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Pascal Wehrlein determined to “finish the race”


Image: Daimler AG

The mark of a champion is shown through a sign of determination, especially when it comes to 2015 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) drivers’ champion, Pascal Wehrlein.

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The 21-year-old, who secured the title the day before his birthday, battled throughout the final race of the year, finishing 21st with a heavily damaged car, before celebrating with the fans at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Wehrlein admitted that it was not an easy race at the drivers’ championship press conference on Sunday (18th October), having qualified 17th, but kept his resolve to take the chequered flag.

“I had a lot of contact after the start. I had no grip, no downforce, my steering wheel wasn’t straight anymore,” explained the Mercedes AMG Petronas test and reserve driver.

“My engineer asked me if I wanted to finish the race, but I wanted to finish the race and celebrate with the fans in the Mercedes grandstand and do some doughnuts.”

However, the young champion would end up beaching his C63 AMG DTM on the inside kerb of Sachskurve whilst continuing his celebrations, which prompted a very timely and humorous remark by Mattias Ekström in the championship press conference later on Sunday.

“That I can educate you in donuts, if you want. You only did 50 percent. It’s my birthday present for you, man,” said the Swede, which brought laughter from the international media in attendance.

When asked about how he felt regarding taking the drivers’ championship on the penultimate day of the DTM season, Wehrlein said that the feeling was “still amazing.”

“I’m looking forward to our evening event, as the whole team is really happy. Today, we achieved our second title, with the team championship with Christian (Vietoris) and myself. The whole team is just happy and it will be a big party tonight.”

He also classed his maiden DTM championship as the “biggest achievement” of his career, especially as it was with Mercedes.

“I’m sure that I won’t forget this for the rest of my life,” he admitted. “It’s because it is so special, because you think that where we came from, especially this year, when we didn’t have the best performance. But we almost always scored points. It was tight and very tough, but we did it.”

The speculation is rife on whether Wehrlein will be leaving the DTM after two years, and moving to Formula One for 2016. However, he gave no real indication as to the next step in his career.

“At the moment, no, as I don’t really know myself. I’ll be discussing about next year and then decide what will be the best option for me, whether it is F1 or to stay in DTM. But it’s about the party at the moment, and everything else will come later.”

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