Robert Wickens: “After 98 extremely tiring laps, I had to sprint down the full length of the pit lane to the podium ceremony!“
Brands Hatch – Robert Wickens (STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) finished third in the second race of the season at the historic Brands Hatch circuit in Kent. The Mercedes-Benz Junior Team member thus claimed his maiden podium after contesting 13 races in the world’s most popular touring car series.
The Englishman, competing in his home race, took the chequered flag in third position but was subsequently handed a five-second time penalty for having exceeded the speed limit in a sector where the yellow flags were out for the removal of Augusto Farfus’s car from the track. Paffett not only had to yield his podium spot to Wickens but also fell back to sixth.
After finishing third in the opening race at Hockenheim, Christian Vietoris (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) placed eighth to finish in the points for the second time this season. DTM rookie Pascal Wehrlein (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) in tenth position secured his first point in the DTM in his second DTM race. Mercedes-Juniors Roberto Merhi (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) and Daniel Juncadella (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) came home in positions 16 and 20 respectively.
Overall standings: Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller won the race at Brands Hatch and now leads the drivers' standings with 29 points. Gary Paffett (20 points) and Christian Vietoris (19 points) occupy positions four and five respectively. In the team standings, the team of STIHL/AMG Mercedes with Vietoris and Robert Wickens is in third place on 32 points after securing two podium finishes in two races. Mercedes-Benz is in second place in the DTM manufacturers' standings with 56 points.
VIP at Mercedes-Benz: 21,000 spectators attended the second race weekend of the 2013 DTM season at Brands Hatch - among them British Formula 1 stars Jenson Button (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) and Paul Di Resta (Sahara Force India Mercedes), whose duties included taking other guests for rides around the circuit in a Mercedes-Benz DTM racing taxi.
The next race: The third round of the 2013 DTM season takes place from 1st to 2nd June at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. This year marks the sixth time that the Austrian circuit will host the world’s most popular touring car series.
Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - Third place): " This is my first podium in the DTM and, what’s more, it comes after starting from 13th on the grid at Brands Hatch where overtaking is notoriously difficult. I certainly wasn’t counting on that before the race. My target was just to finish in the points. To make that happen, I knew I would have to get off to a good start and overtake the drivers on the prime tyres.
This strategy worked well. I was pleasantly surprised by my race pace and I was even able to go past drivers on options when I was on primes. The middle stint went perfectly for me. I had two excellent pit stops and was able to control my part of the race right through to the end. Afterwards, I was in the middle of an interview when I was told to hurry along to the podium. So after a physically draining 98-lap race, I had to run the full length of the pit lane to the podium ceremony. But it was well worthwhile. It was a great feeling to taste champagne for the first time in my DTM career."
Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - Sixth place): "I just don’t understand this penalty. I came off the accelerator when the yellow flags were out, but how am I expected to lose half a second inside ten seconds? In a championship race as tight as the DTM, every last point counts. I hope that the points we lost today because of this penalty don’t make all the difference at the end of the season. Our race pace and strategy were very good and were enough to get us onto the podium here through our own efforts. Let’s hope we can build on that in the next race at Spielberg.“
Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - Eighth place): " Eighth place is not the result I had hoped for. I had expected more from the race weekend at Brands Hatch after my podium in Hockenheim. My car was really good today, and more would have been possible but for a mistake in qualifying. Unfortunately, Brands Hatch is not a circuit where overtaking is easy, but the bottom line is that I made the best of the situation and even secured some points."
Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - Tenth place): "Securing my first championship point in the DTM in my second race is a decent result, especially when you consider how difficult overtaking is on this track. I moved up ten positions during the race and secured one point – that's not bad going at Brands Hatch. Of course, it would have been better to have started further up on the grid, but this was a good result for me after a tricky qualifying session.“
Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 16th place): " That was an action-packed race that ended for me, unfortunately, when I received a drive-through penalty. So, despite the car’s good pace, it was impossible to do better than P16. All in all, my weekend was disappointing, and I want to draw a line under it as quickly as possible. In two weeks’ time, we’re off to Spielberg, where I’ll go all-out on the offensive again.“
Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 20th place): "Unfortunately, that was one of those races that it’s best to forget. From Lap 1 onwards, I was having problems with the car – it felt as if I was driving on ice. Really crazy! It may have been caused by contact on the first corner – we’ll have to analyse the reason why. Obviously, I can’t feel satisfied with 20th position. We’ve had a difficult weekend here, and I just hope that things go better for us in Austria."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: " Overnight, it’s as if a minor miracle has taken place – Sunday certainly turned out better for us than Saturday. I would like to see the same thing happen in next weekend’s Formula 1 race, because the situation was the exact opposite on our last outing. This is a good result from a DTM perspective, with all three manufacturers being represented on the podium.
Mike Rockenfeller and Audi deserved their victory today, and BMW were also strong this weekend. After the disappointment of qualifying on Saturday, I am satisfied with having four of our cars finish in the Top Ten. Gary powered through from eleventh on the grid, and once again our juniors demonstrated their talent, in particular Robert Wickens who claimed his first ever DTM podium with a fantastic performance.
But credit also to Pascal Wehrlein who scored his first point and to Christian Vietoris who drove an excellent race. This is a venue where fortune favours the brave, and today luck was on our side. On a track like this, you need a bit of luck occasionally."