Following on from a fair share of ups and downs this season, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport are looking ahead to another challenging circuit this weekend, as the halfway point of this year’s Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters campaign heads off to Russia.
Last season saw the Stuttgart brand take a 1-2-3-4 finish in the first race of the weekend, with Robert Wickens taking the win ahead of Paul Di Resta, Gary Paffett and Maximilian Götz.
“In Moscow, we’ve seen just about everything in recent years,” said Head of DTM, Ullrich Fritz, who classed the top four lockout in the first race as one of the highlights of having raced at the 3.931-km circuit, despite inconsistent performances there.
“We are working hard to cut a fine figure in both races and to maintain our prospects in all the championships at this halfway point in the season. I’m also hopeful that we can build on our performance of the previous weekend and lay on some spectacular racing again.
“We can obviously do without an accident such as the one that happened to us at the Norisring, but I would be very happy to see another finish like the one in the last race. And of course, with the same outcome for us.”
BWT’s Lucas Auer, who has now been announced as one of the test drivers for the Force India Formula 1 team after the Hungarian Grand Prix in just over two weeks’ time, is just two points behind current points leader Mattias Ekström coming into this round.
“The Moscow Raceway is incredibly challenging. It has a little bit of everything. The two qualifying sessions will clearly be the key,” admitted the 22-year-old, whose focus is just to approach each race weekend as it comes.
“Whoever comes out of those ahead already has the race half sewn up. It’s also very important, though, that we identify a setup in free practice that isn’t going to put the tyres under too much stress.”
After the heavy crash at Norisring whilst battling countryman Jamie Green for position in the second race, Gary Paffett is ready to get back behind the wheel in the rebuilt #2 C63 AMG Coupé this weekend.
“The guys have done an incredible job getting another chassis ready for me for Moscow, because mine is not in great shape and it will take a long time to repair,” said the Briton, who admitted that he was ‘lucky’ to emerge from the crash involving himself and Mike Rockenfeller without further injury
“Obviously, it wasn’t the best weekend at Norisring, but we are really prepared for Moscow. I’m looking forward to what will hopefully be a good weekend. I like the track and had pole position there last year.”
One of three drivers that have yet to race at Moscow Raceway is DTM returnee Maro Engel, who has endured two difficult weekends and is looking to get back to scoring points for the Stuttgart marque.
“I’ve never been to Russia before, so I’m looking forward to it. I have heard from many of the drivers that the layout is very interesting and offers everything a racetrack needs,” said the 31-year-old, who has taken two top ten finishes so far this year. ”
“Personally, I would like to get back in the groove this weekend and finish in the points. I’ve had problems in this respect over the last two weekends for various reasons.”