Gary Paffett best-placed championship contender on grid; Four DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupés in Top 8.
The seventh race weekend of the DTM season is being staged this weekend at the Nürburgring. Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:23.514 minutes) will start the race from position five on the grid. He just missed going through to the hotly-contested fourth qualifying session by eight thousandths of a second.
Directly behind Paffett on the grid will be his team-mates Daniel Juncadella (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:23.617 minutes), Robert Wickens (STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupe / 1:23.688 minutes) and Christian Vietoris (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1: 23.688 minutes) in positions six, seven and eight. Wickens and Vietoris secured exactly the same time – 1:23.688 minutes – in the third segment of qualifying.
Mercedes Junior Pascal Wehrlein (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:23.687 minutes) will start the race from 15th position on the grid at the Nürburgring. His team-mate Roberto Merhi (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) secured 21st place in qualifying with a time of 1:24.359 minutes.
Looking ahead to the race: The seventh DTM race of the season starts on Sunday at 1:30pm (live on ARD TV, beginning at 1:15pm). Brazilian driver Augusto Farfus (BMW / 1:23.296 minutes) is in pole position. The race will be staged over 49 laps and cover a total distance of 177.821km, making it the shortest of the season.
Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / Fifth, 1:23.514 minutes): "I'm really happy with fifth. The car felt great and the qualifying went well for me, all in all. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage a perfect lap in Q3, so I missed going through into the last qualifying session. Still, I’m ahead of Mike Rockenfeller and Bruno Spengler. Three of my fellow Mercedes drivers - who did a super job today - are directly behind me on the grid. All this makes me feel really optimistic about the race. We are not in a bad position for the start of the race."
Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / Sixth, 1:23.617 minutes): "Qualifying went well for me. It's just a shame that I locked up in the chicane during my final stint when on my fastest lap. That probably stopped me going through into Q4. But of course, I'm very happy, all things considered. Position six is so far my best qualifying result in the DTM, but points are awarded in the race tomorrow and not in the qualifying. At any rate, my chances of securing points are good in view of my grid position, but just about anything can happen in the race."
Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / Seventh, 1:23.688 minutes): "That was another tough qualifying session for me today. The first two sessions were alright and I was happy with my car. We changed tyre pressure slightly in Q3, though, and I lacked grip from then on and couldn’t qualify for the final round of qualifying. Had I posted the same time as in Q2, it would easily have been enough. It’s a shame, but still, the final result is okay."
Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / Eighth, 1:23.688 minutes): "The first two qualifying sessions went well. Unfortunately, not enough came right in Q3 to post a good time. I made a small mistake on my first lap, and after that the tyres weren’t up too much. We’ve already had much worse grid positions this year, though, so I think the outlook is good for tomorrow’s race. It’s important to secure points, and then we’ll see how we stand in the championship after the seventh race of the season."
Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 15th, 1:23.687 minutes): "I expected a better grid position than fifteenth today. Things were looking positive in Q1, but I could only post one lap by the end of Q2, since I was down to my last set of tyres. Now we have to see if we can come up with a good race strategy tomorrow in order to move up through the ranks. The field is wide open tomorrow, especially if it rains, but we have to move forwards even if it remains dry."
Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 21st, 1:24.359 minutes): "Unfortunately, my run of terrible qualifying sessions has not been broken at the Nürburgring. Again today, I didn’t manage even a single lap without making mistakes. Maybe I just put myself under too much pressure. Of course, I’m going to give it my best shot tomorrow all the same and try to charge up the field from the rear."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "Congratulations to Augusto Farfus and BMW on securing pole position. Today's qualifying result demonstrates once again just how competitive the DTM is – only a few thousandths of a second decide whether a driver goes through or is out of contention. Our team achieved a very compact result with positions five, six, seven and eight. Gary is placed fifth on the grid and so is ahead of his two championship rivals. Nothing has been decided yet, but we feel very optimistic about the race."