Mücke Motorsport’s Daniel Juncadella was on the sidelines at the beginning of the final Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) weekend of 2015, due to a bout of food poisoning, but would return to driving duties at second free practice.
Juncadella, who made his DTM debut with Mercedes in 2013, was impressed with reserve driver Esteban Ocon’s performance in the penultimate practice session of the season, as he spoke with TouringCars.net directly after the final race of the season.
“I think Esteban did really good, as people from outside just considered that he was last,” said the Spaniard, who completed his third season in the series.
“But I knew about the car, including how much fuel and what tyres it had, so he was on a similar pace as Pascal. I think he adapted really well to the car.”
Ocon was initially four seconds off the pace, but would eventually be just 1.559 seconds behind pace setter Jamie Green.
“Jamie was on a new tyre and using DRS, as well as low fuel,” explained Juncadella, who has secured seven top ten finishes this year.
“Esteban was on a 15-lap old set of tyres with DRS, but with high fuel. So running at the same pace as Pascal and Christian towards the end of the session was really good.”
It was a difficult end of the season for Spaniard Juncadella, who felt that the strategy call to be last across the finish line was “a mistake,” would end up 18th for the final race of the year.
“We all make mistakes. On my first flying lap, I saw five cars going out of the pit lane on their out lap, which really destroyed my second run, which meant I was 18th. Not my natural position, I would say, because I was expecting to be eighth, making the race completely different.”
The 24-year-old has been able to make up some places early on in races this season, and has been happy with being able to make the best of the new format, in terms of getting off the start with no issues.
“I have been getting really good starts this year. I even managed to pass two cars into turn one, before a lot of drivers going wide in turn one, and being the last race, nobody cared.
“I lost some positions on the first lap, which put me second from last. I enjoyed the race, as I made quite a few overtakes to finish 12th, which was a lot of fun, passing a few cars. It wasn’t the result I was expecting, but your try to do the best you can.”