Not just the temperatures were aestival, the on-track action was hot, too. At the end of the practice day at Lausitzring Turn 1 powered by Autohero, the lap times of the four fastest DTM drivers with three different brands at the 4.601 kilometres long track were eight hundredths of a second apart. Fastest driver of the day was two-time (2014, 2016) champion Marco Wittmann (GER), who completed his fastest lap of the race track between Dresden and Berlin in 1m 32.035s.
In first free practice in the morning, the 29 world-class drivers already shone with strong lap times, led by Swiss Nico Müller (Team Rosberg, Audi), the winner of the Sunday race during the season opener at Portimão. The two drivers of the SSR Performance Porsche team, Laurens Vanthoor (BEL) and Dennis Olsen (NOR) also showed a strong performance, starting the race weekend with the second and fourth fastest time respectively. Between them was Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) with the Schubert BMW, who topped the timesheets in second free practice for a long time, until his car got stuck on track with around 17 minutes remaining and had to be recovered. Practice was briefly interrupted.
“Being able to start the weekend with a good feeling is always nice, but I hope we can keep it up for tomorrow,” Wittmann says. “We had a good programme with long runs and a qualifying simulation with fresh tyres. I am feeling comfortable, things are going well and I hope it will continue like this tomorrow. Turn 1 is a high-speed corner, driving it is always an experience. The trick will be to bring the tyres over the distance in the race, the front tyres in particular.” Behind Wittmann, Sheldon van der Linde completed the 1-2 for BMW in spite of his early retirement, followed by Dennis Olsen with the SSR Porsche and the two GruppeM Mercedes drivers Maro Engel (GER) and Mikaël Grenier (CAN).
DTM Trophy: Frenchman Cauhaupé fastest
Fastest driver of the day in DTM Trophy was Frenchman Edouard Cauhaupé, who topped the timesheets in both free practice sessions with the Mercedes-AMG run by the BWT Mücke Motorsport team from Berlin. His time of 1m 42.134s in first practice was the fastest of the day. Next up were Thiago Vivaqua (BRA, Heide-Motorsport, Audi), Rodrigo Diaz Almeida (MOZ, BWT Mücke Motorsport, Mercedes-AMG), Ricky Capo (NZL, KÜS Team Bernhard, Porsche) and the two BMW drivers of the Project 1 team, Colin Caresani (NED) and Louis Henkefend (GER), last year’s BMW M2 Cup title winner. That made it drivers from six different countries with four different brands in the top six. The talent pool on the DTM platform is getting its new season underway at Lausitzring Turn 1 powered by Autohero.
DTM Classic, BMW M2 Cup, Red Bull 2-seater
The DTM Classic Cup, new for this year, also has its season opener at Lausitzring Turn 1 powered by Autohero. Fascinating cars from the rich DTM history, from the Opel Calibra once raced by ex-Formula 1 world champion Keke Rosberg, and Ford Sierra RS 500 Cosworth up to the legendary BMW M3 already caused excitement during the practice day at Lausitz. The entry-level one-make series BMW M2 Cup also has its first two races of the season this weekend. Present as well: Red Bull’s spectacular and loud Formula 1 two-seater.