Preview: Excitement and momentum shifts to Lausitz

Preview: Excitement and momentum shifts to Lausitz

Photo: ITR e.V

Just two weeks after the first race weekend of the 2018 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season at Hockenheim, the series now heads to the Brandenburg region, with Euro Speedway Lausitz being the backdrop for this weekend.

In terms of the drivers’ standings, it is just one point between leader Timo Glock and Britain’s Gary Paffett, who entertained the crowds with their hard-fought, but fair battle on Sunday’s race, which saw the former triumph.

Recent successes at the circuit itself have been in favour of both Mercedes and Audi, with BMW not having taken a victory there since they returned in 2012, having eventual 2012 champion Bruno Spengler hitting the top step.

Audi have found the change in technical regulations for this season to be an initial struggle, but could prove to be a powerhouse at the now DEKRA-owned facility.

Previous winners for Ingolstadt at Lausitz have included Miguel Molina and Jamie Green, whilst Stuttgart’s impressive record has seen both Paffett and five-time DTM champion Bernd Schneider take three wins each over the years.

But with the combination of lower downforce, technical sections and the customary banking, the drivers, teams and machinery will be under more strain this time, which will also have a change of layout, which has not been used since 2004.

“We made a great start to the season but will now have to up our game at the Lausitzring, especially at a track that has been so well suited to us in general,” said Head of Mercedes AMG DTM, Ulrich Fritz, who feels slightly cautious towards the forthcoming two races.

“We don’t yet know what effect the changes made to the car will have out on track, and another thing is that the track we’ll be racing on is going to be different to the one used in previous years.”

Audi Sport head Dieter Gass gives the reasoning behind the choice that the DTM governing body made to switch the layout for this year’s running.

“It’s for spectators to see more overtaking manoeuvres than in the past. Thanks to the large grandstand, the atmosphere at the Lausitzring has always been unique. If the two races turn out to be just nearly as good as the ones at the Hockenheim season opener, they’ll be rocking the fans in their seats there as well.”

“The breathtaking battle between Timo Glock and Gary Paffett, and the incredible season-opener at Hockenheim in general, are obviously still in everyone’s minds,” stated BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt, as that battle saw six changes for the lead over a distance of 50 kilometres.

“That is the kind of motorsport for which the DTM is known. That is what we want to offer the fans every weekend. Our next opportunity to do so is at the Lausitzring.

“Unlike at Hockenheim, nobody has tested at the Lausitzring with the 2018 DTM cars. The longer layout is also new to everyone so it promises to be a weekend full of surprises, hopefully with some exciting battles like the one between Timo and Gary.”

The racing is set to be just as close and exciting at Lausitz this weekend, with the team and constructor standings being currently led by Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Petronas and Mercedes itself heading towards the two races.

DTM Lausitzring timetable (All times CEST – BST + 1)

Friday 18 May
Free Practice 1: 1700-1730 (30 minutes)

Saturday 19 May
Free Practice 2: 0915-0945 (30 minutes)
Qualifying 1: 1110-1130 (20 minutes)
Race 1: 1330-1430 (55 minutes plus one lap)

Sunday 20 May
Free Practice 3: 0900-0930 (30 minutes)
Qualifying 2: 1125-1145 (20 minutes)
Race 2: 1330-1430 (55 minutes plus one lap)