Mercedes’ Daniel Juncadella was left baffled by the post-race 30-second penalty that not only cost him a win in the opening DTM race at the Red Bull Ring but also saw him drop out of the points.
Juncadella had looked set to take his second win of the season, but the Spaniard was penalised for a restart infringement due to allegedly accelerating too soon in the Indy style side-by-side restart following a safety car period.
“I just don’t know what to say, I still don’t understand the reason why I received a penalty,” said Juncadella, who was eventually classified in 14th. “I wasn’t driving too slowly but doing around 80 km/h – the speed you should drive during a safety car re-start.
“It’s a pity I lost my second DTM victory as a result. I’m especially sorry for the guys, as they did a great job.
“The car was excellent, and I had a really great race. I made a mistake at the start and lost a place, but I got it back and had a lot of fun in the race. My pit stop was perfect, but it just wasn’t meant to be today.”
Mercedes-AMG’s Head of Motorsport for the DTM, Ulrich Fritz, conceded that it did appear that Juncadella made a mistake at the restart.
“Things then actually went well for us until the safety car restart,” added Fritz. “Unfortunately, it seems Dani then made a mistake and lost the win at the last moment.
“The fact that Mike Rockenfeller also waved René Rast through makes the result even more disappointing.
“Unfortunately, today was a bad-hair day.”
Victory for Audi’s Rast moved him into a clear third overall in the drivers’ standings as a result.