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Mixed fortunes for Mercedes juniors

Photo by Daimler AGMercedes-Benz’s two rookie drivers in the DTM, Daniel Juncadella and Pascal Wehrlein, endured mixed fortunes in the fourth round of the season at the Lausitzring.

Spaniard Juncadella scored his strongest result of the season with a drive from 13th on the grid to sixth by the chequered flag, ensuring that five of Mercedes’ six drivers finished in the points. It means the 2012 Formula 3 Euro Series champion has scored points in only his fourth race in the DTM.

“I would like to say a big thank you to my team,” said Juncadella, 22. “The car handled fantastically well today, and that gave me the necessary confidence to pull off some good overtaking manoeuvres. The team has put in some great work. Apart from the start, the race went well for me.”

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The young Spaniard admits that he felt nervous before the race, almost misjudging his position whilst lining up on the grid.

“To be honest, I was feeling a bit nervous ahead of the start,” added Juncadella. “I was just a bit too far forward on the grid and had to reverse back into the correct position. When the lights changed to green, I was still in reverse gear, which is why I was a bit slow off the mark. But after that, the first lap went well, and on the option tyres, I was able to attack hard. Our performance in the race at Spielberg was already strong, and now I’m looking forward all the more to the Norisring weekend.”

Wehrlein, RSC Mücke Motorsport’s other rookie driver, had looked likely to also score a strong result, as the young German was running strongly before suffering from suspension problems which dropped him to 17th in a race where every driver crossed the finishing line.

“It’s good to know that we have a car capable of winning,” admitted Wehrlein, 18. “For me, though, today’s race was one to forget. I had several contacts with other drivers at the start and felt a strong impact to the rear near-side that must have caused some damage, since the car was no longer driveable after that.

“The axle had definitely been knocked out of alignment because my car kept pulling to the left on the straights and was simply impossible to keep on track, especially when taking right-hand turns. I hope that things go better for me at the Norisring, but today’s strong showing by the whole team makes me feel quite optimistic in that respect.”

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