At the start of the second half of the DTM season at the Red Bull Ring, Mercedes-AMG further extended his lead in the manufacturers’ standings. With three podium results by Maximilian Götz and Philip Ellis a total of eighth further top ten results, Mercedes-AMG was the most successful manufacturer at the Austrian Grand Prix circuit. The performance and sports car brand continued its successful weekend in the GT World Challenge Europe. At the Nürburgring, the #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP car and the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT entry finished in second and third place.
In first qualifying at the Grand Prix track in Styria, the drivers of the Mercedes-AMG Teams already got themselves into a good initial position for the opening race of the weekend. Maximilian Götz (GER) started from second place, followed by his fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Arjun Maini (IND) in third place and Philip Ellis in fifth. Vincent Abril (MCO) and Maximilan Buhk (GER) rounded out the top ten on the starting grid with ninth and tenth place respectively.
Right after the start of the first race, Götz already managed to pull away from the rest of the field together with the leader. Philip Ellis moved up from sixth to fourth place in the first corners. With an early pit stop, Ellis managed to move ahead of Arjun Maini by an undercut and claimed third place. Maximilian Götz, meanwhile, gradually extended his margin over the drivers behind him. Towards the end of the race, he reduced the gap to the race leader, but was not in a position anymore to mount the decisive challenge and only just missed out on his second win of the season. Until the final lap, there was an intense and exciting duel for the final podium slot in which Philip Ellis eventually had the upper hand with the #57 Mercedes-AMG GT3. He crossed the finish line in third place, securing his third podium finish of the current season. Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed’s Arjun Maini scored his best result of the season to date by finishing sixth after a strong showing at the Red Bull Ring. Lucas Auer (AUT) and Vincent Abril in eighth and ninth place rounded out the good overall result for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport.
For the second race on Sunday, Maximilian Götz and Philip Ellis again put themselves in good grid positions with fourth and fifth place respectively, closely followed by Lucas Auer in sixth place on the grid. With Vincent Abril (P8) and Arjun Maini (P10), two further Mercedes-AMG drivers started the race in the top ten. After the start, all drivers in the front-running group defended their positions. On lap three, they benefited from a puncture for the driver in third place. That enabled Götz to move up into third place. The #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 pulled away from its rivals lap after lap. However, because of the additional weight that had be taken on board following the second place from the previous day, Götz wasn’t able to get closer to the two cars in front, crossed the finish line in third place and secured the third podium result for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport at this DTM race weekend. With Philip Ellis (P4), Lucas Auer (P5), Arjun Maini (P7), Vincent Abril (P8) and Maximilian Buhk (P9), five further Mercedes-AMG GT3s finished in the point-scoring positions. As a result, Mercedes-AMG is heading home as the most successful manufacturer of the weekend, further extending its points’ lead in the manufacturers’ standings. On 18 and 19 September already, the 11th and 12th race of the high-class GT3 series will be held at Assen in The Netherlands.
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “The second half of the season is starting just as successfully as the first has ended. The teams have shown a good performance and have been able to collect many important points, both for the manufacturers’ standings as well as for the drivers’ and teams’ standings. Once again, we have managed to extend our lead in the manufacturers’ standings and to reduce our gap to the leader in the drivers’ standings. We are looking forward to the next races.”
Maximilian Götz, #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT: “I am very happy with second and third place this weekend. The car was really good and the team has done a good job. In the drivers’ standings, I have been able to close up to the leader even more. We are very happy with this weekend. It can go on like this in Assen.”
Lucas Auer, #22 Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD: “The atmosphere in my home race here was absolutely legendary. That certainly was my highlight of the season so far. In the second race, things were going slightly better for me. I am very happy with P5 as I was slightly lacking the pace to really attack at the front.”
Arjun Maini, #36 Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed: “With P6 and P7, we can be quite happy. We have scored points in both races. At the start of both races, there were some difficult situations. However, the team ahs done a great job and we were able to make up a bit with the pit stops. We think that we still have room for improvement and we hope to implement the performance in the next races.”
GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup: second and third place for Mercedes-AMG at the Nürburgring
In combined qualifying on Sunday morning, the Mercedes-AMG Teams AKKA ASP and HRT already got themselves into promising positions for the fourth round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup. With the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Raffaele Marciello (ITA), Felipe Fraga (BRA) and Jules Gounon (FRA) set the second-fastest combined average lap time around the over five kilometres long Nürburgring Grand Prix track and thus qualified on the front row of the grid. Luca Stolz, Nico Bastian and Maro Engel (all GER) drove the #4 Mercedes-AMG HRT car to fourth place on the grid.
The #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Marciello behind the wheel made a good start, defending second place without any problems and keeping up with the car in the lead. HRT driver Stolz initially dropped back to fifth place with the #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3, but remained close to the front-running group.
The #20 SPS Performance car had a perfect start into the three-hour race. Dominik Baumann (AUT) worked his way up through the field with his Mercedes-AMG GT3 and improved from 36th on the grid to 21st position at the end of the opening third of the race, temporarily even taking the lead in the Pro-Am class. Although the team was unable to maintain this top position until the end, but with the #69 RAM Racing car, another Mercedes-AMG GT3 finished on the class podium.
Meanwhile, the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT car benefited from an early tyre and driver change. Engel, who got in to take over from Stolz for the middle stint, managed to make up two positions by virtue of a fast out lap. As a result, two Mercedes-AMG Teams were on course for the podium after one hour.
In the final third of the race, the two final drivers Jules Gounon (#88) and Nico Bastian (#4) then drove the results for their teams home in a commanding way, in spite of multiple yellow flags and safety car interventions. For the #7 Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG GT3, the three-hour race on Sunday afternoon was also successful. The driver trio of Oscar Tunjo (COL), Paul Petit (FRA) and Marvin Dienst (GER) finished in tenth place overall and secured third place in the Silver Cup class as a result.
Raffaele Marciello, #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP: “It was a good race, victory was beyond reach today. The race winner was unbeatable today. One has to make the best of the possibilities and that is what we have done today.”
Jules Gounon, #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP: “The car was perfect. One team was even slightly better, but that is the way it is. We can be proud of ourselves and of our second place. We have scored important points.”
Luca Stolz, #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT: “It was a good weekend for us. It was clear from the outset that we had the pace. Driving really was fun, but we didn’t stand a chance against the eventual winner and the colleagues with the number 88 car were strong as well. However, I am happy with third place, the team has deserved this. Things not having been going too well for us this season so far, finally scoring a podium result is nice.”
Source. Mercedes/Photo. Gruppe C Photography