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Sep 13

Tales from the paddock – Robert Wickens: “During my entire time in motorsports, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like it”

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport in the 2017 season

Robert Wickens 2The 2017 motorsport season is entering the decisive phase over the coming weeks. Nürburgring winner Robert Wickens shares his thoughts on the tense run-up to the DTM finale.

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  • This is what happened: Weekend’s results & facts
  • News from the Mercedes-AMG motorsport teams
  • Three questions for Robert Wickens
  • Social media news: What’s new online?
  • This week’s important dates and events

This is what happened: Weekend’s results & facts

  • DTM: A one-two-three-four victory in Race 1 at the Nürburgring – Lucas Auer wins ahead of Paul Di Resta, Robert Wickens and Maro Engel
  • DTM: A one-two victory for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport in the second of two races on the circuit in the Eifel forest – this time with Robert Wickens coming in ahead of Paul Di Resta
  • DMV GTC: Kenneth Heyer and Josef Klüber make three podium appearances at Zolder

Robert Wickens

News snippets

Singapore, here we come: Since first hosting Formula 1 in the 2008 season, Singapore has provided a spectacular backdrop to the night race contested under the floodlights of the Marina Bay Street Circuit. The Silver Arrows have so far had mixed fortunes on this track. In seven race starts, there have been three podium finishes and two victories (Lewis Hamilton 2014, Nico Rosberg 2016). But there have also been less successful weekends such as in 2015. Lewis had already been a race winner before on this challenging street circuit in the second ever Singapore Grand Prix. Mercedes-powered drivers have made a total of seven podium appearances in Singapore, three times as race winners.

Stat-Attack – Nürburgring: The Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Team came away from the circuit in the Eifel with seven glittering trophies in their luggage. In the circumstances, the team were quite happy to have been involved in a chaotic rain-affected race on Saturday, especially the sort that ends in a quadruple victory. For Nürburgring specialist Lucas Auer, it was win number three of the season and his first on this track. As early as qualifying, he increased his tally of pole positions at this venue to three. On Sunday, Robert Wickens claimed his first victory of the season and a second success at the Nürburgring, having won a DTM race there for the first time in 2013. Wickens and Paul Di Resta ascended the podium after both races of the weekend, and on Saturday, all six Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTMs finished in the points. Having secured 32 victories since 1988, Mercedes-AMG remains the most successful brand to have competed at the Nürburgring.

Watch highlights of Race 1: www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLdmG4x7IvE
Watch highlights of Race 2: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyC2Mqqvg_4

Two class wins: Two weeks after his success with Hofor Racing in the 24H Series, Kenneth Heyer (GER) was back behind the wheel of a Mercedes-AMG GT3 again. Together with regular équipe vitesse driver Josef Klüber (GER), Heyer was competing in the DMV GTC and Dunlop 60 series at Zolder in Belgium. Together, they steered the number 5 car to second place in Friday’s Dunlop 60 race. Heyer and Klüber put in a flawless performance on a wet track and had to battle hard in an exciting duel over the 60-minute duration for the runner-up spot, eventually clinching it on the finish line. At the same time, they also secured victory in their class. Heyer was back in action for the first of two DMV GTC races after the Dunlop 60. From P2 on the grid, the German defended his position throughout the 30-minute race on what was once again a problematic wet track, taking second place and a win in his class. Klüber drove the number 5 Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the second race, finishing third overall and second in class. Wim de Pundert (NED) also contested all three races at the Circuit Zolder as a member of the HTP Motorsport squad. In the Dunlop 60, he shared the cockpit of the number 85 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Brice Bosi (LUX). The duo crossed the finish line in fourth place, making it a one-two win in class for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. In both DMV GTC races, De Pundert finished fifth overall and third in his class.

Three questions for Robert Wickens

Rob, at the Nürburgring last weekend, you registered your first win of the season. How do feel now after a few days have elapsed?
Robert Wickens: It was an amazing weekend. Going into it, I was pretty optimistic, but in the DTM you can never really expect to have a weekend like we had. We were pretty fortunate with the weather on Saturday, because we thought that we would actually not be that strong in dry conditions. I think, the fact that it rained all day Saturday was a major factor behind our result – a one-two-three-four and all six cars in the points. That was an amazing day for the brand. On Sunday, in dry conditions, we followed it up with a more or less similar performance. As a team, that shows how far we have come and that we are constantly pushing. We have put behind us the bad news that we are stopping at the end of 2018 and are now determined to show that we are still fighting hard and we’re not giving up. A double podium weekend in DTM is nearly impossible to come by, and the fact that I have done it twice this year shows how strong a team we are.

There are still 100 points up for grabs this season, and you are 36 behind the current leader in the standings, Mattias Ekström. Do you see yourself as still in with a chance of taking the title?
Robert Wickens: I don’t really want to think about the championship, to be perfectly honest. I’m racing for the passion and for the enjoyment of being in the DTM. Ahead of the Nürburgring weekend, the championship was far out of my mind. I just wanted to enjoy it, but it was a fantastic weekend that put me straight back into the hunt. All season I’ve had a mental thought process of just going race by race and taking everything day by day. I haven’t looked too far into the future, because I can only control what I do and what my team does. It’s an amazing season, and the fact that there are ten drivers all with a very good shot at winning the championship is unheard of. The fact that there are ten drivers who – within one weekend – could mathematically take the lead of the championship is amazing and unbelievable. During my entire time in motorsports, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like it.

In the second race on Sunday, a relatively large number of drivers complained about the ruthless tactics being employed on the track. Is this standard for the DTM, or is it that we’ve now entered the countdown to the title, in which anything goes?
Robert Wickens: Judging by my own experiences, it usually gets tougher at this stage of the season. Last weekend, I was affected by the strategies applied by Audi. I’m sure other drivers might see it differently, but from my experience, when I was leading after the pit stop and caught Duval and Müller, I thought both of them took their team tactics a little bit too far, especially given that I wasn’t a direct threat in the championship. They were just trying to slow everyone down to help Audi’s main title contenders. I understand it’s a part of DTM, but I think at Mercedes we can hold our head up high, because we are not doing any of that. We are trying to give the fans the best show possible and give them fair and real racing. The fight that Marco (Wittmann) and I had was just a pure old-school fight the whole race. In my mind, it was very entertaining, and I enjoyed it very much. It was a lot of fun.

Social Media News

#AskToto: How about a chat with the boss? No problem! Toto Wolff took time out between the races in Monza and Singapore to answer some questions from our fans.

Watch video clip: www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4ZO5JW_6KY

#Monza2Singapore: The European part of the season is over. Now on to the overseas races! We take an exclusive look behind the scenes at the team in our documentary series and see how they are coping with the hectic period between Monza and Singapore.

Watch video clip: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sP1CZpXWq0&list=PLbJwtTv097–S3U5m6LC9BzNKLrkPRVR_

#StrategyAnalysis: In the latest edition of our strategy analysis, we look at how the team tackled one of the infrequent wet-weather qualis and why there was no safety car deployment at Monza.

Watch video clip: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rULgjPB6To

#BossBusiness: At the Nürburgring, it was not only the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM drivers who were going flat out. Head of Motorsport Toto Wolff also entered the Touring Cars Classics event.

Watch video clip: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFXlbzAOc1g

Upcoming events & dates

Date Event
Thursday 14/09/2017 F1: Singapore GP – Media Day
Friday 15/09/2017 F1: Singapore GP – Practice 1 & 2
Saturday 16/09/2017 F1: Singapore GP – Practice 3 & Qualifying
ADAC GT Masters: Sachsenring – Race 1
Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup: Nürburgring – Qualifying Race
Sunday 17/09/2017 F1: Singapore GP – Race
ADAC GT Masters: Sachsenring – Race 2
Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup: Nürburgring – Race

source: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport, mercedesamgf1.com, mercedesmotorsport.com

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