After an unlucky start to the season that saw him retire from the first three races with various problems, Opel's Marcel F?ssler finally gained his first points at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz. Yet even that wasn't straightforward -- F?ssler finished the race ninth originally but Opel teammate Timo Scheider, who finished seventh, was demoted out of the points by a penalty. That promoted F?ssler to eighth, then race winner Gary Paffett was disqualified and Marcel moved up to seventh.
F?ssler admitted it was not a great weekend for him. He made the super pole qualifying but was the first runner on a wet track. As the individually timed laps went on the track got drier and the times faster. The last two runners were out on slick tyres and their times were over ten seconds faster than F?ssler's first effort. He qualified ninth for the starting grid.
"I had almost no chance to do better than I did," he told Motorsport.com. "It was getting drier and drier but when I went out there was absolutely no chance of going on slicks."
Race day didn't start too well either; the red lights at the start came on then went off almost immediately, catching a few drivers out. "The start was really bad but it was my fault," F?ssler said, in regard to losing a few places. So was he not paying attention? He laughed: "Yes, but it happened so fast. I just missed the lights, they went off so quick, it took me by surprise!"
The car handling was not to his satisfaction during the race, although he managed to make his way back up to his starting position. "Sometimes it was better, sometimes not so good," he mused, sounding baffled. "It's difficult to say why, we don't know at the moment. My last set of tyres were not so good and I couldn't set the same times as before."
As for the points, he was slightly pleased to finally get some but not about the way they came about, or his race in general. "Really, I wasn't happy. It was not okay, the way the race went -- what does ninth matter, what does seventh? I'm here to get podiums, to win. And I would rather earn points than be given them. Okay, it's luck and I've already had some bad luck but…" He paused then concluded with a wry chuckle: "But I'll take the points anyway!"
The DTM now has a three-week break but F?ssler is still busy. This coming weekend he will compete in the N?rburgring 24 hours with Opel, his first endurance race. Naturally he is excited: "Of course!" He exclaimed. "It will be really good to drive it. I don't know what to expect but I'm sure it will be great." He's not had much preparation -- the idea gets him laughing again: "I've had no time for training! It'll be okay."
Opel won the event last year -- this time one team will be the previous winning squad of Volker Strycek (Opel motorsport boss), Timo Scheider, Manuel Reuter and Opel test driver Marcel Tiemann. The partner team is F?ssler, Peter Dumbreck, Christian Menzel and Strycek again.
"It will be one and a half hour stints, then we change drivers," said F?ssler. "Two cars, three drivers for each, and also Volker will drive for both teams. For me, I will have to wait and see how it goes but I'm really looking forward to it."
The N?rburgring 24 Hours begins with qualifying on June 11th and the race starts at 3pm on June 12th. The next DTM race is at the Norisring on June 27th.