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Mike Rockenfeller fastest for Audi in second practice

Photo: ITR e.V.

With the sunshine overflowing in Styria, the second Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) practice session saw Mike Rockenfeller take the top spot at the Red Bull Ring, ahead of the first qualifying session of the weekend.

The Team Phoenix driver posted the best lap time of a 1:23.540 around the 4.326-km circuit, with team mate Timo Scheider and Mercedes’ Maximillian Götz completing the top three.

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After a delay of 20 minutes, due to the medical helicopter being deployed following a hefty three-car incident in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, the thirty-minute session saw 23drivers split by separated by 1.183 seconds.

First practice pace setter Tom Blomqvist was just 0.033 seconds behind the trio, as leading Audi driver Edoardo Mortara rounded out the top five. The Ingostadt outfit ended the session with six of their cars in the top ten, as Jamie Green, Adrien Tambay and Mattias Ekström were sixth, seventh and ninth respectively.

It was a better showing from HWA’s Daniel Juncadella, as the Spaniard was eighth fastest, 0.267 seconds off the pace, with Maxime Martin being the only other BMW driver in tenth place.

Audi’s Nico Müller set the initial benchmark with a 1:28.136, before the 2013 champion went 2.264 seconds quicker after four minutes.

The Swiss driver hit the low 1m 25s shortly after, just before Maxime Martin became the first driver to break into the high 1m 24s, as times continued to drop further throughout the session

Bruno Spengler led a BMW 1-2-3 after ten minutes, with Martin and Edoardo Mortara also getting into the mix. The Belgian went almost two tenths quicker than Blomqvist, with the pair swapping places at the top of the time sheets with Jamie Green.

Track evolution saw times drop below the pace set by Blomqvist in the first practice session, as drivers were clearly exploring both the limits of the track and beyond.

Rockenfeller was also getting faster, as the 2013 champion went fastest at the half way point, whilst Scheider made it two Audis in the top three, as Götz was again showing good pace in fourth.

Gary Paffett did not set a lap time, as the Briton would leave the pits with just 10 minutes left, before pulling off to the escape road after turn two with an electrical problem.

Both Scheider and Götz went faster than Blomqvist with approximately eight minutes of the session remaining, as Green put his RS5 DTM into fifth, just 0.180 seconds behind pace setter Rockenfeller.

Robert Wickens had one of the biggest moments exiting turn 7, with just five minutes of the session remaining, as the Canadian appeared to struggle with the handling of his C63 AMG.

Points leader Paul Di Resta was the third fastest Stuttgart driver, but could only get up as high as fourteenth, whilst Wickens ended up behind Christian Vietoris and Lucas Auer, who were 19th and 20th fastest.

Qualifying for race one starts at 15:25 local time (14.25 British Summer Time), and will last for twenty minutes.


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