Following the excursion to the Red Bull Ring at Spielberg in Austria, the DTM returns to Germany for the fourth round of the 2013 season at the Lausitzring.
The track: The Lausitzring is situated in the heart of the former lignite coal mining area between Berlin and Dresden. The circuit is 3,478 metres in length and is run in an anti-clockwise direction. In addition to an unusually long straight, it is characterised by a technically demanding infield with many slow corners and chicanes. The race is held over 52 laps corresponding to a total distance of 180.865 kilometres, which makes it the second shortest of the season. The only venue that stages a shorter race is the Nürburgring with a total distance of 177.821 kilometres.
Great reception from fans: Mercedes Junior Team member Pascal Wehrlein contested the third race of the DTM season at Spielberg in a car sporting an unusual design – the colours of Stuttgart football club. The VfB Mercedes AMG C-Coupé proved so popular with fans on its debut at the Red Bull Ring that Wehrlein will also be competing at the Lausitzring in red-and-white livery. Mercedes-Benz has close ties with VfB Stuttgart: Mercedes-Benz Bank is the main sponsor of the German side and Mercedes-Benz the exclusive automobile partner of VfB Stuttgart.
Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): “The Lausitzring is one of my favourite tracks and I always enjoy driving there. When I was still in Formula 3, I frequently tested at the Lausitzring as a member of Peter Mücke’s team. There is one especially fast corner plus several slow ones where you have to brake hard and late. You need good traction when you accelerate and the right balance on the front axle at low speeds. We keep proving how good our car is under race conditions, but we need to raise our game in qualifying. If we can just start from further forward on the grid, we will then be in a position to compete for the race win. Over the race distance, our performance is really good. Our car is easy on the tyres, and our strategy has helped me move up the field on several occasions this season. Now it’s important to carry on improving our whole package.”
Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): “My season hasn’t got off to the start I would’ve liked, but the occasional run of results like this is part and parcel of racing. The encouraging news for us is that our race pace is good. If we can just qualify for the first couple of rows, we can then be contenders for the podium. The standard of competition in the DTM is immense, and every race weekend is ferociously contested. Once again at the Lausitzring, much will depend on how well we get the car set up in Saturday’s free practice session. I have already won twice at the Lausitzring, and last year I came second. The temperatures are usually quite high at this time of year, which makes it one of the toughest races of the season in terms of the physical demands it makes on us drivers. The track has a lot of twists and turns, and overtaking is a real challenge. In 2005 when I won the title, I was on Mattias Ekström’s tail for a full 44 laps of the Lausitzring, and last year, it was a similar story with Bruno Spengler. So I’m curious about the extent to which DRS will increase the chances of overtaking: from what we’ve seen so far, it should now be easier to launch a successful attack on the car in front.”
Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): “The Lausitzring is a beautiful track. Last season, it even counted as a sort of home race for me, because before I moved to Stuttgart this year, I was living in Berlin. My memories of my first Lausitzring race are somewhat mixed – with just a few laps to go, I was on course to score my first points in only my second DTM race. But then I had to retire with a mechanical failure, which was a huge disappointment for me. So you could say that I have some unfinished business at the Lausitzring, and I’d like to settle it this weekend – preferably with more than just a few points, of course. I have full confidence in HWA and in Mercedes-Benz, and I’m sure that we will be strong there. If I could make it into Q4 and get onto the podium, that would be a great way to compensate for what happened on this track last year.”
Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, VfB Mercedes AMG C -Coupé): “I already know the Lausitzring from my time in Formel ADAC and even won a race there. I’m satisfied with the way my rookie year has gone so far. I’ve scored points in two of my first three races, which is good of course, but we want to make even faster progress. The positive aspect is that my qualifying performance at Spielberg clearly improved by comparison with Brands Hatch. So I feel that I’ve got off to a good start. At the Lausitzring, I would now like to take the next step forward and finish in the points for the third race in succession. I’m very pleased that my VfB Mercedes AMG C-Coupé has had such a good reception from football fans and DTM fans alike. Going into my second race in the colours of VfB Stuttgart, though, I’d like to score more than just the one point for tenth place.”
Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): “The atmosphere at the Lausitzring is fantastic every time I go there. The huge grandstand overlooking the home straight is always packed and the fans cheer us on with great passion – that spurs us drivers on all the more. My target for the coming weekend is once again to get the best out of myself and out of my THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. It would be great if I could at least make it through to Q3 in qualifying and then be in with a chance of a Top Five finish in the race. The characteristics of the Lausitzring are quite different from the circuits we’ve raced on so far this season. You have to get a good setup for the many slow sections and chicanes, plus you have to get the exit from the last turn just right – only then will you get the opportunity to overtake the car in front at the end of the start-finish straight. Now that we have DRS, there should be some exciting duels and overtaking manoeuvres.”
Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): “I’m feeling quite upbeat about the fourth race weekend of the season at the Lausitzring. Not least because it’s a home race for our Berlin-based RSC Mücke Motorsport team and they know the place well from having tested there with a lot of different racing cars. I’ve never driven in an actual race at the Lausitzring myself, so I don’t know the track very well. But that’s all part of the learning process in my DTM rookie year. But in any case, I have very fond memories of my first DTM test which took place at the Lausitzring.”
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “The flooding in the catchment area around the Lausitzring has caused serious damage, and at this stage, we don’t yet know what the extent of loss for the local population will be. In these difficult times, we want to join with the ITR and the other manufacturers contesting the DTM in making a small contribution within the framework of the race weekend to help the people of the region cope with the consequences of this natural catastrophe. The Lausitzring has traditionally been a good venue for Mercedes-Benz, a track on which we have taken many victories in the past. But as I have already emphasised several times, past glories count for very little in the present. We must roll up our sleeves and do everything we can to boost our competitiveness. Since the previous race at Spielberg, we have been carefully analysing the situation and working hard to ensure that our pace will be consistently fast at the Lausitzring, not just on Sunday but in Saturday’s qualifying as well. If we can manage to do that, I am convinced that our drivers have the talent and speed to build on past successes and to successfully challenge our rivals from Ingolstadt and Munich for victory. Unfortunately, I am not able to get to the Lausitzring this weekend. As usual, when I cannot attend in person, Wolfgang Schattling, Head of DTM Management, will represent me at the race.”