In the fourth event of the 2021 DTM season, the Mercedes-AMG Teams again scored podium results: in the first race on Saturday, Philip Ellis (SUI) managed to end up in second place with the WINWARD Mercedes-AMG GT3 as four further cars from Affalterbach finished the race in the top ten. In the race on Sunday, GruppeM Racing’s Daniel Juncadella (ESP) took the chequered flag in second while four fellow Mercedes-AMG drivers also scored valuable championship points. Mercedes-AMG extended its lead in the manufacturers’ standings.
With a strong line-up of nine Mercedes-AMG GT3s, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport went into the two DTM races at the Nürburgring. With Luca Stolz (GER) for Toksport WRT and Hubert Haupt (GER) for Haupt Racing Team (HRT), two guest drivers were also facing the high-class opposition this weekend. In an exciting and close-fought qualifying on Saturday morning, Philip Ellis got himself a strong initial position with the #57 WINWARD Mercedes-AMG GT3 and subsequently started the race from second place on the grid. Four further Mercedes-AMG drivers followed in the top ten. Among them, Stolz made an excellent start in his car with starting number 7, making up two positions right away and moving up into third behind Ellis in a turbulent opening part of the race.
Together with the race-leading rival, the two initially pulled clear from the rest of the field following an early safety car intervention. After their quick tyre changes on lap nine and ten respectively, Ellis and Stolz held on to their positions in the order, corrected for pit stops, in a commanding way. Then, on lap 22, guest driver Stolz made a decisive move as he overtook Ellis and another opponent, who had yet to make his pit stop, and claimed second place. However, Stolz had this position taken away on Saturday evening as he was given a post-race 30-second time penalty due to an incident during his pit stop. Eventually, Stolz ended up in ninth place. As a guest driver, he wasn’t eligible to score points anyway. Ellis was promoted to second place. Moreover, with Maximilian Götz (GER/4th place), Daniel Juncadella (ESP/8th place), Arjun Maini (IND/10th place) and Lucas Auer (AUT/11th place), no less than four further Mercedes-AMG GT3s racked up valuable points for the DTM championship standings.
Race 2: Juncadella secures second podium result
Following the mild temperatures and dry track conditions on Saturday, the weather in the Eifel had an additional challenge in store for the 23 drivers’ strong field with rain in qualifying on Sunday. In the 20-minute session, GruppeM Racing’s Daniel Juncadella (#8) coped best with the conditions, securing second place on the starting grid for the race. Maximilian Götz (HRT/#4) and Luca Stolz (Toksport WRT/#7) also got themselves into positions with a good perspective with fifth and sixth place respectively.
At the track that had dried out in the meantime, an action-packed race unfolded after the start. While Juncadela and Götz remained in the group at the front of the field, some drivers with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 had bad racing luck in the close pack behind them. For Maximilian Buhk (GER), Ellis as well as guest drivers Stolz and Haupt, the race came to an early end following damage to their cars. In the battle for the lead, however, Juncadella remained in contention in his car with starting number 8 also after his pit stop and some safety car interventions and left no doubt about his podium result throughout the race. After 55 minutes and three additional laps, the Spaniard crossed the finish line in second place. Like on Saturday, Maximilian Götz finished in fourth place and reduced his gap to the leader in the drivers’ standings to 33 points.
Auer (WINWARD) in sixth place, Maini (GetSpeed) in seventh and Vincent Abril (HRT) in ninth place collected valuable points for the championship in which Mercedes-AMG is leading the manufacturers’ standings after eight races with a margin of 42 points. For its next event, DTM is visiting the Red Bull Ring from 3-5 September.
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “On a weekend full of action with highs and lows, our teams stood firm in two difficult races and have scored valuable points for the championship. We are happy to have both extended our lead in the manufacturers’ standings and to have reduced the gap to the leader in the drivers’ standings. We are looking forward to a thrilling second half of the season!”
Daniel Juncadella, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing (#8): “I am altogether happy with the Sunday race. Both in qualifying and in the race, the performance was great. We wanted to show confidence and we managed to do so. I am happy for the team, this result is giving us a lot of confidence for the upcoming races. We can build on this, the next tracks should suit us.”
Philip Ellis, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD (#57): ”In the opening stages and after the restart on Saturday, I tried everything to work my way past the lead and I almost succeeded. At the end of the day, second place is in the books, another podium finish. That is something I can live with very well.”
Maximilian Götz, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT (#4): “Indeed, I could have scored some more points on Sunday, but eventually, I wasn’t quite able to close the gap to third place. As many opponents didn’t score any points during the second race, the weekend went accordingly well for us. Especially the second race was unbelievably hard-fought. It is clear that we are getting closer to the decisive phase of the season.”
Luca Stolz, Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport (#7): “I really enjoyed the first DTM race with Toksport WRT. The practice sessions already showed that we are well prepared. We are very happy that our performance was that good in the first race on Saturday right away. Of course, I know the track from ADAC GT Masters and I know the Mercedes-AMG GT3 anyway. However, there are differences in terms of tyres and the pit stop procedures. All in all, the pace in DTM is a bit higher.”