GruppeM Racing Earns Maiden DTM Podium
- Daniel Juncadella second in Sunday race at Nürburgring
- GruppeM Racing celebrates its first podium in the DTM
- Flohr: "Thanks to Dani, Mercedes-AMG and the GruppeM crew!"
Nürburgring, Germany – Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing earned its first-ever DTM podium as Daniel Juncadella produced an expert drive to finish second in race two at the Nürburgring.
After posting an eighth-place result in the opening race of the weekend on Saturday, Juncadella and the GruppeM Racing squad gained 20 more championship points on Sunday by turning a strong qualifying performance into a well-deserved high finish.
A great lap in a rain-affected morning session resulted in Juncadella qualifying second, giving the team an ideal foothold for the 55-minute plus three laps race which took place in dry conditions later in the day.
Juncadella made a solid initial getaway, only for the field to be set behind the safety car for two laps of the Nürburgring’s short circuit layout after an early incident.
The lap four restart went well, as Juncadella kept ahead of a BMW on one side and a Porsche on the other to maintain second. His front-running position enabled him to evade the drama that unfolded behind, as several cars spun between Turns 2 and 3.
Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing elected to bring its driver into the pits at the end of lap seven, while the leader came in after the following tour.
A quick tyre change from the crew of mechanics released Juncadella back into net second, setting GruppeM Racing on course to fight for its maiden series podium.
A second, longer safety car occurred on lap nine, but the fact that several cars had not yet pitted meant Juncadella needed to be extra careful to avoid potential restart incidents in the mid-pack.
Even though he managed to pass a couple of cars in quick succession, Juncadella's target did the same to the remaining late-stoppers at the head of the field. This game of cat and mouse continued until the chequered flag, with Juncadella keeping the pressure on but ultimately running out of time to mount a challenge for the win.
After 38 laps and the completion of all pit stops, the #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3 crossed the line 4.6 seconds behind the winner, yielding a season-best result and highlighting the GruppeM Racing team's capabilities in the ultra-competitive DTM.
With momentum on its side, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing will now head back to its DTM programme base in Germany to prepare for the next round at the Red Bull Ring on September 3-5.
"That was a very good day. Like yesterday, quali was very strong, this time in the wet. We had a very good starting position. The race was more straightforward with the weather, but the safety cars and restarts made it a little bit harder. But I’m very happy with the result. The pit stop was great as well, after yesterday with our mechanic being injured. This was a really good turnaround from the guys so I’m very happy for them to get this result finally. Let’s keep building on this and try to get some even better results."
"After a very difficult Saturday the team prepared our Mercedes-AMG GT3 again for today and Dani did a fantastic job in qualifying on wets. The weather at the Nürburgring can change every minute, but he finished P2 and started the second race from the first row. Dani’s start was really good and he managed the two restarts after the safety car perfectly. Our mechanic who was involved in the pit stop incident yesterday has been checked in hospital and he was determined to carry on being part of the pit stop crew today. They all did a good job. At the end Dani finished the race in P2 and we are very happy to gain our first podium in the DTM. Thanks to Dani, Mercedes-AMG and to the GruppeM crew!"