Mercedes Junior Robert Wickens secures pole position at Norisring

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Five of the six Mercedes-Benz drivers in top ten on grid.

In the standout race of the DTM season around the streets of Nuremberg, Mercedes-Benz Junior Robert Wickens (STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) has claimed the first pole position of his DTM career.

Pole position for Robert Wickens, third place Gary Paffett
Pole position for Robert Wickens, third place Gary Paffett

Photo by: ITR eV

The Canadian, who has now reached the Q4 shootout three times out of five in the current campaign, booked the front slot on the grid for Sunday’s race with a lap time of 48.384 seconds.

Mercedes-Benz team-mate Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) is placed directly behind Wickens in the starting line-up for the fifth race of the season at the Norisring. Currently third in the championship, Paffett came home in third position with a time of 48.460 seconds.

Mercedes Junior Pascal Wehrlein (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) will be on the third row for the start of his fifth DTM race. He secured fifth position with a lap time of 48.356 seconds. His team-mates Daniel Juncadella (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 48.410 seconds) and Christian Vietoris (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 48.485 seconds) will line up in positions seven and ten respectively on the grid. Seventh place is Juncadella’s best ever starting position in the DTM to date.

Roberto Merhi (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 48.848 seconds) will be in 21st position on the grid in the fifth race of the 2013 DTM season on Sunday. The Spaniard missed progressing to the second segment of qualifying by 0.135 seconds. Just half a second covered all 22 drivers in Q1.

DTM special anniversary: Mercedes-Benz is celebrating its 25th anniversary in the world’s most popular touring car series here at the Norisring. Taking part in the celebrations will be a number of stars from the past – former Mercedes-Benz DTM drivers and greats – Klaus Ludwig, Bernd Schneider and Roland Asch to name but a few. On Saturday after qualifying, Mercedes-Benz put on a parade of classic DTM cars from various periods in the past 25 years. On Sunday at 11:50 clock, there will be another parade with the DTM legends.

Looking ahead to the race: The fifth race of the DTM season starts on Sunday at 1:30pm (live on ARD television, beginning at 1:15pm). This fixture at the street circuit in Nuremberg that marks the half-way stage in the DTM season will cover 83 laps and a total distance of 190.900km.

Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé Pole position, 48.384): “The Norisring is a very special circuit for me. I scored my very first DTM points here in last year’s race, and now it’s the place where I secured my first DTM pole position. That’s a fabulous feeling. I knew that my lap was strong, but I wasn’t sure if my lap time would be enough for pole. As I was getting out of the car, I couldn’t hear anything on the radio, but Gary came up to me and said: ‘Excellent, P1’! At first, I was speechless. Now I’m going to concentrate on getting off to a good start, and hopefully things will carry on like this tomorrow. When you start from pole, you obviously want to finish on the podium.”

Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, - Third, 48.460): “That was a brilliant performance by Robert. He drove very fast from the very first minute of practice. With the relatively small amount of time allocated to practice this year, it is difficult to pick out major changes to the vehicle. I kept improving as the day progressed, but Robert was a bit faster than me in qualifying.

Five Mercedes-Benz drivers in the Top 10 is a fantastic team result for us. The entire team is currently producing first-class work. The gaps between drivers are always very close at the Norisring and you have to post a perfect lap in order to book the top slot. So, third place is a decent result for me in view of that fact.

As regards to strategy, tyres and DRS, everything in the race is still wide open. We have a strong car and hopefully, we'll be battling for victory again tomorrow.”

Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - Fifth, 48.356): “On balance, that counts as a good qualifying session from my perspective. In fact, fifth place probably exceeds expectations. Consequently, I’m highly satisfied with the result, even though it’s obviously a shame to have missed out on the final qualifying segment by such a small margin.

However, I had only one set of fresh tyres left in Q3, which meant that I was slowly but surely pushed down to fifth. But despite all that, I can still achieve a lot tomorrow starting from this position.”

Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - Seventh, 48.410): “To be honest, I did not expect to do so well after the practice session which makes me all the more pleased with my result. Unfortunately, I locked up on the first two laps of the third qualifying segment, so the tyres were not at their best. Also, you need a little bit of luck on this circuit as the gaps between drivers are so close. But as I said, I’m very satisfied with seventh place on the grid and am extremely confident about tomorrow’s race since my race pace has always been good.”

Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - Tenth, 48.485): “My result is okay on the whole. I was in the top four in both of the first two qualifying segments but had problems changing down in Q3, causing me to lose a lot of time on the third sector. That’s also the reason why I missed progressing to Q4. We will sort the problem with the gearbox by tomorrow and then we’ll see what I can do in the race. Our speed makes me feel confident.”

Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 21st, (48.848): „Unfortunately, I’ve no idea why I’ve been having such problems here after the successful weekend at the Lausitzring. Hopefully, we’ll manage to find some extra speed by tomorrow. I’m in a difficult situation, and to be honest, I’m hoping for rain tomorrow.

One way or another, my target is now to improve my position as best as I can – with the right strategy and the use of DRS, that should possible. We’ve seen some crazy races already this year, so maybe luck will be on my side this time.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “Today went perfectly for us. Robert is in pole position the first time in his DTM career and five of our six drivers are in the Top 10 – that's a great team result. Our strategy of giving young drivers a chance is being repaid ever more handsomely as the season progresses. Robert appears to be in the swing now. We have always known that he has the speed, but now he is beginning to convert his form into top placings.

Although competition at the Norisring is always tight, I am very satisfied with this Saturday’s qualifying. Still, we must be on guard in the race. Our car was fast today, but tomorrow it also depends on the pace on long runs and on having the right strategy and the use of DRS – we are not about to write off anyone, certainly not strong opponents like Audi and BMW.”

Mercedez-Benz

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About this article
Series DTM
Article type Qualifying report
Tags dtm, juncadella, mercedes, merhi, norisring, paffett, vietoris, wehrlein, wickens

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