The Red Bull Ring in Spielberg is hosting the DTM for the sixth time this weekend. Mercedes Junior Robert Wickens (STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) will be in seventh position on the grid at the start of the season’s third race of the world’s most popular touring car series.
The Canadian posted a time of 1:24.973 minutes, missing the cut and a place in the fourth qualifying session by less than two tenths of a second.
Current DTM runner-up Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) had technical problems in the third qualifying session and was unable to post a lap time as a result. The British driver will start the race from P9 on the grid, though, after Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) was handed a penalty.
Pascal Wehrlein (VfB Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:25.146 minutes) is lining up in the colours of DFB Cup finalists VfB Stuttgart for the race weekend here at the Red Bull Ring. The 18-year-old secured the twelfth best time in the second part of qualifying, missing a place in Q3 by two hundredths of a second, which equates to 96.5 centimetres per lap. He also moves up the grid as a result of Rockenfeller’s penalty and will start the race from P11. Team-mate Daniel Juncadella (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) finished in P14 with a time of 1:25.259 minutes. Christian Vietoris (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:25.518 minutes) was placed 16th.
Spanish driver Roberto Merhi (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) finished the first qualifying session in P21 with a lap time of 1:25.761 minutes. However, Audi driver Jamie Green was subsequently handed a penalty and so Merhi will start from 20th on the grid in the race at the Red Bull Ring.
Looking ahead to the race: The third DTM race at Spielberg starts on Sunday at 1:30pm (live on ARD, from 1:15pm onwards). Occupying pole position will be Bruno Spengler (BMW / 1:24.836 minutes). The race at the Red Bull Ring covers 47 laps and is the season’s longest at 203.322 kilometres.
Statements after Qualifying
Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Seventh, (1:24.973)
„That was a tough qualifying session today, but from my perspective, it was at least better than Brands Hatch. My first lap in Q3 started off fantastically, but then I made an error in Turn 6. Who knows – if it hadn’t been for that, I might have made it through to Q4? When you consider that I finished on the podium two weeks ago after starting from 13th, I can feel well satisfied with P7 in qualifying today. “
Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Ninth, (no timed lap)
„Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to post a timed lap in Q3. As I was just about to leave the box, I heard a strange noise and suddenly lost all power, which meant I wasn’t able to continue the session. We now have to analyse the reason for this, and in tomorrow’s race, we’ll have to stage another charge from the back – just like at Brands Hatch – and try to pick up as many points as possible. Despite all this, the pace of my EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé was good – certainly better than at Brands Hatch – which gives me cause for optimism.“
Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Eleventh, (1:25.146)
„It’s a shame that a deficit of two hundredths of a second stopped me from progressing further – that equates to less than one metre at this track. On the positive side, we have improved significantly compared to free practice. In the race itself, it will all depend on who can get his tyres to work best and who can extract the maximum from the options. The weather forecast for Sunday is still not yet clear – there’s a good chance of rain again tomorrow – so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.“
Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 14th, (1:25.259)
„No doubt about it, this result represents an improvement as compared to Brands Hatch, and I’m quite happy with my position overall. Maybe using only one set of tyres in the second qualifying session was not the best way to go, but I have to admit to making one or two mistakes and so did not improve in the end. My stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé felt good and I expect another exciting race tomorrow, particularly in view of the weather forecast. If conditions out on track are variable, I hope to utilise strategy to move one or two places up the field.“
Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 16th, (1:25.518)
„The first part of qualifying went really well for me, but unfortunately in Q2, I had noticeably less grip with both sets of tyres, so I wasn’t able to improve my lap times. Last year’s race at the Red Bull Ring showed that this is a circuit which offers good opportunities for overtaking. Also, we can use DRS this season to increase our chance of getting past. Qualifying was a disappointment, but the points won’t be handed out until tomorrow, and we intend to score as many as possible. “
Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 20th, (1:25.761)
„It’s a pity, but qualifying at Spielberg did not go as I’d hoped. I don’t know exactly what the problem was. I think I probably lost most time in the second sector. Now we need to analyse the data and focus on the race. My team-mates proved at Brands Hatch that you can still move up the field a fair number of positions with the right strategy and good race pace.“
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
„Our congratulations to BMW, they are very strong at the moment and have got their nose in front. We were dissatisfied with the race weekend at Brands Hatch and today’s qualifying session here in Spielberg has also been disappointing, but we are all fighters and racers through and through in our team and we intend to strike back in tomorrow’s race. I am confident that Gerhard Ungar and his crew will pull it off and that together we can overcome this temporary setback. Gary had a bit of bad luck today, unfortunately, but he still has every chance of achieving a decent result on this track where there are plenty of overtaking opportunities. It’s going to be an exciting race.“
Source: Mercedes-Benz Motorsport