- Gerhard Berger ranks his compatriot among the title favourites
- Mercedes on top once more from Audi, Ferrari and BMW
- Second official DTM pre-season test from 4-6 May at DEKRA Lausitzring
Munich/Hockenheim (8.04.2021). For the second day in a row, the fastest time goes to Mercedes: in good weather conditions, DTM drivers went flat-out on the second day of the official test at Hockenheim. In the process, Austrian Lucas Auer posted the fastest time just before the end of the session with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of series’ newcomers, Mercedes-AMG Team Winward. With 1m36.153s at the Grand Prix track in Baden-Württemberg, the five-time DTM race winner ended up just two hundredths of a second ahead of his Monegasque fellow-Mercedes-AMG driver Vincent Abril (Mercedes-AMG Team HRT, 1m36.173s), who was second. Spanish DTM returnee Daniel Juncadella (Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM) was classified third with 1m36.251s. The best-placed Audi driver was Mike Rockenfeller (GER, ABT Sportsline) with 1m36.670s in seventh place. Classified ninth, Alex Albon (THA, AF Corse, 1m37.012s) was less than a second down with the Alpha Tauri Ferrari. With 1m37.190s, two-time champion Marco Wittmann (GER, Walkenhorst Motorsport) again posted the fastest time by a BMW. In total, 18 drivers from ten teams were on track in the course of the two test days.
“Normally, I am taking pressure away from him, but I reckon that Lucas ranks among the championship favourites this season,” Gerhard Berger had stated during a digital press conference earlier in the afternoon. His nephew instantly delivered. “I would say that this afternoon gives quite a realistic impression,” the Austrian comments on his fastest time of the day. “I have learnt a lot about the Mercedes-AMG GT3 that is still new to me in many ways. There is certainly some more to come until the season opener.”
Hubert Haupt is writing DTM history: 30 years ago as a driver, now as a team owner
On the two test days, Alex Albon (THA) got his first DTM experience with the Alpha Tauri Ferrari (AF Corse). “After Formula 1, DTM ranks to the top series, the level of the drivers is extremely high,” Red Bull Racing’s Formula 1 test and reserve driver noted.
Sophia Flörsch again left a good impression with the Audi R8 LMS run by ABT Sportsline on the second day as well. She used the close cooperation with her teammates Mike Rockenfeller (GER) and Kelvin van der Linde (RSA) to gain experience and to improve further. “Kelvin is a GT3 expert while Mike really has vast DTM experience. I can only benefit from that in order to become as quick as these two,” the 20-year-old said.
Hubert Haupt from Munich, meanwhile, raced in DTM as a young driver with Audi 30 years ago, raced with Opel 20 years ago and has now returned as a team owner. “DTM is very much alive! That is making me happy. Becoming involved with my team is a dream coming true for me,” says Haupt, who intends to race one of his HRT team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3s himself in at least one DTM race.
SAT.1, ZDF and Sport1 attended the DTM test days at Hockenheim with their own camera teams and reporters. Additionally, the focus of the TV production was on the new teams and drivers, so that TV stations in countries like New Zealand (Liam Lawson) and South Africa (the brother pairing of Sheldon and Kelvin van der Linde) were supplied with footage from DTM organiser ITR. The DTM’s eight race weekends will be broadcast live by SAT.1 in the German-speaking nations as well as in over 50 countries worldwide.
For further pre-season preparation, teams will be taking on each other again during the second official DTM test at DEKRA Lausitzring from 4-6 May. The DTM’s 35th season will get underway in the Royal Park of Monza in Italy, 18-20 June.
Picture: Fastest of the day Lucas Auer (Mercedes-AMG, Winward)