Dramatic end to race in Zandvoort: Robert Wickens loses overall lead following puncture
Zandvoort - Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) kicked off the second half of the 2016 DTM season with second place at Zandvoort. This was Paffett's first podium of the year after previously winning three times at Zandvoort.
The winner of Saturday's race, Robert Wickens (SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM), was in second place until just before the finish. P2 would have given him the overall lead in the drivers' standings, but the closing stages of his race were filled with drama when he had a puncture, losing many places as a result. He crossed the finish line in P16 after making an extra pit stop. A similar fate befell Mercedes-AMG DTM team-mate Christian Vietoris (BWT Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM), who was forced to retire.
Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) and Lucas Auer (BWT Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) finished eighth and ninth respectively. Daniel Juncadella (Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) came home in twelfth place. DTM rookie Esteban Ocon (FREE MEN'S WORLD Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM) crossed the finish line in P18. Maximilian Götz (Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM) retired 20 minutes before the end.
The next race weekend: The DTM will take a short summer break after this weekend in Zandvoort which marks the season mid-point. The next two races will take place at the Moscow Raceway, 19th-21st August.
Comments after the Race
Gary Paffett (35, England):
"This has been a great weekend for me - without a doubt the best so far this season. My car was absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, Robert and Christian dropped back or retired towards the end. Up to that point, it had been looking like a very strong team performance from us. Our car was perfectly set up. If we can get that right again in Moscow, we are in with a chance of further podium finishes. The season so far has been one of ups and downs, but the championship is still wide open and there is everything to play for."
Paul Di Resta (30, Scotland):
"Another disappointing weekend for me. Don't ask me what, but something is not quite right. We'll have to get to the bottom of it. The car simply does not feel like it should. This is a missed opportunity. But I know I can fight for wins and podiums, if we can get the car right. I firmly believe that my team and I can do it."
Lucas Auer (21, Austria):
"I made a minor error on my qualifying lap. That was my fault. But then in the race itself, I had strong pace and once again managed to finish in the points. My overtaking manoeuvre on Martin Tomczyk was certainly one of the best of my career to date. It's what makes racing so much fun. Congratulations also to Gary on securing his first podium of the season."
Daniel Juncadella (25, Spain):
"The race was a lot of fun - I advanced all the way from the back of the field to finish in P12. Unfortunately, you don't score any points for that. But anyway, my car was very good, so a big 'thank you' to my mechanics. After my mistake in qualifying, the car was in quite a damaged state, but they did an excellent job. In fact, I even set the fastest race lap. Respect, guys!"
Robert Wickens (27, Canada):
"I'm a bit lost for words. I had an excellent start and improved to third place. I was then able to go past Gary and take second place. He left me plenty of space - which was very fair of him. I looked very strong in the first stint and was even able to attack Jamie. However, I decided not to take too many risks. The puncture shortly before the end was a hard knock to take. We did a brilliant job this weekend and would really have earned these points."
Esteban Ocon (19, France):
"Qualifying went well again today. That's very positive. My start was OK and I didn't lose any positions. The first stint was also a decent one. Unfortunately, I didn't have the necessary pace to keep up with the other drivers in the second stint. Also, Antonio pushed me off the track, which ruined my race."
Christian Vietoris (27, Germany):
"Unfortunately, it was out of our hands in the end. It had been another good day up until that point. The team did a super job again, and our car was the fastest in the field all weekend. Too bad that once more, we were unable to score enough points. We were going great guns in the race, and I had the necessary pace, but it was all over after the puncture."
Maximilian Götz (30, Germany):
"My start was super. I pushed forwards and was well placed. I came in early for the undercut after that. I was behind several cars after my pit stop when I suddenly realised that something was wrong. The team then told me on the radio that a wheel was missing. That was obviously very unfortunate, because a weekend spoilt by two retirements is a huge disappointment. The car's performance was good, and more would have been possible, for sure."
Ulrich Fritz, Head of Mercedes-AMG DTM:
"Although I'm obviously delighted for Gary after his P2 finish, the end of the race was a huge disappointment for us. First we had to bring Robert into the pits with a puncture when he was lying second. After that, the best he could manage was P16. Then we lost Chris with the same problem when he was in P3. That's a bitter blow. We should definitely have got more out of today's race. Robert would have led the drivers' championship, and we also lost vital points in the team standings. It's a massive setback for the whole team, but we'll do our best to strike back in Moscow."
Source: Daimler AG