Mercedes-Benz’s Christian Vietoris and Pascal Wehrlein were celebrating a ‘great race’ after the fifth round of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters at the Moscow Raceway on Sunday, having come through from the back of the grid to score important points.
Germans Vietoris and Wehrlein finished the race in seventh and eighth positions, having started the race from a lowly 21st and 19th on the grid respectively. Against the odds the duo managed to score points thanks to a timely safety car intervention.
Vietoris’ points finish was his first since scoring a surprise victory in the second round at Oschersleben. The 25-year-old believes that the race on Sunday was one of his strongest since joining the DTM at the start of 2011.
“That race was probably the best I’ve driven in my whole career,” admitted Vietoris. “We find ourselves in a tricky situation at the moment, which makes it all the more important to get the absolute maximum out of the car. We managed to do that today, thanks to the great job done by my team.
“We’re all pulling together, and I’m really proud to be a member of this crew. Now we’ll get back to work and fight hard to raise our performance in the remaining races.”
Youngster Wehrlein scored points for the second consecutive race, moving him up to 14th in the championship ahead of team-mate and former champion Paul di Resta.
“That was a good race,” said Wehrlein, who started from 19th on the grid. “My start went well, but unfortunately I got touched by another car [Mattias Ekström] at Turn 4. That cost me three places.
“The difference in performance between the option and prime tyres this time wasn’t all that great, which made it difficult to overtake other cars at the start of the race. Having said that, though, my option run was pretty satisfying.
“I had one stroke of luck with the safety car period coming at just the right moment for my race. Anyway, eighth place is a great result for me.”
The double points finish for Mercedes is in stark contrast to its performances at the previous round at the Norisring, where the marque scored victory with Robert Wickens and Wehrlein himself took his best-ever finish in the DTM to-date with fifth.
Mercedes’ Head of Motorsport Marketing and Communications Wolfgang Schattling therefore admits that there is still a long way to go before the manufacturer is back to being competitive on purpose-built race tracks.
“We knew before the race weekend that this type of circuit would not suit us as much as last time out at the Norisring,” explained Schattling. “However, after a tough qualifying, Christian and Pascal both produced a good performance and achieved a points-scoring finish. We will now continue to work hard to prepare for the next race in Spielberg.”