A proud Spaniard
Grande. Enorme. Enhorabuena. Great. Outstanding. Congratulations. Daniel Juncadella finally made his dream come true – after 64 races in DTM. On Sunday at the Norisring the 27-year old secured his first pole position and in the race, he used this grid position for clinching his first DTM podium by finishing third. Afterwards, the Spaniard was visibly proud.
Juncadella made his DTM debut on 05th May, 2013, at the Hockenheimring. For four years, Juncadella regularly had to settle for holding positions at the end of the grid. He finished 16th, 18th, 20th and 24th in the championship and consequently, Mercedes-AMG decided to not extend his deal for the 2017 season. Only the fact that Robert Wickens and Maro Engel retired from DTM offered him the opportunity to make his comeback in 2018. And the Spaniard even turned to a psychologist to turn the tables this time.
At Nuremberg’s street circuit, the always modest and reserved Iberian finally took centre stage. Afterwards, he picked his words cautiously: “In my previous DTM seasons I always had my problems in the qualifying sessions. I always asked myself: What is going on? Why don’t I get my act together? At the end of the day, it proved to also be a mental problem. I worked a lot with a psychologist and am feeling really good, now. I slightly improved my qualifying performance from session to session. To clinch the pole at the Norisring was just mega. This was something I even failed to achieve in Formula 3. It feels great.”
In 2016 Juncadella lost his all his self-esteem
Juncadella travelled to the Norisring as 18th and last in the championship but with the 18 points he scored in Nuremberg he now has got 27 points on his tally and leaped up to 11th. “The racing and everything else is very close, in this series. All the 18 drivers on the grid are extremely competitive. My fellow Mercedes-AMG drivers all held top-eight positions and I was last in the championship. And if you fail to deliver you lose your confidence. Sometime in the 2016 season I stopped believing in myself. And now I finally realised that I can do it. That’s giving me a lot of strength.” Even a collarbone fracture while mountain-biking in the run-up to the season couldn’t run Juncadella of the course, this year. “I just battled on. And now we are going to race at circuits that suit me well. I really am looking forward to Zandvoort.”
In honour of a friend that passed away Juncadella wore his shirt
The massive joy about his motor-racing success was mixed with the grief because of the loss of his best friend. Alex Libre lost his life in November 2017 in a motor-bike accident. In honour of his friend, Juncadella slipped over a T-shirt with Libre’s name and the #’33 on the podium, right after the presentation ceremony. “He contested motocross races with this shirt. His twin brother gave it to me and said: ‘You can put it on when you made it to the podium.’ Actually, I wanted to already wear it during the official press conference but unfortunately, doing so wasn’t possible. I often think about him and I credit this race to him.”