The results of the Mercedes-AMG Team Mücke Motorsport on the traditional circuit in Zolder, Belgium, for the third DTM weekend are mixed. After bad luck in Saturday’s race, Maximilian Buhk was able to make up ground on Sunday with the #18 Mercedes-AMG GT 3, which is equipped with the Space Drive steer-by-wire system and does not require any mechanical connection at all between the steering unit and the steering gearbox, and finished in 11th place, narrowly missing out on the points classification. The track in Zolder is regarded as a demanding “old school” track that does not forgive any mistakes.
In Saturday’s race, an early collision put the brakes on the 28-year-old from from Hamburg – who unexpectedly came on as a substitute for the prevented British driver Gary Paffett for the third time this year. After a good start from 13th place, Buhk proved his ability with the Mercedes-AMG GT3, which is equipped with Space Drive technology from Schaeffler Paravan, and quickly worked his way up to 10th place in the field. The restart, following a collision of four cars, was also perfect. However, he was sent off the track in the first corner and thus ended up at the rear of the field with a damaged front splitter and inevitably turned into the pits with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 shortly before the end of the race. Qualifying on Saturday made it abundantly clear how close the field was. Although only a good half second separated him from pole position, Buhk had to settle for 13th on the grid.
On Sunday, Maximilian Buhk delivered a strong race. Unfortunately, he was unable to convert the result into points. Starting from 9th on the grid, the Mercedes-AMG only finished eleventh despite good pace and a perfect pit stop, narrowly missing out on the points. After the start of the race, it looked as if a push towards the top ranks would be possible in the sixth race of the season. The Space Drive driver had a strong start and was able to move ahead in the first race laps and after a short safety car phase. Before the start of the mandatory pit stops, he was already in seventh place.
An early pit stop on lap 11, which was completed flawlessly by the Mücke crew with a standing time of 8.22 seconds, appeared to be the appropriate strategy at this point. However, Buhk was stuck in heavy traffic afterwards and with a group of five, while three opponents at the front chose a different strategy and the late changers were able to get back in front of the group. Bad luck for Buhk and the Mercedes-AMG Team Mücke Motorsport, who despite a good performance could only cross the finish line in eleventh place.
Peter Mücke, Team Principal Mercedes-AMG Team Mücke Motorsport: “In the race on Sunday, I could have done a lot better, top 10 somewhere, realistically seventh or eighth place. That was actually what I would have expected. But things turned out differently because Ellis held up the traffic and allowed those who were on a different strategy to drive away. The car was really good, and the pit stop was perfect. The Space Drive steering works absolutely flawlessly. The drivers don’t notice any difference. But we will continue to work so that they do notice a difference – in a positive way.”
Maximilian Buhk, AMG Driver: “On Saturday, after a good start, it was a shame that I got into a tangle in Tern 1 after the restart, damaged my splitter in the process and then finished last – actually a race to forget. On Sunday we were lucky with the red flag at least in qualifying and were able to start the race from 9th place on the grid. It’s a shame that we only finished 11th. Points would have been possible. That’s just the way it is in Zolder, you don’t overtake so easily. The steering makes driving very pleasant here. When you drive over the curbs, especially in the second sector, you actually have hardly any movement in the steering wheel. That was very pleasant, even if there is no time advantage. I’m glad I got another chance to prove myself in the DTM.”
In just under two weeks, the fourth DTM round will continue on the Grand Prix circuit at the Nürburgring, with one race each on Saturday and Sunday.
Source. Mücke Motorsport/Photo. Gruppe C
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