After 67 starts in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, Spain’s Daniel Juncadella was all smiles at the post-race press conference at Brands Hatch, following his consumate drive to victory on the first race of the weekend.
The Mercedes driver admitted he was preparing for this weekend through his home simulator for several weeks, which helped towards his efforts around the 3.908-km circuit, seeing him take victory ahead of Augusto Farfus by nearly eight seconds at the finish.
“Simulators are very helpful nowadays, but I have one at home, and use it lots of fun,” said the 27-year-old, who was not sure if his collarbone injury would put him on the sidelines.
“You get very precise and turn into a kind of perfectionist, and today I was focusing on delta lap times all the time, trying to be consistent, which has been a strong point of my career.
“I knew after the really strong pitstop when I had got in front of Luggi [Auer] that I had a really good chance to win it, and then just started to keep looking out front and bring it home.”
The Spaniard was happy to say that the race win this afternoon was “the best day in my DTM career,” after a turnaround following some tough years in the series.
“It’s great. I’ve been through quite a lot this year. We have reserve drivers in DTM and it could have been an easy choice for the team to ask me to sit out for half the season.
“So to be racing, taking my first podium at Norising were very special.”
Fellow Mercedes driver Gary Paffett, who extends his lead in the standings to 35 points over Paul Di Resta, said to TouringCars.Net after the race that it was a well-deserved triumph for Juncadella.
“Dani’s a really great guy, and I don’t wish for anyone else to win a race more than him. He’s really deserved this, worked very hard for the team over the years that he has been here.
“It’s tough coming back after a break, and he’s not had the easiest of times. He’s a top driver, and knows this circuit better than other people, having raced here in GTs.
“He showed that today and used it to destroy everyone today and it was great to see. Congratulations to him.”