Mercedes-Benz Junior Christian Vietoris (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) will be on pole in the fourth DTM race at the Lausitzring. Vietoris achieved the fastest time of 1:17.715 minutes in the fourth segment of qualifying.
This will be his maiden pole in his 26th DTM race and represents the first achieved by a Mercedes-Benz Junior since the Junior Team was reintroduced last year. There are no fewer than three Mercedes-Benz drivers on the first two rows of the grid for Sunday’s race, with five qualifying in the Top Ten.
Vietoris will have team-mate Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:17.940 minutes) alongside him on the front row for the fourth race of the season. The Englishman posted the second-fastest time in Q1 plus the fastest laps in the second and third round. Indeed, his lap time of 1:17.463 minutes in Q3 was the fastest of the entire qualifying session. Canadian driver Robert Wickens (STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:18.133 minutes) became the third member of the Mercedes squad to make it through to the fourth and final segment of qualifying and will start Sunday’s race from P4 on the grid.
Spanish driver Roberto Merhi (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:18.335 minutes) will start the race at the Lausitzring from ninth position on the grid. Pascal Wehrlein (VfB Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) is once again lining up in the colours of VfB Stuttgart for the fourth DTM race of the season at the Lausitzring. The Mercedes Junior secured the eleventh best time of 1:18.225 minutes in Q2 and missed going through to Q3 by six thousandths of a second. He will be in tenth place on the grid after BMW driver Augusto Farfus was handed a penalty. Wehrlein’s team-mate Daniel Juncadella (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) finished in 15th place with a time of 1:18.502 minutes. He also moves up one position on the grid as a result of the penalty given to Farfus.
Looking ahead to the race: The fourth race of this DTM season starts on Sunday at 1:30pm (live on ARD television, from 1:15pm onwards). The race at the Lausitzring covers 52 laps and equates to a race distance of 180.856 kilometres, the second shortest of the entire season.
Statements after Qualifying
Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Pole Position, (1:17.715 minutes)
„We’ve had a difficult start to the season and have taken a lot of criticism in recent weeks. Today, we answered back in the most emphatic way possible with a strong team performance in qualifying. I personally tried to ratchet it up even further in Q4, and I managed to do that. When you look closely at the recent races, you’ll see that we have consistently been stronger on the Sunday than on the Saturday. Our objective was to get nearer the front of the grid here. Bearing in mind that we just drove with our normal setup, I am expecting us to be strong again tomorrow. Obviously, you never know how the race will develop, especially with the new option tyres, but I’m hoping that we can stay out in front and that I can secure my first ever DTM race win. It won’t be easy, but of course, everyone who starts from the front aims to stay there.“
Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Second, (1:17.940 minutes)
„My EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé was really strong today, and everything went as it should. I was definitely in line for pole until, unfortunately, I made a small mistake on Turn Four. That makes me feel bad, since the guys in the team did such a great job this weekend. We didn’t focus specifically on setting up the car for qualifying despite what the results may suggest. Our preparations always take the same course, that is, we always try to do our best. My car was improving in terms of performance even at the last race in Spielberg and a place among the Top 5 on the grid would have been possible but for the problems I encountered. Sometimes it takes a little time to get things sorted, but we’re certainly on the right track.“
Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Fourth, (1:18.133 minutes)
„Qualifying turned out very promising for our team. As for me, I pushed a little too hard on my lap and ran wide in the second sector. In the DTM, you just cannot make a mistake and then expect to still be out in front. Anyways, I’m fourth on the grid and the podium is not all that far away. Plus, my two team-mates Christian and Gary are of in front of me and they will fight fairly, so some points in the race should be possible.“
Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Ninth, (1:18.335 minutes)
„Our car was running so much better here than in the last two qualifying sessions at Brands Hatch and Spielberg. I’m very satisfied with our performance. Unfortunately, I made a mistake on my lap in Q3, which cost me the chance of progressing to the fourth round. In Q1 and Q2, my pace was really good, and I’m very happy with the way my THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé handled: it felt simply fantastic. Now I’m hoping to have strong pace on Sunday.“
Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, VfB Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):10th, (1:18.361 minutes)
„Obviously it’s annoying to have just missed out in eleventh on the third round of qualifying. But at least everyone can see how much we as a team have been able to improve our Saturday performance. I already know the Lausitzring from competing in other series, but I’ve had to make some adjustment to driving a DTM car here – it’s considerably different from racing in a formula car. What matters now is to realise our potential and to make good as many positions as possible in the race.“
Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 14th, (1:18.502 minutes)
„I was hoping for more than 15th place today, but motor racing is a sport and not a tea dance. This championship is very competitive, and the slightest mistake or the smallest incident often has dire consequences. On my fast lap, for example, Timo Glock came out of the pits right in front of me going into the Turn 1, which was not exactly brilliant from my point of view, as you can imagine. But everything is still to play for in the race. The balance of my stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé is good and we have seen in the past few races that podiums are still possible even for drivers starting from P14 or 15 on the grid.“
Wolfgang Schattling, Head of DTM Management:
„Three drivers on the first two rows, and Christian Vietoris claiming the first ever pole position for one of our Mercedes Juniors: today, everything went just right, and I’m absolutely delighted that we have had such an excellent all-round result. Gerhard Ungar and our whole team have just completed two weeks of intense work. There are two factors that should be taken into account: we have tested extensively here at the Lausitzring, and the data we have compiled has come in very useful; secondly, the Lausitzring has traditionally been a circuit where Mercedes-Benz has performed well, and we have registered a considerable number of victories here. So the basic conditions were already there, and when you’re really on song, that’s when top results like this become achievable. The standard of competition in the DTM is extremely high. Today, we had what it took, but we need to keep our feet firmly planted on the ground. One thing is certain: we are in for a thrilling race tomorrow.“
Source: Mercedes-Benz Motorsport