For the thirteenth time in all, the historic circuit in the dunes of Zandvoort will be the venue this weekend for the ninth DTM race of the season. Mercedes-Benz driver Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:31.414 minutes) will start the penultimate race of the DTM season from twelfth position on the grid.
Placed third in the championship, Christian Vietoris (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) posted a 1:32.055 to finish in P17. He missed progressing to the second qualifying session by just 0.036 seconds. Bruno Spengler (BMW) has been handed a grid penalty, and so Vietoris moves up to P16 on the grid in Sunday’s race.
Fellow Mercedes-Benz drivers Daniel Juncadella (stern AMG Mercedes C-Coupé / 1:32.145 minutes), Robert Wickens (STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupe / 1:32.241 minutes) and Roberto Merhi (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:32.357 minutes) will be in grid positions 20, 21 and 22 respectively for the start of the penultimate race of the season at Zandvoort.
Looking ahead to the race: The ninth race of the 2013 DTM season starts on Sunday at 1:30pm (live coverage on ARD television, commencing at 1:15pm). The race at the Circuit Park Zandvoort will be staged over 44 laps, covering a total distance of 189.508 kilometres. Marco Wittmann (BMW / 1:30.894 minutes) on pole for start of race.
Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 12th, 1:31.414): “It was a difficult qualifying with unsatisfactory results for us. We ran into some problems in this morning’s practice session, so we made some more changes to the car before qualifying began. I was fifth in Q1, and things were looking much better. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much grip on my second run in Q2 and lost time on the first sector.
When racing is as competitive as it is in DTM, then just a few tenths of a second can make all the difference in grid positions. Twelfth isn't a great position, but I managed to push forward to sixth at Oschersleben from the same position and even made the podium at Brands Hatch, so it's not all over yet. We can still achieve a really good result in tomorrow’s race.”
Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 14th, 1:31.445): “It was very close once again. I was about six hundredths of a second down, that’s all. When the gaps are so small, then the slightest mistake becomes quite crucial. Progressing to Q3 would certainly have been possible, but we must make the best of it tomorrow from 14th place on the grid and, of course, aim to finish in the points if possible. I am very optimistic about our race pace. It will be much better on Sunday.”
Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 16th, 1:32.055): “I felt very comfortable in the car during this morning's practice session and did quite well. Then later in the qualifying, very little went right for me, especially in the first sector. I lost vital seconds there, which I needed to go through to the next segment.”
Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 20th, 1:32.145): “Unfortunately, I didn't post a single decent lap today. I don't know right now where exactly the problem lies – there just wasn't much more I could do today. It's important now to look ahead to the race tomorrow. A lot can happen in the race.”
Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 21st, 1:32.241): “We had a tough time today. I had problems right away, even in practice. Things were actually looking up a bit in qualifying, but I made a mistake in the final turn. It's a very challenging track. If you make a mistake here, you pay a high price for it. Unfortunately, I made a particularly crucial error, and after that, could no longer improve on my time and was knocked out in Q1.”
Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 22nd, 1:32.357): “My lap time was still pretty good, even on the first set of tyres. After switching to the second set, I then went out to post my first flying lap, which is normally better, but spun off the track. I was unable subsequently to build up grip properly again and had really bad understeer. It’s a pity, because I think that more would definitely have been possible but for my error.”
Wolfgang Schattling, Head of DTM Management: "Unfortunately, that was a disappointing qualifying for us, no doubt about it. Now we must analyse the causes, and then go into the race full of fighting spirit. Our long runs in practice were good, but moving up the field is difficult at this circuit. However, our drivers have already shown several times this season that they can gain quite a few positions out on track with good race pace and clever strategy. We certainly do not intend to give up but will aim instead to finish this season with some positive results, both here in Zandvoort and at the finale in Hockenheim especially.”