Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing made a promising start to the penultimate round of the DTM season as Daniel Juncadella posted the second-fastest Free Practice lap at Hockenheim.
Two 45-minute sessions were held at the renowned German circuit on Friday ahead of this weekend’s pair of races that form an important stage in the eight-event 2021 campaign.
After its strong pace and excellent pit work went unrewarded at the last two rounds in Austria and the Netherlands, GruppeM Racing is hungry to bank a representative finish at the track which is located closest to its DTM program headquarters.
Juncadella produced the ninth-best time in FP1 before moving the #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3 even further up the 21-car order during the second practice session.
His 1m 38.473 effort that came with just under half an hour to go put GruppeM Racing second in the combined times. After a visit to the pits, Juncadella returned to the 4.574 km track and managed to improve twice consecutively in the latter stages.
The Spaniard clocked his best lap of 1m 38.238 with 12 minutes left in the session. This stood as the second-fastest time of the day, only four-tenths behind the leader.
GruppeM Racing gained extensive Hockenheimring mileage during the first DTM pre-season test back in April. The Hong Kong-based squad was one of the top three teams on that occasion and was able to replicate that status during Friday practice.
The team will therefore be aiming to maintain its place at the sharp end of the field when the weekend’s competitive track action kicks off tomorrow.
Hockenheim has also been a rewarding circuit in the past for Juncadella, who set the fastest lap of the DTM season-opener there in 2018. The Mercedes-AMG ace also won twice at the venue on his way to clinching the 2012 Formula 3 Euro Series title.
Qualifying for Saturday’s 55-minute race starts at 10:20 a.m. while the main contest is due to get underway at 1:33 p.m. (both times CEST).
Daniel Juncadella, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing driver: “It was a good Friday. The car balance has been very decent all day and it looks like we are on the right path once again, so we are all-in for a big result tomorrow!”
Kenny Chen, GruppeM Racing team owner: “We are very happy to run the seventh DTM round here at the Hockenheimring as this is like a ‘home race’ for us. Our workshop is only one and a half hours away from here and that gave us more time for a proper car prep. We are happy with what we achieved in FP2 and this makes us very positive for tomorrow. Dani also feels very comfortable with the car. Our target for tomorrow is definitely to show again the potential of our Mercedes-AMG GT3 together with Dani.”
Source. GMR GmbH/Photo. DTM