Auer: „Sparks will fly“
Nobody on the DTM grid currently has to cope with a bigger streak of bad luck than Lucas Auer. In the recent past, the Mercedes driver was involved in several incidents. Not only due to this fact, ‘Luggi’ was the only of the 18 DTM drivers who didn’t score a single point in the last four DTM races. In the last five championship rounds, the Austrian was pushed off the track three times. The 24-year old definitely is down to his luck. “That’s motor racing, you just have to accept it,” Auer says amazingly calmly. “It generally is slightly all haywire at me. This season is character forming for me. I was at the front of the field so often but in the end I wasn’t able to make use of it. The Nürburgring was another race meeting where I didn’t make it. But I’ve got the pace.”
Despite these incidents, Auer – who turned 24 this Tuesday, still holds seventh position in the championship with 110 points on his tally. Particularly in the qualifying sessions he delivers in great style. He made it to the top three five times, thus scoring a total of 10 points. Currently, only fellow Mercedes-AMG driver and championship leader Gary Paffett scored more qualifying points (19). Furthermore, Auer secured four podiums, just as many in last year. In 2017, however, three of these podiums were race wins. A result he failed to secure in the season to date.
On the Sunday of the Nürburgring weekend he rocketed away from fifth position on the grid to second in turn one. “I started in second gear and had – other than all the others – no wheel spin. That was something I did better. I had planned to do it but was slightly afraid of testing it. But then I said to myself: ‘Make or break’,” he describes his risky approach. But on the following lap, BMW’s Timo Glock took a chance, risked a too optimistic overtaking manoeuvre at the end of the home straight, went over the curbs at the inside of the corner, slightly lost it and pushed Auer off the track.
Auer accepts Glock’s excuse
“I didn’t really understand what was going on, at this moment,” reveals Auer. “I thought this can’t really happen. He excused and that’s okay. But you can’t turn the time back. You can’t help it, I have to keep on going for it. With seven more laps to go he had to retire due to brake problems. “The car was really broken and I said to myself: ‘Stop driving before you lose it and crash on the final laps.’ The car had lost its underbody and without it, driving our cars is virtually impossible.”
Auer encountered similar close encounters at Brands Hatch and Misano. In Italy, BMW driver Joel Eriksson pushed him off the track and in race two, held in difficult conditions, he spun into the gravel and had to retire later. “This was hundred percent my fault. What else can I say? Prior to the Misano meeting, in the Sunday race held in England’s Kent County, he was the victim of Audi’s Robin Frijns. “I think Robin misjudged the situation and therefore touched my car. Due to this incident we booth spun and I rejoined the race in last position. Really bad but I had a good pace, afterwards,” said Auer who battled his way back up to eighth position to at least add four points to his tally.”
“The Red Bull Ring recently used to be a difficult place for us”
“Therefore, I particularly look forward to my home race. Should we get our act together we definitely are among the top favourites. And I wouldn’t mind. To date we have been competitive. On the other hand, Spielberg used to be a difficult place for us, in recent years. Therefore, I just can’t wait for finding out how we will deliver this year,” says the Austrian who finished eighth in last year’s Saturday round in Austria and was hit by Bruno Spengler on Sunday, resulting in damages on his Mercedes-AMG. Will the tide be turning just in Styria? “That would be mega. The Red Bull Ring is a fantastic racetrack. The character of the circuit allows for great motor racing. The racing will be closer and spectacular and sparks will fly.”