Wehrlein was the most assiduous driver, Spengler the quickest
The general test was successful. Audi, BMW and Mercedes-AMG successfully used the four days of testing at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg to extensively prepare for the season kick-off (04th to 06th May at the same circuit). From Monday to Thursday, the 18 drivers completed a total of 4.629 laps, representing a mileage of 21,173 kilometres.
The fastest lap of the week was set by Bruno Spengler when he crossed the line on Wednesday in 1:32.089 minutes. “The car felt good. In consideration of the short period of time we did a great job and now I’m looking forward to the first race,” said the Canadian. Meanwhile, Pascal Wehrlein proved to be the mile-cruncher of the tests. The Mercedes-AMG ace did 319 laps, thus covering 1,459 kilometres. On Monday, the 2015 champion got behind the wheel of a DTM car for the first time since he returned to the series. “Readapting from Formula One to DTM didn’t take a long time. My feelings definitely were positive and as I see it, Hockenheim may come.”
One of the both fastest and most assiduous drivers was Audi’s Robin Frijns. The Dutch rookie completed a total of 303 laps (1,386 kilometres) and with his 1:32.134-minute lap he set the second fastest lap of the entire tests, just 45 thousandths of a second slower than Spengler. “The tests were promising,” he said. “After the rain in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday the track turned out to be the fastest on Wednesday morning. A situation I benefited from during my qualifying simulations. But the long-runs as well as the starting and pit stop practice also proved to be helpful,” said Frijns.
The smallest numbers of laps were completed by Daniel Juncadella (176) and René Rast (194). About a week prior to the tests, the Spaniard suffered a partial collarbone fracture in a mountain-bike accident. Nonetheless, the Mercedes-AMG driver did 121 laps on Tuesday right away. “I could complete many laps without being feeling pain,” he revealed. “It’s great that I’m so fit just 10 day after my accident. For me, that was the biggest news of the tests.” Due to a gearbox problem on his Audi, champion Rast could do just 79 laps on Tuesday – but on Thursday he compensated for his low Tuesday mileage by setting the fastest lap time of the day (1:32.459 minutes).
The tests already demonstrated that the field will be extremely well-balanced, this year. As the downforce of the DTM cars has been reduced by a regulation change, the gaps between the lap times of the drivers are even smaller than ever. The competitiveness on the grid is enormous. In addition to Spengler (BMW) and Rast (Audi), BMW’s Marco Wittmann (1:32.378 minutes) and Gary Paffett (Mercedes-AMG, 1:32.759) also set fastest lap times of a day. This means that each of the manufacturers was the quickest on one day at least – and 16 of the 18 drivers were less than a second slower than Spengler, the quickest. Only Edoardo Mortara (Mercedes-AMG/1:33.095 minutes) and Loïc Duval (Audi/1:33.418) failed to achieve this goal.
Now the teams have to analyse the gathered data and hone the cars for the season kick-off. Every vehicle will be extensively checked and equipped with the race engine for the 2018 season. And on 04th May at Hockenheim, when the engines will begin to roar through the tradition-rich stadium sector for the first time this year, you will begin to find out who was most successful when it came to the preparations.
Four days results at a glance