- Lucas Auer finishes second after impressive recovery drive in Saturday race
- Another podium result for the #22 car and Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD on Sunday
- Five Mercedes-AMG drivers secure valuable championship points
- Maro Engel fifth in the drivers’ standings after eight of 16 races
With a concentrated and faultless performance in the Saturday race, Lucas Auer (AUT) and Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD scored their first podium result of the current DTM season at the Nürburgring sprint circuit. In the seventh race of the season, last year’s runner-up in the drivers’ standings crossed the finish line in second place after an outstanding recovery drive. Lucas Auer had started the one-hour race at the 3.629 kilometres long circuit in the Eifel from eighth place on the grid. Thanks to a successful start of his 130th DTM race, the Austrian already was in fourth place with the #22 Mercedes-AMG GT3 after a few corners. He remained in this position until the expected rain set in just before the halfway point of the race. In increasingly damp conditions, multiple cars slid off the track. A severe collision eventually led to a full-course yellow that most of the teams used to complete their mandatory pit stops.
Lucas Auer battles for the lead in the Saturday race after the restart
During the subsequent restart behind the safety car, Lucas Auer proved his rapid response time, making up two further positions in the first few corners already. Until the finish of the race, the 28-year-old increased the pressure on the race leader and also posted the fastest race lap time in 1m 26.667s. As he crossed the finish line, he was only 1.199 seconds down on the winner. Maro Engel (GER) concluded the action-packed race in twelfth place with the #48 Mercedes-AMG Team MANN-FILTER Mercedes-AMG GT3. Luca Stolz (GER), who celebrated his maiden DTM race win at this venue last year, also still scored one championship point by finishing in 15th place in spite of having been tapped into a spin in the opening stages.
Sunday race: #22 Mercedes-AMG GT3 again on the podium
As the track dried out in the 20-minute qualifying session on Sunday morning, the final flying lap was decisive for the starting grid positions for the one-hour race in the afternoon. Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD’s David Schumacher (GER) did particularly well in these conditions and secured himself the best grid position of his DTM career to date in third place. His teammate Lucas Auer followed right behind him in fourth. Maro Engel started seventh and therefore also in the top 10.
The instable weather conditions once again led to turbulent racing action on Sunday afternoon. Most teams decided to start with rain tyres while only few drivers opted for slicks. Auer soon moved up one position and was in second place. As precipitation increased a little bit over ten minutes into the race, Lucas Auer made the decisive move that saw him taking the temporary lead. After the mandatory pit stop, the #22 Mercedes-AMG GT3, laden with success ballast, increasingly came under pressure and initially defended its lead with success for several laps. With ten minutes remaining, however, Lucas Auer still had to give up his position. Soon after that, he dropped back to third place in which he concluded the race behind the safety car. By virtue of a respectable performance in challenging conditions, Maro Engel finished fourth. With David Schumacher in ninth place, Luca Stolz in 13th and Jusuf Owega (GER) in 14th, three further Mercedes-AMG drivers made it into the point-scoring positions on Sunday.
Fifth race weekend at Lausitzring gets second season half underway
With the fourth race weekend at the Nürburgring sprint circuit now in the books, the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams have successfully concluded the first half of the 2023 DTM season. Mercedes-AMG Team MANN-FILTER’s Maro Engel is fifth in the championship after eight of 16 races and is therefore the Mercedes-AMG driver with the best perspective. Lucas Auer climbs up to sixth position after his two podium finishes. The second season half gets underway at DEKRA Lausitzring in a fortnight. Subsequently, the German sprint race series also has rounds at Sachsenring (September 9th and 10th), Red Bull Ring (September 23rd and 24th) and Hockenheimring (October 21st and 22nd).
“All in all, it was a good weekend for Mercedes-AMG here at the Nürburgring. Lucas Auer and Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD have shown a super performance and have absolutely deserved these two podium results. Personally, I am very happy that Lucas has now made such a strong comeback. In the second race, Maro Engel has also shown a sensational recovery in difficult conditions and scored valuable points. We really hope that we can confirm this upward trend in the second half of the season, starting at Lausitzring.”
Thomas Jäger, Sporting Director DTM
“After qualifying that wasn’t optimal, second place on Saturday felt like a victory. The race could hardly have been any better. I had a really good start, our strategy and the pit stop were also super. At the restart, I had a perfect timing. Towards the end, I got quite close to the leader once again, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for an attack. On Sunday, it was considerably more difficult. In the opening stint, I still did quite well with the tyre management, but then I had to give up some ground. I am happy to be here in the first place. After my injury, the road to my return was tough, I wasn’t able to take part in the preparation. However, I have a super team behind me that I can always rely on. That is what we have seen once again this weekend.”
Lucas Auer, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD #22
“Unfortunately, the race on Saturday wasn’t successful for me, but Sunday was all the better. I am very happy with third place in qualifying. Sadly, we had some difficulties during the race. Initially, we were doing well and we moved up into second after the start. We opted for a very early stop and took some risk with the tyre pressure as we expected it to be dry at the end of the race. That is why we lost a lot of time. Ninth place is okay and brings good points, even though we aren’t as far up as we had hoped.”
David Schumacher, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD #27
“It was a very crazy Sunday race in the rain today. Initially, our tyre pressure was too high, so I struggled in the early stages. Once, thankfully, the rain set in, we started making progress. Nevertheless, disappointment prevails because a podium finish would have been possible had it not been for the safety car at the end. I had found the right lines and I was able to make a lot of time on the leader. There wasn’t anything more in store today, but we are happy with the points and we are now looking forward to the next race at Lausitzring.”
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team MANN-FILTER #48
“The weekend wasn’t great for us, which is slightly surprising as we were quite fast here during testing in the dry. In the race, things were slightly better than in qualifying. On Saturday, sadly, I had an unfortunate contact in which I was tapped into a spin. On Sunday, we were really good in the opening stages, and I was able to work my way up to sixth place. After the pit stop, I lacked grip. I slid around quite a lot and therefore I dropped back. Not being successful in the home race hurts, but we don’t give up and we will come back stronger in the second half of the season.”
Luca Stolz, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT #4