An exciting fifth race weekend of the DTM season ends with a victory, a podium result and multiple top ten results for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing. Luca Stolz (GER), driving for Mercedes-AMG Team HRT, scored his maiden DTM race win after a faultless display on Sunday; Lucas Auer (AUT) came third for Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD. In the Saturday race that was started with delay due to thick fog, last year’s champion Maximilian Götz (GER) of Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD Racing impressed with an outstanding recovery drive that saw him move up from 16th on the grid to fourth place.
- Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams got second season half off to a successful start
- Race 2: Luca Stolz secures maiden DTM race win with faultless display
- Race 1: Maximilian Götz in fourth place after excellent recovery drive
With the ninth and tenth race of the season, DTM got the second half of its season underway at the Nürburgring this weekend. The event, officially labelled as “DTM Nürburgring powered by Mercedes-AMG”, included, among others, the 89th and 90th DTM race at the long-standing circuit in the Eifel. The 3.629 kilometres long sprint circuit configuration was in use.
In qualifying on Sunday morning, Maximilian Götz managed to secure sixth place on the grid with the #1 Mercedes-AMG GT3 while Luca Stolz concluded the 20-minute session in seventh place. Lucas Auer was out of sync when completing his fast laps, but got into traffic nevertheless and therefore didn’t end up any higher than tenth place.
The race start in the early afternoon led to some position changes and contacts that mixed up the field. On lap five, the safety car was deployed. In the #4 GT3, Luca Stolz slotted into fourth place behind the safety car, Lucas Auer was in seventh with the #22 car and Maximilian Götz was tenth.
Almost the entire field used this phase to complete the mandatory pit stop. With all the action in the pit lane, precision was crucial. During the tyre change, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT was over a second faster than the opposition, enabling Luca Stolz to take the lead. Lucas Auer also benefited from a quick stop and moved up into third place after the restart. Maximilian Götz in sixth and Mikaël Grenier (CAN) of Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing in ninth place were also in the point-scoring positions. Subsequently, Stolz had a free drive and showed an outstanding performance, posting the fastest race lap time. Halfway through the race, he already had a reassuring lead over the driver in second place. Meanwhile, Auer, Götz and Grenier held on to their top 10 positions.
Luca Stolz drove the first DTM race win of his career home in a commanding way. The fastest lap of the race led to an additional championship point for the Mercedes-AMG Team HRT driver. Lucas Auer was still able to reduced the gap to second place, but had to make do with third position. Maximilian Götz and Mikaël Grenier each made up one position as a result of the retirement of an opponent and therefore crossed the finish line in fifth and eighth place respectively.
Race 1: a pair of top five results for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing
Dense fog around the Nürburgring initially led to first qualifying being cancelled and the start of the race was in doubt for a long time as well. After a long wait, however, there was on-track action after all: instead of the usual race start time of 1.30pm, race control only gave the start signal at 5.15pm. With qualifying in the morning having been cancelled, starting grid positions for the race on Saturday were based on the championship standings prior to the event. As a result, Lucas Auer of Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD was the best-placed Mercedes-AMG driver in fifth place on the grid. Ninth in the standings, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT’s Luca Stolz also secured a starting grid position among the first ten.
Although visibility had considerably improved prior to the start of the race, the ongoing drizzle still made conditions challenging. However, the damp track also enabled the 28 drivers to use different racing lines, resulting into numerous overtaking manoeuvres. Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD Racing’s Maximilian Götz had started the race from 16th place, but visibly felt comfortable in these conditions and made up no less than eleven positions within a short time, especially courtesy of courageous moves in the Mercedes Arena.
Around half of the drivers, including Lucas Auer, came in for their pit stops at an early stage. Maximilian Götz stayed out on track for the time being. With 15 minutes remaining, all cars had completed their mandatory stops. At that time, Götz was in sixth place with the #1 GT3, Lucas Auer followed in seventh place with the #22 car.
Subsequently, Götz continued his recovery drive and benefited from a collision by the two cars at the front of the field. Now running in fourth, he increased the pressure on the top three in the two final laps, but eventually missed out on a podium finish by less than half a second. Lucas Auer finished fifth, Mikaël Grenier also scored a championship point by finishing tenth with the #55 Mercedes-AMG GT3 run by Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing.
The good results during “DTM Nürburgring powered by Mercedes-AMG” result into major changes in the overall standings. With his fifth and his third place, Lucas Auer moved up into third position of the standings. Luca Stolz also moved up and is in fifth place as he heads to the next DTM event.
DTM returns to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for its next race weekend
After a one-year absence, the highly-competitive sprint race series returns to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in a fortnight. The track in the Belgian Ardennes serves as the venue for the sixth event of the season and following the most recent 1-2 in the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, it is considered as a happy hunting ground for the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams. DTM drivers Maximilian Götz and Luca Stolz most likely have particularly good memories of the endurance race: the two Germans were classified second with #2 Mercedes-AMG GT3 run by Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed.
Thomas Jäger, Sporting Director DTM: “We are very happy about a successful start of the second half of the season in spite of the difficult weather conditions on Saturday. That we were able to claim victory on Sunday is the optimal end of this exciting DTM round. Congratulations to Luca Stolz on his first-ever DTM victory and to Mercedes-AMG Team HRT, but also to Lucas Auer, who is back in the hunt for the championship with a faultless showing.”
Lucas Auer, driver, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD #22: “Qualifying this morning was patchy, but the race was much better. I was aggressive during the starts and got rewarded twice. The strategy and the quick pit stop were the key moments. All in all, it was a good team effort. However, we still have some work to do concerning the pace.”
Luca Stolz, driver, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT #4: “I don’t quite know what to say yet. I made a guest start at Nürburgring one year ago and now winning here is a fantastic feeling. In the end, it was the team that made the difference. The call came at the right time and once again, we have completed the fastest pit stop. The car performed superbly, it was great fun and now I hope that things will continue like this at Spa.”
Maximilian Götz, driver, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD Racing #1: “It was a great weekend. Especially in the race on Saturday, still fighting for a podium finish from 16th place on the grid was mega, of course. Prior to the race, I didn’t think that we would get into this position in the first place. I was very happy with being the best Mercedes-AMG in qualifying today. Therefore, the pace is definitely there. Nevertheless, we have to analyse the weekend and continue from here at Spa.”
Mikaël Grenier, driver, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing #55: “These were two very different race. On Saturday, we had to start from the back and still finished in a strong tenth place. Today in qualifying, it was really close. 13th place wasn’t quite what we had expected. Eventually, however, we still drove a clean race again and we are happy for having been able to score points twice.”