Four Audis the quickest in test one
Behind the wheel of his Audi A4 DTM, Mattias Ekström succeeded in setting the fastest lap time in the first DTM test session at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz. The reigning DTM Champion lapped the new, shorter version of the circuit (3.410 instead of 4.534 kilometres) in 1:17.561 minutes, with DTM rookie Pierre Kaffer in his 2004 spec Audi A4 DTM setting the second fastest lap time, just 0.067 seconds slower than Ekström’s. Christian Abt and Frank Stippler secured third and fourth places respectively for the Ingolstadt based manufacturer.
Jamie Green was the fastest of the Mercedes-Benz works drivers. The Briton took his AMG-Mercedes C-Class to fifth place by setting a 1:18.173-minute lap, 0.612 seconds behind Ekström. Local hero Stefan Mücke completed 28 laps and secured seventh position, while Laurent Aiello – the fastest of the Opel drivers - finished 15th, in his Opel Vectra GTS V8.
The previously long straight ends now halfway between Turn 1 and Turn 2 of the tri-oval where a new left-hander means a major change regarding the DTM circuit’s characteristic. Due to this change, both the teams and DTM’s exclusive tyre partner, Dunlop, were extremely busy testing in session one.
“Only during the course the race weekend, the teams will have the chance of gaining experience regarding the new layout,” explained Enzo Scaramella, Dunlop’s Manager Motorsport. “Quite obviously, this means that our squad will also have to work hard to cope with the new situation. At the end of the day, new track layouts always represent new challenges for the tyres.”
The first prognosis of the tyre experts: as the first half of the lap has lost two longish straights, the tyres have less time to cool down. “Most definitely, the tyre temperatures will be higher than the ones experienced in recent years,” says Scaramella. “That’s an area we will have to have an eye on.” It’s a well-known fact that the exclusive DTM spec of the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx possesses ample performance reserves, thus making sure that the DTM drivers will be safe when taking their cars to the limits at the EuroSpeedway, but “it delivers its ideal performance between 80° and 100° C,” reveals Scaramella. “Therefore, you must account for the altered conditions when it comes to finding the optimum set-up.”