The new season of DTM began at Hockenheim began last weekend, and brought with it new drivers, a brand new schedule, and new sponsors. Audi did have a little fun with one of their cars at the sponsorship front. Adrien Tambay in his Audi ultra RS 5 DTM had a car that featured the colors of the new Iron Man 3 film. Two Audi RS 5 DTM cars finished in points with Timo Scheider in the AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Abt finishing 6th, and Mike Rockenfeller in his Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix finished 8th.
Nico Rosberg made a guest appearance last weekend, and will mentor Mercedes-Benz DTM junior team drivers, offering them advice and support. The MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS driver was found behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz DTM racing taxi giving fans and guests a chance to get the feel of DTM from up close. The 2nd round of DTM is at Brands Hatch on 18th-19th May.
The driver lineup for Mercedes Benz DTM included 32 year old Gary Paffett, 32 who has won four times at Hockenheim, and has had 8 podium finishes here. He is joined by five Mercedes Benz juniors with an average racing age for the team at 23 years, the youngest set of all three manufacturers contesting the DTM. Christian Vietoris, 24 of Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C Coupe, finished the 2012 DTM season opened at Hockenheim in fourth place and was at the top 10 for start of the race as he made his DTM debut at Hockenheim in 2011.
Robert Wickens, 24 of Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C Coupe made his DTM debut in 2012 while he won a GP3 Series race at Hockenheim in the 2010 season. Daniel Juncadella, 21 from Spain, Stern Mercedes AMG C Coupe has won a total of four Formula 3 Euro Series at Hockenheim. Making his DTM debut this coming weekend, will see the young driver celebrate his 22nd birthday on May 7. Pascal Wehrlein, 18, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C Coupe, is the youngest DTM driver to compete at Hockenheim. He is aged 18 years and 199 days. He has achieved two podium finishes in the finale at 2012 Formula 3 Euro Series in Hockenheim. The fifth driver is Roberto Merhi, 22 from Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes C Coupe who has won five Formula 3 Euro Series races at Hockenheim.
For Mercedes Benz, Christian Vietoris finished 3rd in his DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, Gary Paffett in his EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé finished 4th, and Roberto Merhi in his THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé finished in 10th place. The team secured 28 points at the end of race 1.
BMW motorsport had a great start at the 2013 DTM season. Augusto Farfus won at Hockenheim in his Castrol EDGE BMW M3 DTM. BMW Team Schnitzer’s Dirk Werner finished 2nd in his SAMSUNG BMW M3 DTM. This marks BMW’s 16th one two finish in DTM. Last year’s DTM champion, Bruno Spengler finished 5th in his BMW Bank M3 DTM. Joey Hand in a BMW M3 DTM and Marco Wittmann in the Ice-Watch BMW M3 DTM secured points in 7th and 9th place. Martin Tomczyk in a BMW M Performance Parts M3 DTM and Andy Priaulx in a Crowne Plaza Hotels BMW M3 DTM finished 13th and 17th. Timo Glock retired early in his DTM debut race.
After the race, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich Head of Audi Motorsport said, “The fans experienced a really thrilling DTM season opener. The new DRS wing flap and the option tires produced the desired effect. We saw a wide variety of strategies, tough duels and brilliant overtaking maneuvers. All three manufacturers are close together. Obviously, the race didn’t go the way we’d have liked it to. We want to change that at Brands Hatch in two weeks from now.”
Dieter Gass Head of DTM said, “That was a disappointing season opener for Audi. None of our cars made it without any incidents. Particularly frustrating – and a shame – was the fact that we didn’t call Timo (Scheider) into the pits right on the first lap of the safety car, which deprived him of a possible podium finish. That he was able to recover from 18th all the way to sixth place by achieving strong lap times shows that more would have been possible today.”
Timo Scheider of AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM in 6th place said, “I had a good start. Due to the tire situation Augusto (Farfus) and I were in agreement: We were going to use the opportunity to drive away from the field. When the DRS was active he overtook me. Afterward, I wanted to use the DRS but then the safety car period came and we didn’t make the right decision in terms of timing the pit stop. Decisions like these are made within fractions of a second. We could have probably clinched a podium or victory today. When you look at how good our speed was toward the end that’s pretty painful.”
Mike Rockenfeller of Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM in 8th place said, “Qualifying was our problem this weekend because we were simply too far at the rear. In the race, we didn’t get too many things wrong, except for the second pit stop at which we lost two seconds because something was jammed. Then I got stuck behind a brand colleague while I was in a battle with Bruno Spengler. Without these two minor incidents fifth place might have been possible but this way I finished in eighth place. On the one hand, that’s a bit disappointing but when you finish in the points after starting from position 14 in a race with so many question marks, that’s good damage containment.”
Jamie Green of Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM in 14th place said, “A tough race. My speed was okay, but not very strong. My main problem was that I was given a lap time penalty toward the end of the race and was to reduce my speed. But I couldn’t judge how fast I was and braked. My engineer said that it wasn’t enough so I had to brake again on the next lap. Later, I received a drive-through penalty. That’s a shame! Only because I once ran wider in turn one, which surely didn’t give me any advantage, I lost 35 seconds.”
Miguel Molina of Audi RS 5 DTM in 15th place said, “After the puncture right at the beginning of the race I had a good pace. We were able to make good use of the option tires and in the end were fast on the standard tires as well. I’m looking forward to Brands Hatch. I really like this track and am optimistic.”
Filipe Albuquerque of Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM in 16th place said, “It was a crazy race. At my first pit stop, the button for the pit lane speed limiter didn’t work and I was too fast. That’s why I received a drive-through penalty. Afterward, things were going well. I subsequently received another penalty out of the blue because I was sure that I didn’t drive over the line in turn one. Unfortunately, it was a race to forget.”
Mattias Ekström of Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM retired, and said, “That wasn’t a perfect start of the season. At the beginning, it wasn’t easy on standard tires. When I lost the hood the car became even more difficult to drive. When something broke on the driveline and I had no more propulsion I was forced to give up.”
Edoardo Mortara of Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM retireed, and said, “For us, it was a difficult race weekend. Now we’re hoping for Brands Hatch. Things can only get better.”
Adrien Tambay of Audi ultra RS 5 DTM retired and said, “It was another short race at Hockenheim. At the start, the handbrake didn’t work. I jump-started and received a penalty. I later noticed that there was a loss in engine power and then the car caught on fire. We don’t know the reason yet, we’ve still got to look into this. Hopefully, we’ll be more fortunate the next time.”
Hans-Jürgen Abt, Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline said, “It was a very turbulent race with many position battles. We’re sorry about not having called Timo (Scheider) in for a pit stop during the safety car period. But the communication took too much time, that’s why he lost about 20 seconds. Still, we saw that we’ve got a good pace, especially with Timo’s car and we need to build on this.”
Ernst Moser Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix said, “As expected, it was a turbulent race. The new rules made for a lot of action. We’re very pleased with Mike (Rockenfeller). He advanced from 14th place to position eight. If our pit stop had been optimal fourth or fifth place would have been possible. Miguel (Molina) suffered the misfortune of destroying an option tire on the starting lap. As a result, he had to contest the whole race on standard tires. He drove a superb race on them and had a good speed.”
Arno Zensen Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg said, “Unfortunately, this wasn’t our weekend. After the start, Edo (Mortara) had body contact and damaged the front of his car. In addition, he was bumped in the rear so that his car was no longer drivable and we quit. Filipe (Albuquerque) had a good start and things were going well in terms of the strategy. We had an early pit stop and then the safety car came out, which was optimal. Filipe, unfortunately, was driving too fast in the pit lane and was penalized. Subsequently, there were two additional penalties.”
Jens Marquardt BMW Motorsport Director said, “That was a really awesome start to the season. I must pay a huge compliment to everyone in the team – particularly to Augusto Farfus and Dirk Werner, of course, who presented us with our first one-two since we returned to the DTM. Augusto did not make a single mistake, and BMW Team RBM got its strategy spot on. The same can be said of BMW Team Schnitzer, who helped Dirk climb from 20th to a remarkable second. His fightback was simply fantastic. I hope the first race of the years was as thrilling and exciting for the fans as it was for us. I feel sorry for Timo Glock. He was looking very good at the start and did a great job of cutting through the field. However, any new team is always on a learning curve, and that unfortunately includes set-backs. That makes me even more delighted that his team-mate Marco Wittmann finished in the points in his first race, having started from right at the back.”
Augusto Farfus of BMW Team RBM said, “That was a good start to the new season. We were very quick in all the qualifying sessions, and always among the front-runners. The tricky thing today was heading out onto the track at the right time in ever-changing conditions. After my flying lap in Q4, the track continued to dry out. Therefore, it was clear to me that the drivers going after me would have a better chance of securing pole. For this reason, I am very happy with my second place. I ended the 2012 season with a great result in Hockenheim and am very happy with the way I have started the new season so far.”
Bruno Spengler of BMW Team Schnitzer said, “Seventh place is not such a bad result in that kind of qualifying. The weather made it something of a lottery. I was six seconds too late to fit in another lap, on which I could perhaps have improved my time. With the new format, a lot should be possible in tomorrow’s race. I am certain my team will come up with a good strategy.”
Joey Hand of BMW Team RMG said, “My goal for the season was to consistently qualify in the top ten. I have already achieved that once with today’s ninth place. The car was good, but I did not quite manage to get the very best out of it. However, the conditions were far from easy. Every one of us could have been first or last. Because of this, I am happy with my result.”
Martin Tomczyk of BMW Team RMG, 11th said, “Unfortunately I missed out on Q3 by a whisker. We had to cope with pretty difficult track conditions today. Not everything went to plan but, even in my 13th year in the DTM, I am still learning. I am confident I can make up some places in tomorrow’s race.”
Timo Glock of BMW Team MTEK said, “I went into my first DTM qualifying with a very good feeling. At first, everything went really well and I was lapping quickly. Then we possibly made a small mistake in Q2 and the tyres degraded dramatically. After that, I was unable to match the pace of the others. Let’s see what happens in the race.”
Andy Priaulx of BMW Team RMG said, “I got a bit caught up in traffic on my last lap. That cost me time and prevented me from making it through to the next session. In these conditions, every tenth of a second was crucial. I am obviously a bit disappointed, as everything went really well in the wet this morning.”
Marco Wittmann of BMW Team MTEK said, “I had a good start to my first qualifying. The car felt very good. Unfortunately we suffered a technical problem, which meant it was no longer possible to improve on my lap times. We must now find out exactly what caused the problem. There can be only one approach to tomorrow’s race: attack.”
Dirk Werner of BMW Team Schnitzer said, “I am obviously very disappointed to have been knocked out in Q1, as you spend the entire winter looking forward to the first qualifying. I tried everything, but unfortunately I could not do any better today. I must now do all I can in the race, in order to end the weekend with a good result.”
Christian Vietoris of DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé said, “That race was huge fun. The introduction of DRS and option tyres has given us drivers a lot more to do out on track, which makes it all the more interesting. Going into the race, I was optimistic about putting in a good performance. Because of all the different tyre strategies, it was difficult to know what your real position was. I lost some ground early on, but thanks to our excellent pit stops and a faultless drive, I was able to claw my way back and finish on the podium for the first time in my career. I’ll be delighted if the season carries on this way.”
Gary Paffett of EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé said, “That was a tough race, but a P4 finish and my first points of the season are a reasonable outcome. Christian had the better tyres and the better strategy towards the end of the race, so congratulations to him on his first DTM podium. The two different tyre compounds and the use of DRS made for an exciting race. Unfortunately, there were some moves out on track that weren’t totally acceptable. Fourth place is OK, but I know I was capable of a better result today.”
Roberto Merhi of THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé said, “Considering that I started the race from 21st position on the grid, then I can be quite satisfied with the end result. I moved up the field a number of places at the start, but there was a problem with the tyres on my pit stop, which is why I had to come in twice in a row and had to stop three times altogether. On my final pit stop, my pit crew did a great job, producing the second fastest stop of the race. Placed tenth, I’ve secured my first championship point in the DTM – I can build on that in the next few races.”
Pascal Wehrlein of DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé said, “I’ll be leaving Hockenheim with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I led the race for several laps on my very first outing, which must count as a big success; on the other hand, I was starting to think that I might get a better result. The first stint of the race went really well on the soft tyres, but when I switched to the harder compound, the car didn’t feel as good as it had before. We now need to analyse the reason for that. Even so, it was a good performance to almost finish in the points on my DTM debut.”
Daniel Juncadella of stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé said, “I’m well satisfied with my DTM debut. The main thing was to see the finish line and so to get as much experience as possible. I’m pleased to say that I managed to do that. The result could have been better, but I drove over a kerb, which didn’t do my car any good. However, mistakes of that kind are all part of the learning process and have to be expected on your first outing. I’m going to work hard on my driving and try to learn the lessons from today in time for Brands Hatch.”
Robert Wickens of STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé said, “The start went well, but my accelerator pedal suddenly got stuck as I was tackling the hairpin. Luckily, I was able to avoid a collision with Bruno Spengler. But for the problem, we would have been in the points today, for sure, maybe a podium would even have been possible. It’s a pity that it didn’t come off, but the season still has a long way to go. I see no reason why we should not be up with the front-runners again at Brands Hatch. So, I’ll draw a line under this weekend and focus on the next race.”
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport said, “Congratulations to BMW on a strong performance and a well-deserved victory in the season opener. We now need to analyse this first race weekend and learn the lessons for future encounters. At the midway stage, the situation was looking very promising for us, but towards the end, the performance fell away for some of our cars on the hard tyres, which came as a bit of a surprise for us. Our Mercedes Juniors deserve special praise: they were brilliant in the race and have been faultless in every aspect this weekend. Christian put in a great performance to claim his maiden DTM podium, and our rookie Pascal has now had his first experience of leading the race over several laps. Unfortunately, he and Daniel were out of luck on the hard tyres towards the end, but they can travel to Brands Hatch with their heads held high.”