Fastest time on Friday for Mike Rockenfeller
With his Audi RS 5 DTM, Mike Rockenfeller posted a time of 46.527 seconds at the 2.3 kilometres long Norisring in first free practice and ended up as the fastest driver of the day. In second free practice later in the afternoon, his French Audi Sport Team Phoenix teammate Loïc Duval topped the time sheets with 46.635 seconds, a little over one tenth slower than Rockenfeller’s time from the first session.
With two hairpins and a right-left S-combination, the Norisring looks relatively easy to drive, but drivers report it is notoriously difficult to find the right balance between speed on the straights and enough stability under braking for the corners. With the bumps on the straights, conditions are changing year after year and therefore, Friday’s two free practice sessions were quite important.
In both free practice sessions, drivers of the Audi Sport Team Phoenix locked out the first two places with Mike Rockenfeller ahead of Loïc Duval in first free practice and Duval ahead of Rockenfeller in the second session, the first session being faster of the two. “The car was good,” Mike Rockenfeller reported after first practice. “We tried two different settings and now we have to decide what is the best one. Overall the car reacted very well. It is a really tough track as we all know, but I am quite happy so far.”
Behind the two Phoenix Audi drivers, Bruno Spengler ended up third as the fastest BMW driver of the day with his time of 46.844 seconds from second free practice. “The team has done a great job improving the car from first to second free practice,” the Canadian commented. “It was good progress, I was relatively happy with the car in the second session. Audi still seems to be better, but we have improved. That was positive. Now, we have to see if we need to make some changes for tomorrow. If so, it will be only minimal as the basis of the car is good. Tomorrow, conditions will be different with much higher temperatures, so it can be that the handling will be completely different.”
Fastest R-Motorsport Aston Martin driver of the day was Daniel Juncadella with his time of 47.276 seconds in second practice. Earlier, his teammate Paul Di Resta had ended up eleventh in the first session. Meanwhile, Jake Dennis and Ferdinand von Habsburg didn’t complete any laps in second free practice. For Dennis, it was an engine problem that left him sidelined, for von Habsburg, it was a cooling issue with his car.