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Paul di Resta praises Lucas Auer for Norisring defence

Paul di RestaPaul di Resta has praised his Mercedes stable-mate Lucas Auer for helping him to secure a fourth-place finish in the second Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters race around the Norisring.

Di Resta started the race from the front row of the grid, but lost out to the Audi of Nico Müller at the start of the race. There was also contact from the fast-starting Mattias Ekström at the first corner, although the knock failed to do as much damage to Di Resta as it did to the Audi driver’s car.

The former champion lost out to BMW’s Maxime Martin in the final third of the race, whilst Auer, who had been looking likely to pass Di Resta in the pit stop phase, then ultimately lost out with his own pit stop.

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With little chance of catching the leaders, Auer ultimately settled in to fifth behind Di Resta, allowing the Scot to collect crucial championship points which leave him as the best-placed Mercedes driver in the standings, just five points adrift of the top.

“Qualifying went well, but then after that, it was a tough day for me, unfortunately,” said Di Resta, who followed up on his podium finish on Saturday. “I lost a lot of downforce on the rear of the car after the contact with [Mattias] Ekström. That meant I had to fight the whole race. Luckily, I was subsequently able to keep out of trouble.

“The pit stop was super, and Lucas helped me to defend myself against drivers from opposing teams attacking from behind. Many thanks to him for that. Such moments can decide championships.”

By finishing in fifth in race two, Austrian Auer moved into the top ten championship standings for the first time. He admits that he was happy to help Di Resta, even if it meant he could not take the fight to the front.

“We worked well again today,” added Auer. “It’s incredibly tough in the DTM to perform equally well on both Saturday and Sunday. We managed to do that, though, here and last time out at the Lausitzring. That pleases me, because qualifying is half the battle in the DTM.

“I helped Paul in the race and defended him, which enabled my team-mate and Mercedes to secure vital points in the end.”

Mercedes-AMG’s Head of DTM Ulrich Fritz also praised Auer for his strong team spirit in the race, which ultimately saw just two of the C63 drivers finish inside the top ten.

“That definitely wasn’t the race weekend that we had hoped for,” admitted Fritz, whose marque left the Norisring without a win. “As early as the first lap, Paul’s car was damaged in a collision, which left him unable to compete for a podium finish.

“Lucas did a superb job, protecting Paul to the extent he could, so that we still emerge from this with a P4 and a P5.

“Without the shield provided by Lucas, Paul would have been defenceless against the pursuing pack. So I have the greatest respect for Lucas.”

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