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A difficult day at the Norisring for Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport were left wounded after the first Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters race at the Norisring this afternoon, as only two of their drivers were able to make it into the top ten at the finish.

Both Lucas Auer and Robert Wickens were forced to retire on the very first lap, decimating the Stuttgart ranks by a third, restricting the potential points haul that was on the cards.

Team BWT’s Edoardo Mortara was on for a top five finish, having battled with several drivers including Timo Glock, Jamie Green and Mike Rockenfeller. The Italian was hit from behind by the 2013 champion in what he classed as a “typical Norisring incident,” with the latter receiving a drive-through for his mistake.”

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“It was a tough day. We once again seemed to have a lot more problems in qualifying than in the race itself,” said the former Audi driver, who started way down the order in 14th and ended up eighth.

“Before the race, the conditions changed, which was a good opportunity for me to make good some positions. On the first lap, I moved up by seven or eight places. I was lucky to come through the chaotic start without sustaining any damage, and our pace in the wet was OK.”

With seven races completed so far, 2005 champion Gary Paffett is the only driver to score points in every one, but felt that the C63 AMG Coupé was not strong enough in the wet to fight back against the competition.

“It was obviously a chaotic start on wet weather tyres on a really wet track. OK, I didn’t crash, which was good, but I wasn’t in the right place and didn’t gain any positions,” said the 20-time race winner, who is currently sixth in the drivers’ standings on 55 points.

“When the track started to dry out, the car was a bit better. In the dry, I was pretty happy with it. But to be honest, at that time the race was already over. We now have to take a different approach and do a better job tomorrow.”

The other drivers also admitted that the Stuttgart artillery was not at its best, at a track where they have stolen a march on their rivals, but with another change in regulations, it hasn’t made their efforts any easier.

“This has been a very bad day for us. Losing two cars on the first lap was really tough. Then Edo was put into a spin while in a good position,” explained Head of DTM, Ulrich Fritz, as other issues included Paul Di Resta spinning around on the first lap, whilst Maro Engel came unstuck on the second formation lap.

“We need to take a closer look at our cars. Maybe they had targets on the back of them. There’s no other way of explaining it. We had definitely intended to do more today. We will certainly hit back tomorrow.”

Mercedes are now 70 points behind Audi Sport in the race for the manufacturers’ title, with all three brands split by just 108 after seven races. But they will aim to fight back after a initially great start over the previous three race weekends.


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