Conditions were variable and very tricky for the eighth qualifying session of the DTM season on Saturday afternoon at Oschersleben. Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) secured the seventh fastest time of 1:20.333 minutes in the third qualifying session. However, Paffett will start his 100th DTM race on Sunday from twelfth position on the grid after being handed a five-place grid penalty.
Robert Wickens (STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), winner of the previous race in the wet at the Nürburgring, qualified in twelfth position on the grid with a lap time of 1:21.185 minutes but moves up one place to P11 as a result of Paffet’s grid penalty. Mercedes-Pascal Junior Wehrlein (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:21.351 minutes) secured grid position 14 for the race at Oschersleben.
Conditions were tough and drizzle was falling, as Daniel Juncadella (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:21.258 minutes), Christian Vietoris (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupe / 1:21.400 minutes) and Roberto Merhi (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupe / 1:21.517 minutes) came home in positions 20, 21 respectively 22 during qualifying.
Just like Paffett, Juncadella was handed a five-place grid penalty by race stewards, and so, the Spanish driver will be in grid position 22 for the race.
Looking ahead to the race: The eighth race of the 2013 DTM season gets under way on Sunday at 1:30pm (live on ARD television, starting at 1:15pm). The race will be staged over 51 laps which equates to a total distance of 188.496km.
Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 11th, 1:21.185 minutes): “It was very difficult to pick the right moment to go out on track with all the rain. Unfortunately, things only went well for us in Q1. We waited too long to go out in Q2. It was already raining a bit on the Outlap.
On the first timed lap, the rain was even heavier, and the track was so wet on the second hot lap that a decent time was no longer possible. We didn’t expect that I would not go through to Q3. It's altogether a great pity because I think we have a good car, good enough even to progress to Q4 and on to pole position with a little bit of luck.”
Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 12th, 1:20.333 minutes): “This track is really challenging. The turns are technically very difficult because of the many kerbs. The gaps between drivers are so small, just two tenths quicker and you are way out in front. Well, starting from P12 is, of course, not at all what we'd reckoned with.
Unfortunately, an error means that I’ve dropped down five places on the grid. But of course, we don’t want to see a repeat of what has happened, but we all make mistakes. Nevertheless, we will do everything we can tomorrow to secure plenty of points in the race. So all in all, it was a tough qualifying, not the perfect result I’d hoped for, but it could’ve been worse. That’s racing and the reason why we all love it so much.”
Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 14th, 1:21.351 minutes): “Actually, I felt quite optimistic about qualifying. Practice went well and things didn’t look too bad for me in Q1. In Q2, though, we went out too late in the end, and the track was wet on the third sector. We need to see what we can do tomorrow. I think that we will have plenty of speed in the race. We're going to really step on the gas.”
Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 20th, 1:21.400 minutes): “I had a tricky session. It rained a bit at the beginning, so the times we set weren't all that great to be honest. The track was much better on my second timed lap, but unfortunately, some cars up ahead got in my way and I couldn't improve my time. So as a result, sad to say, I'll be starting the race from P20 on the grid.”
Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 21st, (1:21.517 minutes): “That qualifying was just awful and very frustrating. Unfortunately, I couldn’t improve in the dry. I fought hard but didn’t get very far. We'll have to see what the race brings, but it’s not looking good for me at the moment. All the same, the rain tomorrow might work in my favour.“
Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 22nd, (1:21.258 minutes): "It was a tough session with a lot of action, but ultimately, I couldn’t do enough to post a good lap time. So now I'm in P22 after my five-place grid penalty and starting tomorrow's race from the very back of the grid. Qualifyings don’t come any worse."
Wolfgang Schattling, Head of DTM Management: “We did not think that qualifying would turn out like this. As a result of Gary’s five-place grid penalty, we don’t have a single car in the Top Ten, which is very disappointing, of course. Today’s variable conditions were quite tough and meant that it was vital to be out on track at the right time.
Obviously, we did not consistently manage to do that. However, we will not allow that to unsettle us. Our team will do everything in the race to secure a respectable result. We have experienced unexpected results often enough this season, but our young squad has shown repeatedly this year that they can do brilliant things and perform well in the race.”