Sometimes brilliant, sometimes mat
The best or nothing. The current Mercedes promotional claim suits very well to sum up the DTM season for the Stuttgart-based brand so far. At times, the three-pointed star on the bonnet shone brilliantly, but at other times, it seemed mat and bleached out. Only seldom, there was something in between. The season started in a spectacular way. Lucas Auer won the first race at Hockenheim from pole-position. For the Austrian, it was only his second race win in the DTM. With newcomer Edoardo Mortara (fourth), Gary Paffett (seventh) and Paul Di Resta (eighth), four of the six Mercedes-AMG drivers made it into the top eight. While Auer (99 points) secured a fixed spot in the top three of the drivers’ standings with yet another victory at the Lausitzring at the latest, together with Audi drivers Mattias Ekström (113 points) and René Rast (112), the rest largely was further down. At times, however, there were moments of considerable note. Next to Auer, the only other one currently featuring in the top ten is Gary Paffett (61). .
Next to ‘Luggi’ as a consistent performer, Paul Di Resta and Maro Engel achieved magic moments for Mercedes-AMG. Saturday at the Hungaroring produced a surprising result. From 13th place on the grid, Di Resta charged to victory after an early pit stop. It was a story worthy of a film script: Di Resta’s last victory to date was at Hockenheim at the 2016 DTM season opener. His son Leo was born just before. This time, his wife had given birth to daughter Perla on Monday prior to the race, and Di Resta was victorious yet again. For Engel, victory in the second race at Moscow Raceway brought him on cloud number nine. It was the biggest surprise of the season so far. The series’ returnee worked his way up from the penultimate grid position to his first-ever DTM race win. In total, he had to wait for this moment of joy to arrive for 52 races. In the nine previous races, his best results were a pair of tenth places and a ninth place, but on this day, time had come for the 29-year-old.
These unique achievements have the result that Mercedes-AMG is the only manufacturer to have had three different winners already this season. And the brand from Stuttgart is the only team in the DTM with all six drivers having been on the podium at least once already this year, Next to Auer, Di Resta and Engel, Robert Wickens scored a second and third place, Edoardo Mortara one third position and Gary Paffett one second-place finish. Nevertheless, Mercedes-AMG has the lowest total of podium finishes (9) after BMW (10) and Audi (11). Moreover, Wickens also convinced in qualifying next to double pole-sitter Auer. Next to a pair of second grid positions, the Canadian also secured the third pole for Mercedes-AMG.
In the manufacturers’ standings, Mercedes-AMG currently is 80 points down on Audi and only 33 points ahead of BNW. In the teams’ standings, the Auer and Mortara team BWT Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Team is currently third with 140 points behind the Audi Sport Team Rosberg (199 points/Green and Rast) and Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline (149/Ekström and Müller). The teams Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Mercedes me (119/Paffett and Wickens) and Silberpfeil Energy Mercedes-AMG Motorsport (82/Engel and Di Resta) are following in fifth and seventh place. And in spite of its announcement to withdraw from the DTM at the end of 2018, the fast-moving stars remain eager to be successful. “This and next season, we will do everything to bow out of the DTM with as many titles as possible,” head of motorsport Toto Wolff emphasises.