Mercedes-AMG Motorsport also secured a podium finish in the third event of the DTM season at Zolder in Belgium. Maximilian Götz (GER), driving for Mercedes-AMG Team HRT, secured second place in race two of the weekend thanks to a clever pit stop strategy. In the Saturday race, Götz’s teammate Vincent Abril (MCO) had contributed the best result by finishing fourth. With a total of six top ten results at the demanding circuit, Mercedes-AMG defended its lead in the manufacturers’ standings of the series.
For the Sunday race, Lucas Auer secured the best grid position of the Mercedes-AMG GT3s with the #22 Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD entry in a qualifying session that was stopped prematurely. Maximilian Götz started the race at the 4.011 kilometres long track a little bit further down the field, eighth on the grid. Auer also kept his position with a good perspective after the start until a safety car intervention neutralised the racing action. At the restart, the Austrian defended his position against the attacks from the opposition and, like Maximilian Götz in the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT car, opted for an early tyre change. For Götz in particular, this tactic paid off.
While Auer maintained his second place, Götz moved up in the order, corrected for pit stops. Taking into account the pit stops still to be made by the opposition, he found himself in third place. Virtually in second and third place, Auer and Götz started the hunt for the race leader. Until the closing stages, the duo charged to the front and eventually crossed the finish line in second and third place. However, race control imposed a penalty on Auer that added up to ten seconds because of an infringement during the pit stop. As a result, Götz ended up second in the final classification while Auer was classified fifth. After his third podium result of the current season, Götz is third in the drivers’ standings. For Mercedes-AMG Motorsport, it was the fifth podium result after six races of the 2021 DTM. Subsequently, Mercedes-AMG remains in the lead of the series’ manufacturers’ standings.
Race 1: four Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the top 10
The race weekend at Circuit Zolder had started in a good way for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. After fastest times in the two free practice sessions by Maximilian Götz and Daniel Juncadella (ESP), Götz missed out on pole position in qualifying on Saturday morning by merely two hundredths of a second. As a result of his victory in the previous race at Lausitzring, he had to run in the race on Saturday afternoon with success ballast. The 25 kilograms of additional weight showed their effect at the start and Götz lost positions in the turbulent opening stage of the race. After a safety car intervention due to a collision of multiple cars, the #5 car driven by Vincent Abril (MCO) was the best Mercedes-AMG GT3 in fourth place. Right behind were Philip Ellis (SUI) with the #57 Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD car and Götz with the #4 entry. The trio came in for the tyre change at an early stage and the Mercedes-AMG Team HRT in particular put in quick pit stops compared to the opposition. As a result, Abril still had the podium positions in sight in the order corrected for pit stops. After a race duration of 55 minutes and three laps, Abril finished in fourth place. With Götz and Ellis in seventh and eighth place and Lucas Auer ninth with the #22 Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD car, a total of four cars from Affalterbach ended up in the top 10.
Maximilian Götz, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT (#4): “Today has showed once more that there is always something in store in motorsport. Also with a poor initial position, you have to fight until the end. Today, we did it very well, the strategy was right. and the pace was there. What worked against us yesterday worked for us today.”
Lucas Auer, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD (#22): “From my perspective, it was a positive Sunday. We have massively improved compared to Saturday. P2 in qualifying and also crossing the finish line in second in the race, that is quite decent. Congratulations also to Marco Wittmann. I have been putting him under pressure all the time, but he simply didn’t make any mistakes. About the time penalty against us, I can’t say anything, that is something for other people to decide.”