll have time to collect myself and prepare to attack again. I’m looking forward to that.”
Ulrich Fritz, Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM: “That was another strong showing for us again this weekend with a win and a P2 yesterday, plus another podium today and P4 for Gary, so we can be satisfied. However, it’s a pity that we couldn’t convert pole position into a win. A win for Rob would have been terrific, especially today of all days when VfB Stuttgart are celebrating promotion.”
Second strike in a row for the ‘Pink Panthers’: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM driver Lucas Auer (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM BWT) kicked off the Lausitzring Motorsport Festival with his second win of the season. The Austrian started this season’s third race from pole position and with his third DTM victory repeated last year's triumph at the Lausitzring when he took his maiden win in the DTM. After two wins and a fourth place in the first three races of 2017, Auer on 68 points now leads the drivers’ standings. Mercedes-AMG Motorsport also head the rankings in the manufacturers' and team standings after the first three races of the season. Robert Wickens (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM Mercedes me) started the third race of the season alongside Auer on the front row of the grid. After losing second place during the initial phases of the race, he retook P2 after putting up a strong fight and making a fast pit stop. The Canadian hit back with a P2 finish at the Lausitzring following a tough weekend at the season-opener in Hockenheim. Gary Paffett (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM Mercedes me) placed sixth in his 150th DTM race to maintain second place in the drivers’ rankings. The British driver has contested three-quarters of all races in the ‘new DTM’ since the year 2000. Only nine drivers have ever completed more races than the 2005 champion in the history of the race series. Edoardo Mortara (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM BWT) and Maro Engel (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM SILBERPFEIL Energy) placed seventh and ninth respectively. Five of the six Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM drivers finished in the points. Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) had a contact with the BMW of Tom Blomqvist on Lap 16, for which he was given a stop/go penalty. He crossed the finish line in P16.
Lucas Auer, P1: “That was a super race – absolutely amazing. Congratulations to the entire team and, of course, to Robert for coming second. I’m really pleased. Balance was terrific today, and our tyres were extremely consistent. My driving style and a brilliant car combined to give us victory today. My second stint was super. It’s always difficult to win, but I set the pace today. Still, you can never sit back and relax in the DTM because you always have to keep an eye on tyres and manage degradation. I share the team’s delight now at winning but must turn my focus back to tomorrow’s second race.”
Robert Wickens, P2: “P2 is fantastic, but it wasn't an easy race. I lost second place on the grid right at the start when Martin overtook me using DRS. However, I was confident that I would be able to retake the position provided we didn’t pit on the same lap. I did it and then I went off in pursuit of Luggi, but he was too far away. I've always managed really well at the Lausitzring. Maybe bumpy tracks just suit me. I finished on the podium twice here last year and again today. It would be terrific to secure another podium tomorrow.”
Gary Paffett, P6: “Overtaking here at the Lausitzring isn’t easy, so starting from P9, we had to try and do something with strategy. The car was pretty good, but I think we underperformed in the qualifying. I thought we deserved to be further up. We decided to pit quite early, which gained us a few places by the time the pit stops were through.
The difficulty with this approach is that when you leave the pits on the new tyres, it's very slippery. It takes a few laps to get the temperature back in the tyres. I did quite well after that and ended up in a fight with Rocky, Ekström and Green. I managed to beat two of them and finish in P6, which was good. We got some decent points today, and I think we’ve got a car quick enough to be on the podium tomorrow.”
Edoardo Mortara, P7: “It’s been a positive day for me. We were practically nowhere after practice. I had no feeling for the car. We made changes to setup after that, and things improved during the day. I'm usually a little better in the race than in qualifying. I had a good race in the end. I gave it my all and improved by three places to P7 which was a big increase on my grid position. If I can manage to qualify further up front, I can then fight for better finishes.”
Maro Engel, P9: “From P13 to P9 – I can be happy with that. However, it was, above all, a mega-team result for us with five Mercedes in the Top Ten. My race went quite well, and we can build on that. The team has produced a real cracker of a car for us over the winter, a real goer. Nevertheless, we must stay grounded, because this was only the third race of the season, and there’s still a long way to go. We’ve definitely made a successful start, though. This run of successes is giving the entire team a boost. We have a strong squad of drivers and can push each other along. So far, it’s been Luggi, who's set the pace. We can take our cue from him as we push even harder.”
Paul Di Resta, P16: “DTM is close racing. I didn’t really expect Blomqvist to try it on the outside. On cold tyres with no tyre blankets, that’s what we expected. I was at fault, because I locked an inside wheel. I touched his back and made him spin. It’s hard when you get a drive-through penalty but that’s the rules and I have to accept it. A difficult day for me, but a very good one for the team. Well done to Lucas! He’s been outstanding so far this year. The pace is there when everything works right. We saw that with Lucas. Now we need to reset tonight and try to come back and at least get on the podium tomorrow if we can. But it’s been a tough weekend until now. Still, tomorrow is another day, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”
Ulrich Fritz, Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM: “That was an extremely strong race from Luggi and Rob. It was especially impressive to see how both guys maintained their excellent starting positions. Of course, our pit crews also contributed a great deal. The stops were really good. Gary also showed his class in his 150th DTM race and scored important points. A one-two win and five Mercedes in the Top Ten – what a great start to this race weekend!”
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.”
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.”
Victory to mark the start of the new DTM era as Lucas Auer (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM BWT) wins the first race with the new generation of DTM cars at Hockenheim on Saturday. This was the Austrian’s second win in the DTM after taking his maiden victory at the Lausitzring just over a year ago. Auer started Mercedes-AMG Motorsport’s 399th DTM/ITC race from pole position in his “Pink Panther” and notched up the 176th victory for the brand with the three-pointed star. The latest member to join the squad, Edoardo Mortara (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM BWT), finished his first race for the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Team in fourth place and just missed the podium.
Gary Paffett (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM Mercedes me) and Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) placed seventh and eighth respectively. Four of the six Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM drivers finished in the Top Eight. Robert Wickens (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) and Maro Engel (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM SILBERPFEIL Energy) finished out of the points in the season opener. The Canadian was handed a drive-through penalty following a contact with the BMW of Tom Blomqvist and came home in 15th place. Engel, though, was pushed by Jamie Green (Audi) and dropped way down the field. He finished the race in front of Green in P17. The race stewards gave the Audi driver a drive-through penalty following the incident.
Lucas Auer, P1: “That was the most difficult race of my life. Later on, I had to nurse my tyres through to the end. I had to defend, but at the same time drive fast and avoid the slightest error. We had a strategy planned out, but because of the new rules, you’re all on your own out there without team radio. Nobody can tell you if you should be going easy on the tyres – you have to find that out for yourself. When Timo was getting closer on the last few laps, I knew that, if I could hold off his initial attacks, I would have a chance, because his tyres would then be equally degraded. It really was very hard work. But I’m mega happy with the way things turned out. A huge ‘thank you’ to my team. They worked 24/7 over the winter, and that’s now paid off.”
Edoardo Mortara, P4: “It was a very difficult race. To be honest, I didn’t have the pace I had hoped for. We were struggling a bit with the vehicle balance and experiencing more tyre degradation than we had expected. I was surprised that I caught up with Rocky towards the end because, for the whole race, I hadn’t believed that I could come back at him. I then realised that he had pitted very early. But when I was attacking him late on, he defended very well. It was important for me to score these points. Ultimately, it’s not a bad result. We just have to improve the car overnight and then, hopefully, we’ll have a better race tomorrow. Congratulations to Lucas on his first win of the season. It shows that our team has worked very well.”
Gary Paffett, P7: “Obviously disappointing after qualifying on the front row. I lost one place on Lap 1 or 2 to Timo Glock. He just managed to get past me with DRS into Turn 6, and then I felt like I was a bit quicker than him. I tried to overtake him into Turn 8. I locked a wheel and went a little bit wide, and then I was in P4.
I was quite happy there. Then the Audis came a bit out of nowhere, and they caught me and I couldn’t hold them behind me. In the end, P7 is pretty disappointing after starting second, but it’s points, and hopefully, we can fight back tomorrow.”
Paul Di Resta, P8: “Well done Luggi! He’s been on fire, showing brilliant form. Tough day for me, though, with points but with a lot of optimizing to do. For some reason, I lost a lot of pace through understeer at the end of the first stint. I’m sure we can do better, and hopefully, be in the mix of the fight tomorrow. It looks like we’ve got a car, with which we can fight for the championship.”
Robert Wickens, P15: “Tough start to the season. I lined up in P10 and got away really well, overtaking the entire row in front of me. That was pretty good. I think I ended Lap 1 in P7 or P8. After that, the BMWs were really quick on the straights. Blomqvist overtook me pretty easily on the first attempt. Next lap, I used DRS, but the Audi also overtook me. As Müller and I were fighting against each other, we both braked very late and, unfortunately, Tom was turning in and I ran into the back of him.
That’s a shame. I feel bad for him. He did nothing wrong. I got a drive-through penalty as a result, which was probably deserved. For the rest of the race, I was just driving by myself. The pace was good in the car. We just have to fix the mistakes for tomorrow.”
Maro Engel, P17: “Qualifying was a positive way to start the weekend. I was really happy to be in the Top Ten. The guys have really done a mega job in providing us with this strong car. My start was unfortunately mediocre – I still have some practising to do here. After that, my race was going OK until Jamie clipped the rear of my car while we were both braking. After that, I had no chance. Sadly, the incident cost us both the race. The only positive thing is that, unlike my last DTM race five years ago, I don’t have to wait two weeks for the next opportunity. That comes as soon as tomorrow.”
Ulrich Fritz, Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM: “A very strong race from Luggi. Towards the end, he came under incredible pressure but magnificently stood his ground, starting the season off with a victory is the well-earned reward for the whole team. Obviously, it would have been nice to make more of our strong position on the grid, but today you saw how tough and competitive the DTM is. That was exciting racing at its finest.”
Football and motor racing will prove inseparable over the next few weeks in Stuttgart. With three match days to go before the end of the 2016/2017 season, VfB Stuttgart are top of the league in the second division of the Bundesliga. To support the team in their battle for promotion, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM driver Robert Wickens will race in the colours of VfB Stuttgart during the first two meetings of the season in Hockenheim (5th - 7th May) and at the Lausitzring (19th - 21st May).
“I was with my team-mates in the Mercedes-Benz Arena on the first weekend of April for the match VfB versus Dynamo Dresden,' says Robert, whose race overalls will also carry VfB's logo. “Actually, as a Canadian, I'm more of an ice hockey fan, but the atmosphere generated by the Stuttgart fans was just amazing, as was the match against Dresden. We supported the guys enthusiastically, and I hope we can celebrate their promotion at the end of their season.”
“Since our company has links with the VfB, we decided to support the team in their promotion campaign with a campaign of our own. Hopefully, our white-red vehicle design will bring both the squad of eleven on the pitch and Robert on the racetrack that little bit of luck needed for the close of their season and his start to the season,” added Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Sports and Lifestyle Marketing.
With its origins in Untertürkheim, the premium automobile brand, and VfB Stuttgart have worked together for many years as good, reliable neighbours and partners. Mercedes-Benz Bank, part of the Daimler Group, are also the club's main sponsors.
Moreover, Mercedes-Benz are exclusive partners to the club which plays its home games in the Mercedes-Benz Arena, just a stone's throw from Daimler Group headquarters. During Stars & Cars in December 2015, Formula One and DTM engines even roared around the Mercedes-Benz Arena when 35,612 spectators celebrated the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport champions and the most successful year in the brand's motor racing history.
“As a Stuttgart-based company, we naturally have close links with our city and the region,” says Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Ulrich Fritz. “That is particularly the case where the VfB is concerned, since it counts many of our colleagues and team members as its supporters, and we want to wish the team all the best and much success in the run-up to the season finale.”
Previously in the past, a number of DTM racing cars built by Mercedes-AMG Motorsport have lined up, sporting football designs. Maximilian Götz, for example, had the slogan 'Vive la Mannschaft' on his Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM in support of the German squad in last year's European Football championship. There has also already been a racing car in VfB Stuttgart's colours. To mark the occasion of the 2013 DFB Cup final, Pascal Wehrlein drove a DTM Mercedes AMG C Coupé, displaying the logo of the five-time German football champions and three-time DFB Cup winners.