“I promise, there is more to come”
Disastrous home event, mulled home meeting, maximum penalty at the Spielberg – these were just some of the headlines in the media Lucas Auer had to cope with after the unpleasant weekend at the Red Bull Ring. The local hero travelled to Spielberg with the goal to really go for it but instead, the Austrian had to cope with a massive setback regarding his title ambitions. At the Red Bull Ring, the Mercedes-AMG driver dropped back to sixth position in the championship, 41 points behind championship leader Mattias Ekström. Theoretically he still has got the chance of turning the table but a glance at the results secured in the season to date make clear that realising this goal rather will be a ‘Mission Impossible’.
“I never focused on the title as so many things can happen. Everything is possible in DTM and therefore, I just will do my homework, now. After the Sunday race of the Hockenheim meeting we count the points. Then, we won’t have to calculate or guess. We just can take a look at the rankings,” Auer said in the run-up to the showdown at Hockenheim. In his conversation with DTM.com, his conclusion regarding the past race weekend is ruthlessly candid: “We generally weren’t competitive. We were just too slow. Yes, I scored points on Saturday by finishing eighth but then we mulled the Sunday qualifying. Therefore, I started from the very end of the grid. I don’t want to go into detail and get myself into trouble. But at the end of the day we were in a bad initial position and in the race I was pushed off the track.”
None the less, Auer enjoyed all the buzz around the weekend in Styria. A Q&A here, a selfie there... During the Austrian DTM weekend, ‘Luggi’ was even more in the limelight than he uses to be – but he didn’t regard meeting all this requirements as compulsory task but as a pleasure. “I am really delighted that DTM is prospering as it does, that the fans displayed a lot of interest and that I could add to the atmosphere. It was a cool weekend.”
His 2017 record features three wins and three poles, clearly more than in his first two years on the DTM grid. Having finished 23rd and 12th, in the previous two seasons, Auer travels to the season finale at Hockenheim as sixth-placed driver in the championship. His form curve is steep and the limited number of points he scored at Spielberg didn’t spoil his day.” I still am in a good mood. When you have got a first taste of the championship you quite obviously also want to win the trophy. But this doesn’t mean that I have to cope with a major disappointment, now. I am the youngest driver on the grid and improved season by season. I was absolutely competitive nearly throughout the season. If you look at my 2016 season you have to admit that 2017 was an outstanding year for me.”
Following his win in the season opener, Auer has got what it takes to also make it to the top step in the season finale at Hockenheim. In both races, four Mercedes-AMG drivers made it to the top 10. Therefore, you may expect the brand with the star to also deliver in the final two races of the season. “The circuit definitely suits us better than Spielberg’s. Our car generally benefits from the characteristics of the tarmac. But it arguably will be generally colder than it was on the season kick-off weekend. So, we have to wait and see how we will cope with it.”
At the end of the conversation, ‘Luggi’ also has got a message for friends and rivals: “Believe me, I am not yet done. There is more to come.”