Christian Vietoris: “My team did a fantastic job today with the pit stops and strategy – this victory belongs to everyone in the crew.”
Mercedes-Benz driver Christian Vietoris (Original-Teile Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) won the second DTM race of the season at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben in front of 65,000 spectators (through the gates over the whole weekend). This was for Vietoris his maiden victory in his 34th race in the internationally popular touring car series.
The race took place in difficult, changeable weather conditions. Vietoris made his first pit stop after the formation lap and switched to wet weather tyres. He pitted only once more in an exciting and eventful race that saw the safety car come out three times. He went into the lead just before the end of the race, defending his P1 to the finish line.
Due to the difficult weather conditions and the three safety car periods, the race did not go the full distance of 51 laps but was stopped after the maximum race time of 75 minutes had elapsed. Vietoris gained 15 places on his original grid position during the course of the 44 laps that were completed.
Vitaly Petrov (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), the first Russian DTM driver in the history of the series, finished 17th in his second DTM race. Canadian driver Robert Wickens (FREE MAN'S WORLD Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) retired after nine laps. Fellow Mercedes-Benz drivers Daniel Juncadella (Petronas Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) and Pascal Wehrlein (gooix Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) also failed to take the chequered flag
Overall standings: As a result of this race win, Christian Vietoris moves up to second place in the drivers’ championship. He is currently on 25 points, five behind championship leader Mike Rockenfeller (Audi). In the team championship, Original-Teile Mercedes AMG are in second place on 37 points, just one point behind Audi Sport Team Phoenix.
The next race: The third DTM race weekend of the season will be held from 31st May to 1st June at the 4.381 km Hungaroring in Budapest (Hungary).
Christian Vietoris (25, Germany, Original-Teile Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - Winner): “My first DTM victory! To have secured it under such difficult circumstances and in such an eventful race is simply incredible. I’m absolutely delighted. We had been hoping for rain because our pace in the dry still isn’t good enough. A wet weather race was our only chance of challenging for the win today, and we exploited this opportunity to the full. My team did a fantastic job today with the pit stops and strategy – this victory belongs to everyone in the crew. All the same, we need to keep our feet firmly planted on the ground. We are fully aware that we have to raise our performance under normal race conditions, and we’ll be going about that very systematically in the coming weeks.”
Paul Di Resta (28, Scotland, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 4th): “Conditions were really tricky today, but they certainly played into our hands. We had worked out a good strategy and took the right decisions during the safety car period, but I still found things difficult. I thought my race was over when I was pushed off track. However, I kept going and did everything possible to regain the places I’d lost. All in all, we can be satisfied with P4. Nevertheless, we at Mercedes-Benz must continue to work on the car and on our total package.”
Gary Paffett (33, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 8th): “That was an incredible race which was very difficult and confusing for us drivers and for the team alike. The whole afternoon was a mixture of emotions. I got off to a phenomenal start, had good pace and was closing up on the leaders. Then I made a mistake on Turn 2 where I hit the wet kerbs and spun round. I was disappointed with myself for getting into such a situation. So I found myself at the back of the field and had to fight my way through again. Then it started to rain and we were confronted with the decision of whether to change the tyres or not. As you know, we have one mandatory stop during the official pit stop window, but the rain had started to set in just before. We took the decision to stay out. Unfortunately, that was the wrong call, as the track was getting wetter and wetter and the car was becoming harder to drive. When the pit stop window opened, we immediately switched to wet weather tyres. The safety car period obviously helped us to get back into a points-scoring position. Ultimately, I finished eighth and we scored points which – to be honest – we hadn’t been expecting going into the race. So I’m satisfied on the one hand, but I’m still annoyed with myself about the mistake early on.”
Vitaly Petrov (29, Russia, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 17th): “I drove a DTM car in the wet for the first time today, so it took a few laps to get used to conditions and understand how the car and tyres behave in the rain. It’s very difficult to predict where you will finish in conditions like we experienced today, with all the safety car periods and everything, but that's racing. You just have to do your best. I think I was posting similar lap times to the front-runners during my middle stint, so I'm quite happy with the race. Now we’ll take what’s positive to Budapest.”
Daniel Juncadella (23, Spain, Petronas Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - retired): “I made quite a good start to the race. Unfortunately, I lost my windscreen wipers after the first safety car period, and so couldn’t see a thing behind the other cars and came off the track. Maybe I should have pitted sooner, but it’s hard to say if that would have changed anything. I hope to have a better weekend in Budapest.”
Pascal Wehrlein (19, Germany, gooix Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - retired): “Unfortunately, Sunday turned out to be a disappointment for me. After securing ninth place on the grid, I was obviously hoping for something better, especially as we reckoned we had a better chance in the wet than in the dry. Sadly, that wasn’t to be. Now my focus is on the next race in Budapest. In the meantime, we’ll be working hard as usual to improve our performance.”
Robert Wickens (25, Canada, FREE MAN’S WORLD Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - retired): “I started very well and moved quickly up into the Top 10, as in the last race. It's nice to be in a points-scoring position right from the start. After the pit stop on wet tyres, Miguel Molina came out of the pits and tried to overtake me on the inside. I think he was just too fast and that’s why he hit me. Unfortunately, my car was damaged to the front on the right as a result. I could no longer steer while running through the next turn and then drove into the tyre wall. It's nice to see that we are competitive in the wet, though. We’ll now continue to work on the car and look forward to Budapest.”
Wolfgang Schattling, Head of DTM Management: “This victory is good for the whole crew. Christian drove a great race and our team made all the right decisions. Nevertheless, we must not forget that we are still down in normal conditions and must catch up bit by bit. There’s a long way to go. We’re enjoying today’s success, but we will continue to work to reduce the gap on our competitors, starting immediately tomorrow. The key to today’s result was that our technical team took a superb decision concerning strategy in a tricky phase of the race. Before the start, no one would have expected us to actually win. We only began to hope that we might actually pull it off after the second safety car period. However, our collective pulses began to race when Mike Rockenfeller began to close again on Christian towards the end, so we were really happy that ultimately, he did enough to win.”