- Luca Stolz claims pole position on Saturday and secures victory in the first race
- Also second place in the Sunday race for the Mercedes-AMG Performance Driver
- Salman Owega and Elias Seppänen again victorious in ADAC GT Masters
A victory and a second place is the successful outcome for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing from the sixth race weekend of the 2023 DTM season at the Sachsenring. Upon the return of the series to the long-standing track near Hohenstein-Ernstthal after a 21-year hiatus, AMG Performance Driver Luca Stolz managed to end up on the podium in both races. In summery temperatures of around 30 degrees, the German and Mercedes-AMG Team HRT once again proved the strong speed of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 on both race days. In the overall standings, Luca Stolz worked his way up into the top 5 by virtue of his almost perfect haul of 49 points.
Race 1: Luca Stolz claims second win of the season for Mercedes-AMG
In the first race on Saturday, Luca Stolz was a class of his own. With his #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3, he claimed pole position in the morning, securing three additional championship points as a result. In the race, Luca Stolz controlled proceedings from the outset and quickly built up a margin. An early safety car intervention due to debris on track didn’t affect the 27-year-old either. After the restart, he quickly pulled clear from his rivals once again. The strategy of his Mercedes-AMG Team HRT with an early tyre change also proved to be spot-on. Luca Stolz crowned the outstanding team performance in commanding fashion and safely drove victory home with a margin of 2.7 seconds. For Stolz, it was his second DTM race win while it was the second victory this year for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing. In the first ten races of the season, Stolz already was on the podium on two occasions after finishing third.
With 13th and 14th place, Stolz’s teammate Arjun Maini (IND) and Mercedes-AMG Team BTW’s Jusuf Owega (GER) also scored valuable points. Driving the #27 Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD car, David Schumacher (GER) finished in 17th place. The two Mercedes-AMG Performance Drivers Lucas Auer (AUT) and Maro Engel (GER) retired early from the Saturday race.
Race 2: A near-perfect weekend for Luca Stolz
On Sunday, Luca Stolz proved to be in excellent form once more. This time, he put his Mercedes-AMG GT3 third on the grid in qualifying in the morning. In the race, he immediately worked his way up into second right after the start, in spite of the 20 kilograms of success ballast following his victory from the previous day. Luca Stolz managed to hold on to this position, also after the race had to be interrupted and restarted following a start crash. Throughout the 46 laps in total, Luca Stolz not only withstood the summery temperatures, but also the enormous pressure by the opposition.
The three Mercedes-AMG Junior Drivers Arjun Maini, Jusuf Owega and David Schumacher also put in a faultless performance. They made it through the skirmishes at the start without any damage and subsequently convinced with consistently fast lap times. Eventually, the trio crossed the finish lines in seventh, ninth and eleventh place respectively, achieving an ample point-score as a result. In the Sunday race at the Sachsenring, Lucas Auer showed a huge competitive spirit and finished the race in 15th place in spite of some incidents and penalties. As a result, the Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD driver claimed the final championship point. AMG brand ambassador Maro Engel was the second-best Mercedes-AMG Driver in seventh during qualifying but was sidelined after a single lap already having become the innocent victim of the accident at the start.
ADAC GT Masters: third and fourth win of the season for Salman Owega and Elias Seppänen
A Mercedes-AMG Duo in ADAC GT Masters was even more successful than Luca Stolz: on the DTM support bill, Salman Owega (GER) and Elias Seppänen (FIN) won both races at the Sachsenring. On Saturday, Owega secured pole position with the #48 Landgraf Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 and thus laid the foundation for a commanding success. The second race on Sunday saw the duo claim victory from third place on the grid. By virtue of their pair of wins, Owega and Seppänen now are also comfortably in the lead of the points’ standings. Haupt Racing Team made another Mercedes-AMG GT3 finish on the podium in both races as well. In the first race, Maximilian Götz (GER)/Petru Umbrarescu (ROU) finished in third place while their teammates Ralf Aron (EST)/Alain Valente (SUI) came third in the second race.
“That was a strong weekend for Luca and Mercedes-AMG Team HRT and a great achievement! Our Junior Drivers also shone with seventh, ninth and eleventh place today. All in all, our points’ haul here at the Sachsenring is very good. For the remaining races, we will try to transfer our learnings from this weekend to all the teams to become even stronger across the board.”
Thomas Jäger, sporting director DTM
“That was a super weekend for us, everything simply was spot-on. The two qualifyings with pole position on Saturday and third place on Sunday were decisive. Victory on Saturday was just highly emotional for me. Currently, I am really enjoying it. Hopefully, we can carry this momentum to the Red Bull Ring. We have scored good points and we were also able to show a good performance with the success ballast on Sunday. Now, it is about focusing on the final four races to make it on the podium there again.”
Luca Stolz, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT #4
“It was a difficult weekend for us. Comparatively, the other Mercedes-AMG Teams were slightly faster, especially in qualifying. But exactly that is when it matters here at the Sachsenring as overtaking is almost impossible. Therefore, we can be happy with today’s race. We ended up eleventh and have some more points to our tally. Now, I am looking forward to the Red Bull Ring.”
David Schumacher, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD #27
“All in all, it was a good weekend. Finishing in the points in both races reflects our upward trend. Especially the second race went well, we made up three positions. Our pace was good, too, but moving up any further wasn’t easy. For the next races at the Red Bull Ring, we can still improve and that is our goal.”
Arjun Maini, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT #36
“We can be happy with the first race. At the start, we made up positions, but there were complications during the pit stop that cost us some time. Otherwise, we would have been in the top 10 yesterday already. Thankfully, we were still able to achieve that today. Staying out of trouble and making it through in a clean way at the start was important. That is how we worked our way up to ninth place and we were able to hold on to that until the end.”
Jusuf Owega, Mercedes-AMG Team BWT #84
“On Saturday, our race already was very good. From pole position, Salman led the race until the pit stop. He handed over the car with a good gap over our rivals and I was even able to extend the lead. The safety car at the end made it thrilling, but thankfully, I managed a good restart and I was able to bring the car home in first place. The entire team has done a really good job this weekend, many thanks for that. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 ran in an outstanding way and simply, everything worked. Leading the standings is nice as well. Hopefully, it stays that way until the end.”
Elias Seppänen, Landgraf Motorsport #48