by Adrian Dorofte and Adrian Andronic
e-mail: mercedesbenzblog@gmail.com

DTM Brands Hatch 2013: Saturday's Qualifying Report - Tough round for Mercedes-Benz teams

Two weeks after the season opener at Hockenheim, the historic Brands Hatch track in Kent plays host to the DTM. Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), who is contesting his home race, will be starting from twelfth on the grid. The Englishman missed out by 36 thousandths on the third segment of qualifying after posting a lap time of 41.363 seconds. His Mercedes-Benz team-mate Robert Wickens (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 41.440 seconds) starts from P14 in Sunday’s race.

Placed third in the season-opener at Hockenheim, Christian Vietoris (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), finished the first qualifying session in P17 with a time of 41.709 seconds and missed moving into Q2 by 26 thousandths of a second. Roberto Merhi (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 41.748 seconds), Pascal Wehrlein (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 41.783 seconds) and Daniel Juncadella (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 41.787 seconds) will start the second race of the season from positions 20 to 22 on the grid respectively. Less than one tenth of a second separated all four drivers from progressing to the second qualifying segment. The small distances between cars in the first qualifying session are a testament to the highly competitive nature of the DTM: A mere four tenths of a second covered all 22 drivers in Q1.

Looking ahead to the race: The second race of the DTM season gets under way (live on ARD television, beginning at 1:05pm) on Sunday, 1:30pm, at the historic Brands Hatch circuit. Martin Tomczyk (BMW / 41.158 seconds) starts from pole position. The race at the shortest track to feature on the DTM calendar covers 98 laps and a total distance of 189.042km. Gary Paffett won his home fixture last year at Brands Hatch from pole position.

Comments after Qualifying

Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 12th, (41.363 seconds)
„Qualifying was a big disappointment. I took pole position last season and went on to win the race – I would’ve liked to repeat that result this year. The balance of the car did not feel too bad, it was alright. I had no major understeer nor oversteer, but unfortunately, we were not fast enough. On this short circuit, three tenths of a second make a big difference. I extracted the maximum out of the car and was on the limit on every lap. Hopefully, by tomorrow we will have found even more speed in the car, and then we can have a clean and fair race in which I aim to secure as many points as possible.“

Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 14th, (41.440 seconds)
„It was really tight today; anything could have happened. I would obviously have liked to make it through to Q3, but unfortunately, my lap time wasn’t good enough. We need to investigate the reasons for that. We know that our race performance isn’t bad, and with the introduction of DRS and the new option tyres, it should still be possible to finish in the points tomorrow. Also there is the weather factor: if it starts to rain, that could completely reshuffle the pack and shake everything up.“

Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):17th, (41.709 seconds)
„My position on the grid for the second race of the season is a disappointment after achieving a podium in Hockenheim, for sure. The team did a great job and I don’t blame them – the car felt good. I missed going through into Q2 by only 26 thousandths of a second, so it was extremely close. Qualifying at Brands Hatch is always like trying to balance on a razor blade; you have to be out on track at the right time and cannot afford to make a single mistake on this short circuit. Qualifying is over and done with and cannot be rerun, so we’ll just have to make the best of things in the race. Of course, I hope to pick up at least a couple of points.“

Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):20th, (41.748 seconds)
„That was a crazy session. We don’t know why we were lacking the speed to get us into Q2. Obviously, I would have wished for a better grid position for this second race of the season. There is hardly any difference in lap times on this short track, which means that even the slightest error is heavily punished. But the race isn’t lost yet. At Hockenheim, Dirk Werner finished on the podium after starting from 20th on the grid. I’ll be trying to achieve something similar tomorrow.“

Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):21st, (41.783 seconds)
„That was hugely disappointing. I tried my best to push, but I couldn’t go any faster. On a track like Brands Hatch, even the tiniest detail can make a big difference, and unless everything clicks into place, you won’t get a good starting position. Even so, I’m not giving up; a lot can happen in the race and I’ll be attacking right through to the finish.“

Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 22nd, (41.787 seconds)
„The track at Brands Hatch has its pitfalls; you have to position the car just right on the bumps to achieve the maximum. I didn’t manage to do that today. The car didn’t feel as good in the qualifying as it did in practice. We simply failed to get the best out of the tyres, and so I didn’t improve my time. Now tomorrow, I’ll just have to charge up the field from the rear. Hopefully, we’ll see one or two surprises in the race just like we did in Hockenheim two weeks ago.“

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
„Well, putting things in a nutshell, we had quite an unfortunate day and our performance in qualifying was definitely not good enough. On such a short track like Brands Hatch, drivers are normally very tightly bunched, and of course, one must always bear in mind the actual set up that was dialed in – and as we speak, Sunday’s weather forecast does not rule out rain – but that by no means fully excuses today’s poor performance. Now we will have to make the most of the situation and mount an all-out offensive on Sunday. Dirk Werner proved at the start of the season in Hockenheim that it is possible to go from 20th on the grid to finish on the podium. Saturday was not good enough, but that does not mean that we have completely given up hope for Sunday.“














Credits: Daimler AG

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