GruppeM Keen to Bounce Back from Saturday DNF
- Abrupt end to opening Zolder race for GruppeM Racing
- Team eager to get back to sharp end of DTM field
- Flohr: "Tomorrow is another day, and another chance for us"
Zolder, Belgium – Contact on the first lap prevented Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing from completing Saturday’s opening race of the DTM round at Zolder.
After setting the fastest lap during Free Practice on Friday, Daniel Juncadella and the GruppeM Racing squad were confident of being able to push for a top result in the fifth race of the 2021 season.
However, a multi-car incident approaching the Kleine Chicane – turn five on the 16-corner Zolder track – forced the untimely retirement of the #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Juncadella posted a time of 1m 27.688 during Saturday morning’s 20-minute qualifying session to secure a seventh-row grid spot.
The experienced Spanish driver was therefore in the thick of the pack when the green flag waved to start the 55-minute contest just after 1:30 p.m. local time. Juncadella made it through the first four corners, however that was as far as his race would go.
As he was looking to move Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing toward the points positions, Juncadella and another car had contact in the chicane's hard braking zone. This triggered a chain reaction which caused a third vehicle to spin into the gravel.
Juncadella managed to carefully bring the wounded #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3 back to the pits, but the damage to the car’s right-front corner was too significant to continue.
The GruppeM Racing mechanics spent the rest of the afternoon making repairs and checking systems to ensure their car will be primed for the final day of track action.
Considering the front-running pace it had during practice, GruppeM Racing is hopeful that Sunday will bring greater fortune as the team looks to earn its first DTM podium.
Qualifying for race two gets underway at 10:10 a.m. while the sixth race of this year's 16-leg campaign is scheduled to start at 1:33 p.m. (all times CEST).
Daniel Juncadella, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing driver: "There is not much to say today. Qualifying was not what we expected and in the race, I was just caught by surprise in the braking area and crashed into the car in front. We are hoping for better things tomorrow."
Stephanie Flohr, GruppeM Racing team manager: "After our light crash yesterday during FP2, we repaired our Mercedes-AMG GT3 and it was ready for Q1 this morning. We finished 0.6 seconds behind pole position and did some changes on the car for race one. We started from row seven. Directly on lap one at turn five, the cars in front of Dani were abruptly queuing and he had no chance to evade. He took quite a big hit from the steering wheel on his hand, so he will rest up between now and qualifying tomorrow morning. The crew is already preparing the car and tomorrow is another day, and so another chance for us."