Tough Break for GruppeM in Lausitzring Opener

  • Early issue drops GruppeM out of race one contention
  • Good start from Daniel Juncadella goes unrewarded
  • Team determined to bounce back on Sunday

Lausitzring, Germany – An early issue prevented Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing from showing its true potential in the first race of the Lausitzring DTM round.

The #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Daniel Juncadella was classified as a retirement from the third race of the 2021 season.

Juncadella qualified 13th on the grid for Saturday’s 55-minute encounter and made a composed start, keeping it clean as other drivers tangled in the opening exchanges.

The Spaniard gained a position on the first lap, shortly before the safety car was deployed due to an accident.

After a few minutes of reduced-speed running, Juncadella made a smooth getaway from the two-by-two restart and initially looked set to challenge for the points places.

However, his and GruppeM Racing’s chances of pursuing a top result were dashed by a technical issue. Sensing that something wasn’t right, Juncadella brought the Mercedes-AMG GT3 into to the pits where the #8 car crew stood ready and waiting.

After an initial inspection of the car, GruppeM Racing decided to back it into the garage for more detailed checks. By this point, any chance of a strong finish had evaporated, but the team did not waste any of the remaining race time as it worked to manage the problem.

Juncadella briefly returned to the track near the end of the race in order to validate the vehicle's systems ahead of qualifying for race two on Sunday.

That 20-minute qualifying session will get underway at 10:10 a.m. while the second race of the weekend is due to start at 1:33 p.m. (both times CEST).

With a challenging day now behind it, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing is determined to bounce back and return to the fight for top results in the DTM.

Daniel Juncadella, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing driver: "I spent the first laps staying out of trouble, but I already felt there was an issue early on. The engine was not pulling correctly, and the sound was weird. It was unfortunate, but I am hopeful that we can have a better race tomorrow."

Stephanie Flohr, GruppeM Racing Team Manager: "Qualifying was extremely tight today and didn't quite work out as well as it should have done. We started the race quite positively and it looked quite good for us, however a technical issue with our engine caused us to stop. We were able to find the failure and replace some parts which enabled us to get back out for two laps to check the car. The strategies for tyre saving over a weekend sometimes bring some very interesting results and we are looking quite positively at tomorrow."