The ninth round of the 2013 DTM season was held this weekend at the historic circuit in Zandvoort, Netherlands. Mercedes-Benz driver Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) finished the penultimate race of the season in P9.

DTM Zandvoort

Mercedes Junior Pascal Wehrlein (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) was twelfth. Team-mates Christian Vietoris (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Robert Wickens (STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) and Daniel Juncadella (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) came home in positions 15, 16 and 17 respectively. Roberto Merhi (THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Coupé) retired shortly after the start.

DTM Zandvoort

Overall standings: BMW driver Augusto Farfus won the race at Zandvoort. Some 41,000 spectators came through the gates during the weekend. Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) on 142 points is the new DTM champion, taking top spot in the drivers’ standings after nine out of ten races have been run. Christian Vietoris (71 points) is third in the overall standings behind Farfus (116 points) in second place.
The next race: The finale of the 2013 DTM season will be staged from 19th to 20th October at the home race for Mercedes-Benz in Hockenheim.

DTM Zandvoort

Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):
“My congratulations to Mike Rockenfeller on winning the DTM championship title. He drove a fantastic season and has earned the title. We’ve tried to beat him, but unfortunately, without success. Ninth place is a disappointing result for me, but not much more was possible from grid position twelve. We chose a very aggressive strategy with two pit stops early on, because we knew that overtaking at this track would be quite tricky, especially without the help of DRS. This tactic worked well initially, and helped me to move up a couple of positions, but unfortunately, towards the end of my long final stint, I didn’t have enough grip to go on improving. With a better grid position, I could probably have been fighting for the top positions. At the season finale in Hockenheim, which is a home race for us, well, I just hope to be back among the front-runners once again and end the season on a high note.”

Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):
“Things were looking good initially. I made an early pit stop and changed to the prime tyre when I got stuck behind Edoardo Mortara and found I wasn’t making any progress. I posted some great lap times on those tyres and passed Edoardo in the pits. However, towards the end, we’d done so many laps on the same set of tyres that they were degrading badly and I had to spend the final 15 laps fending off the guys behind me, who were faster on options.”

Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):
“I got off to a great start and moved up the field a few places. After that, though, we were lacking in pace. We might have been able to stay out a bit longer on the option tyres. However, we came into the pits early. We lost some time, I think, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why immediately after the race. The bottom line is that something has not been quite right the whole weekend.”

Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):
“Keeping track of what was happening in the race was very tricky. With all the different strategies that were being deployed, it was really hard to know exactly what position you were in. Actually, things looked quite good for me but unfortunately, I lost some time during both pit stops. As a result, several cars came out of the pits right in front of me and I spent the rest of the race stuck in traffic. It’s a pity, because I think that points would have definitely been possible otherwise. Now we’ll just have to see what happens in Hockenheim.”

Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):
“The race was very tough. My car got hit on the very first lap. My steering was damaged in the contact, so my car kept pulling to one side. I was still able to continue, although my pace was greatly reduced. It was better towards the end on the option tyres, but by then the race had already run its course.”

Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):
“It was a very unfortunate first lap. After running wide, I had hardly any grip in the next turn and lost control of my car. Unfortunately, that led to some contact with another car, which badly damaged my rear tyres, and so, the race was over for me on the very first lap.”

Wolfgang Schattling, Head of DTM Management:
“Toto Wolff and I would like to congratulate Mike Rockenfeller and Audi on winning the championship before season’s end. What a fantastic achievement to secure the DTM title in the penultimate race at Zandvoort. We take our hats off to them. Augusto Farfus and BMW too turned in a great performance in taking a deserved win today. Unfortunately for us, this was a weekend to forget. We need to move on and concentrate on the finale at Hockenheim, plus, we have plenty of hard work ahead during the winter months preparing for the new season. Unfortunately, our qualifying pace was not as good as at other circuits, which cost us positions higher up the grid, and consequently, the chance of a good result in the race. Now, we must turn our full attention to finding the solution to our problems and focus on our home race in Hockenheim where we intend to finish the season on a more positive note in three weeks’ time.”

Pictures: Philipp Deppe / Source: Mercedes DTM