GruppeM Racing Returns to the Points on Sunday
- Seventh for Daniel Juncadella in Lausitzring race two
- GruppeM Racing in the thick of the battle for points
- Team had the potential to push for its first DTM podium
Lausitzring, Germany –Daniel Juncadella and Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing finished seventh in Sunday’s competitive DTM race at the Lausitzring to bank points for the championship.
After a technical issue forced its retirement from Saturday’s encounter, the #8 GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 returned to more familiar front-running territory in the second 55-minute race of the 2021 season’s second weekend.
Juncadella made an excellent start from eighth on the grid, carving past three vehicles on the fast run down to the second corner before moving up to fourth with a smart braking move at the Turn 6 left-hander.
An early strategy call from the GruppeM Racing crew saw Juncadella pit before anyone else at the end of lap four. The team’s mechanics performed a rapid tyre change, although Juncadella’s release was delayed by another car awkwardly entering the pit box in front.
Unfortunately, that moment compromised Juncadella’s chances to gain positions during the pit cycle, which would have set him on course to challenge for GruppeM Racing’s maiden DTM podium.
All the front-runners had pitted by the 15-minute mark, at which point Juncadella was in net fifth. The remainder of the race involved plenty of exciting battles, primarily among the set of cars that included the BWT-liveried #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3.
At one point, Juncadella engaged in a side-by-side scrap that resulted in a positional switch from fifth to sixth with just under half an hour remaining.
Heading into the closing stages, Juncadella and those around him bunched up behind a tussle between second and third place. Another position change then occurred at Turn 2 with seven minutes to go, meaning Juncadella would ultimately take the chequered flag in seventh, but only eight seconds behind the winner.
While the race two result did not reflect all of Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing’s potential considering Juncadella’s lightning start, it was nonetheless an encouraging way to cap the weekend following Saturday’s disappointment.
After taking six points at the Lausitzring - the venue where Juncadella scored his first DTM points back in 2013 - the Spanish driver is now 11th in the drivers’ championship with four out of 14 races completed.
Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing will analyse the results from this event before starting its preparations for the next DTM fixture at Zolder on August 6-8.
"I had a really good start from eighth. I was up to fourth on the first lap, so it was looking really promising. We took the strategy to pit really early and we had a really good pit stop, which was very encouraging. The guys did a mega job compared to Monza and have improved a lot. We had a competitive stop, but unfortunately the pit box in front was full of mechanics and I had to wait for four seconds. This really compromised our race because we were looking strong for a top-three finish. We came out of the pits in fifth and then our race was also compromised by a lack of pace. We lost some ground and some more positions to finish seventh, but it was better than nothing. We need to analyse what we need to do better, and work for the next one."
"We started this race day very optimistic. We qualified P8 in this very competitive field. Dani did a very good start and gained positions in the first laps. The pit stop strategy was changed at the last second to respond to our competitors' decisions. The pit stop crew changed the tyres very quickly, but getting out from the stop we were blocked by another car. Due to this, we lost four seconds and some positions. The new track layout forced the tyres quite hard and we are happy that our engineering and Dani could manage the tyre wear. Our Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Dani had good pace throughout the whole race. After our technical issues yesterday, we are quite happy to get some points for the championship. Now we focus on our next DTM event at Zolder. Thanks to Mercedes-AMG, Dani and the team. They all did a great job here at Lausitzring."