GruppeM Aiming for More DTM Podium Success in Austria
- Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing ready for Spielberg
- Momentum brought in from recent maiden DTM podium
- Juncadella: "The car felt good" during Friday's Free Practice
Spielberg, Austria – After earning a second-place at the Nürburgring two weeks ago, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing is ready to continue battling for DTM podiums as the second half of the season gets underway at Spielberg this weekend.
Round five of the eight-event campaign kicked off on Friday with a pair of 45-minute Free Practice sessions in which Daniel Juncadella and the GruppeM Racing crew worked to get their #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3 into a sweet spot.
The team arrived with some Spielberg knowledge already in the bank, having visited the spectacular mountain-view circuit during an extensive pre-season testing programme.
GruppeM Racing’s Friday schedule included perfecting the car's balance for the varied 4.318 km course and settling into the warm late summer conditions.
Juncadella posted a time of 1m 30.262 during first practice, before shaving off a couple of tenths to end up on a 1m 30.023 at the close of FP2 later in the afternoon.
The margins were extremely tight, with most of the 20 drivers falling within the same second in each session.
However, outright pace was not the priority for GruppeM Racing's crew, which ended the day satisfied with its detailed work on car setup and other important elements.
The team is aiming to carry that optimism through to qualifying for race one at a venue where Juncadella claimed a DTM pole position for Mercedes-AMG in 2018.
The Spanish ace currently sits tenth in the drivers’ standings and is keen to propel Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing further up the table with performances inspired by last month’s impressive Nürburgring display.
Qualifying for Saturday’s 55-minute plus one lap race kicks off at 10:20 a.m. The race is due to start at 1:33 p.m. while those timings (all CEST) are repeated on Sunday
“It was a good first day. I think the results don’t really show our performance, because it’s difficult to see with different teams using different fuel loads and tyres. We focused a lot on getting the right balance, and towards the end of the day we really matched what we wanted. It seems to be very good. I’m happy with the day and we’re pretty sure that tomorrow will be good. We seem to be competitive so let’s wait and see, but the car felt good. We were testing here a few months back, so we know where we need to be with the tyres and low fuel.”
“It’s great to be back here at the beautiful Spielberg, and today was a good day for us in preparation for the weekend. We completed our test programme, including bedding in some new parts and doing a lot of work on race setup. After such a great second race at the Nürburgring, it’s really important for us to keep up the momentum and we continue to work hard for this. In the time between the last event and now, we have worked a lot to even further develop our pit stops and we hope to show this in the two races. Both team and driver are feeling good. There are a few small things that we can do to improve the car for qualifying, but the boys and girls are underway with that. Some teams might have a BoP advantage - especially the turbo cars – and we also have success ballast from the Nürburgring to deal with. But we keep working hard and we are determined to push for the results that we feel we deserve this weekend.”