Barcelona - Marco Wittmann made for the final fastest lap time the of the official four-day ITR tests at Barcelona. On Friday, in perfect weather conditions with temperatures of about 21.5° C, the DTM rookie hat was the quickest driver at the Circuit de Catalunya.
He set his fastest time as early as in the morning session by crossing the line of the circuit’s 2.977-kilometre version with his BMW M3 DTM in 1:06.451 minutes.
Second position on the time sheets of day four was secured by Pascal Wehrlein, who is about to contest his first season on the grid of the most popular international touring-car series - just as Wittmann.
With his DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, 18-year old Wehrlein set a personal fastest lap time of 1:06.687 minutes and was the fastest in the afternoon session - but finished 0.235 seconds behind Wittmann, in the end.
The fans want to see overtaking manoeuvres and both the DRS and the option tyres will be helpful to achieve this goal.
Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz) came third, with his personal fastest lap time of1:06,706 minutes, followed by the best Audi driver, Timo Scheider. The fastest lap time Scheider achieved with his RS 5 DTM (1:06,844 minutes) was 0.393 seconds slower than the one of Wittmann.
Thanks to Wittmann, BMW also secured one of the fastest lap times on the Barcelona time sheets. On the previous three days, the fastest lap times were secured by the two Mercedes-Benz drivers Robert Wickens (Tuesday/1:06.735 minutes) and Gary Paffett (Wednesday/1:06.149) as well as Audi’s new signing Jamie Green (Thursday/1:07.171).
So, Paffett also proved to be the quickest of the entire four days of testing. While the fastest man on Friday also was the busiest: Marco Wittmann completed 220 laps, representing a total mileage of 654.94 kilometres, on a single day of testing at Barcelona.
Prior to the season kick-off, held on 05th May at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, the teams of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz will have another four days of testing for their preparations for the coming season.
From 09th to 12th April, Hockenheim will be the venue of the second and final ITR tests, with the 09th April also representing the official DTM Media Day.
On the four days of the first official ITR tests, the teams and drivers gathered a lot of - predominantly positive - experiences with two technical innovations.
The one innovation were the new Hankook option tyres and the other the new Drag Reduction System, DRS, that allows the drivers to change the adjustment of the rear wing for a certain amount of time to temporarily increase their top speed.
Quotes after day four:
Timo Scheider (Audi): “Being back at the wheel of a racing car after such a long time was fantastic. First of all I had to familiarise myself with the DTM car but I succeeded in doing so very well. It may sound like a standard comment but we completed 90 percent of our scheduled programme.
Nonetheless, it is extremely difficult to make reliable assessments. It was sunny at warm, at times, and then again overcast and colder. Therefore, the track conditions differed a lot.
On Friday afternoon I covered my first kilometres with the option tyres - and they represented a huge positive surprise. Driving the DTM car on these tyres is truly big fun.
Afterwards, you just don’t want to switch back to the standard tyres. And the DRS also makes an impact. I think it was time for making some changes.
The fans want to see overtaking manoeuvres and both the DRS and the option tyres will be helpful to achieve this goal.”
Andy Priaulx (BMW): “Contesting such a test with your new team is really nice. We used the time to get to know one another better - and I quickly found a good rhythm. I definitely will leave Barcelona with a lot of positive experiences under my belt.
The option tyre is quick and rather consistent. And when you go out again on the standard tyres after a stint on the options you have to re-adapt. That’s an interesting challenge.”
Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz): “I had two rather positive days of testing. We had no technical problems whatsoever and consequently, we could make optimum use of the time by gaining a lot of important insights.
And in this year, with the limited test time available to us, this is of particular importance. The crew also cooperated fantastically and did a great job.
I’ve also got a very positive feeling regarding the DRS but at this point in time it’s difficult to say how big the advantage will be, in the end.”