Canadian Robert Wickens (FREE MAN’S WORLD Mercedes AMG C-Coupe) will line up in pole position for the second consecutive time at the Norisring for the DTM season highlight in Nuremberg.
Just like last year, Wickens secured the best starting position in qualifying for the 83-lap race at the Dutzendteich street circuit. For Mercedes-Benz, it was the 16th pole position on the streets of Nuremberg. Overall, five Mercedes-Benz drivers qualified in the Top Six on the grid.
Fellow Mercedes-Benz driver Paul Di Resta (Mercedes DTM AMG C-Coupe) will line up next to Wickens on the front row. The 2010 DTM champion posted a time of 47.976 seconds on his return to the Norisring, just 0.093 seconds off the pole-sitter’s time. Apart from Wickens and Di Resta, only one other DTM driver managed to crack 48 seconds.
Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein (gooix Mercedes AMG C-Coupe / 48.008 seconds) finished the fourth qualifying session of the season in fourth place, improving his best ever grid position to date at the Norisring back in 2013 by one place. 2005 DTM champion, Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) and winner of the DTM race in Oschersleben Christian Vietoris (Original-Teile Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) achieved practically identical lap times twice in Q3. With a time of 48.008, they will be in P5 and P6 respectively on the grid.
Mercedes junior Daniel Juncadella (Petronas Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) secured grid position 17 with a time of 48.375 seconds. Russian driver Vitaly Petrov (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 48.544 seconds) qualified in grid position 23 on his first appearance at the Norisring in Nuremberg.
Looking ahead to the race: The fourth race of the 2014 DTM season gets under way on Sunday at 1:30 pm (live on ARD TV, from 1:15 pm onwards). The race will be staged over 83 laps, equating to a total distance of 190.9 km.
Comments after Qualifying
Robert Wickens (25, Canada, FREE MAN’S WORLD Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Pole position
„My second pole position, and once again it’s at the Norisring. It would make a nice change to be starting from P1 on another track! But joking aside, it really is a fantastic feeling. I had been expecting us to be stronger here, but I’ve been surprised just how strong we actually are. Now we need to make maximum use of our excellent form this weekend and rack up as many points as we can. In motor racing, anything can happen. There’s no guarantee that I’ll still be in the lead once the race gets underway. So I’ll just let the race take its natural course and see what the outcome is.“
Paul Di Resta (28, Scotland, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Second
„It’s great to be back on the front row. We can now see some light at the end of the tunnel, although in the run-up to the weekend, we hadn’t been expecting all that much. We’re obviously very satisfied with our team result today, but we need to wait and see what happens with the weather between now and tomorrow. The first few races of the season were a painful experience for our team, and we realise that we’re still a long way from where we’d like to be. There’s no guarantee that things will carry on like this at the next race in Russia. Nothing is ever quite so simple in the DTM. But it’s a pleasant reward for all the hard work done by the team in the last few weeks – they have put in a tremendous effort to improve the car.“
Pascal Wehrlein (19, Germany, gooix Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Fourth
„Fourth on the grid is an excellent result for me. We knew that we were going to be strong at the Norisring. I think that I was actually capable of even more, but on my fast lap, I came up behind Mattias Ekström. Unfortunately, he didn’t let me make a clean pass, which ruined my lap. All the same, row two is a good outcome and a great launch pad for tomorrow.“
Gary Paffett (33, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):Fifth
„What a great day for Mercedes-Benz! We’ve been having a really tough season so far, but we got five cars in the Top Six today. It’s absolutely incredible. We knew the Norisring would suit us better than the previous circuits and that we had an opportunity here which we had to seize with both hands. Personally speaking, I could certainly have done better than grid position five, but Robert did a fantastic job, I have to say. All in all, a super day for our team today. We’ll be going for the win tomorrow.“
Christian Vietoris (25, Germany, Original-Teile Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):Sixth
„Today’s result means, of course, that I’m in a good position for the start of tomorrow’s race. It’s nice to have a competitive car once again in which you can be up there with the front-runners. I’ve missed that feeling in the last few races. And so, I’m also feeling quite optimistic about the race and will try to fight for victory, for sure.“
Daniel Juncadella (23, Spain, Petronas Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 17th
„The qualifying session was okay, but unfortunately at the end of Q1, I made contact with the wall and damaged the front right of my car. That upset the balance. A pity really. I think that I might otherwise have made it through to Q3. It looks like it may rain tomorrow, which means that anything is possible.“
Vitaly Petrov (29, Russia, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 23rd
„My setup was really good at the beginning of the session. Unfortunately, something was not quite right with the tyres after I came in for a fresh set, so I didn’t manage to post another hot lap. I’m disappointed, of course, but it’s just the way it is.“
Wolfgang Schattling, Head of DTM Marketing & Communication:
„This qualifying result is a nice surprise for us. We had hoped before the race weekend that we might be stronger here because we’ve been quick at the Norisring in recent years, but to put five cars on the first three rows of the grid is absolutely fantastic. Robert has done a first-class job from start to finish. He was one of the best in every session. This result does the entire team a power of good after a difficult start to the season. However, things could look very different in the race itself, especially if it actually begins to rain. And so, we are not going to start feeling overconfident after this good qualifying performance and will continue to work hard in order to secure another decent result tomorrow.“
Pictures: ©Philipp Deppe / MBpassion.de – Source: Mercedes-Benz Motorsport