Juncadella Moves Through the Field in Spielberg Race Two
- Strong Sunday showing from GruppeM Racing
- Juncadella takes the chequered flag in sixth place
- Team looking ahead to Assen in two weeks' time
Spielberg, Austria – Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing returned to the DTM points as Daniel Juncadella finished eighth in an eventful opening race at the Nürburgring.
Although a pair of five-second penalties ultimately dropped the #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3 to 12th in the final classification, impressive in-race performances from both Juncadella and the GruppeM Racing pit crew stood out as highlights of the weekend.
After narrowly missing out on the points in race one, Juncadella started Sunday’s encounter from the seventh row of the grid but was determined to make up ground.
The 2018 Spielberg pole-sitter had to be patient through the congested opening right-hander, but he quickly switched onto the attack and made three fantastic overtakes to climb up to 11th.
An issue for one of the front-running cars brought Juncadella into the points-paying top ten, shortly before the mandatory pit window opened on lap five.
The Spaniard waited diligently for his moment to bring the #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3 in, after several cars pitted at the earliest opportunity. This strategy enabled Juncadella to post some quick lap times before peeling off at the end of lap seven.
Another sub-eight second tyre change from the in-form GruppeM Racing mechanics sent Juncadella back out on his way in net eighth position, demonstrating the importance of pit stops in the DTM’s 55-minute plus one lap races.
Juncadella's eyes were locked forward as he reeled in the cars ahead and made two further overtakes, but he also needed to be wary of the gaps to cars behind due to the looming post-race time additions that were announced during the race.
The task was made harder by the fact that Juncadella was having trouble with his track-to-pit radio system, prompting the GruppeM crew to adopt the old-school approach of relaying information on a pit board.
Juncadella crossed the line in sixth, only three-tenths behind the top five, but unfortunately a points score stood just out of reach once the results were confirmed.
Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing's focus now shifts to rounds 11 and 12 of the DTM season which take place at Assen in the Netherlands on September 18-19.
"It was quite a positive Sunday in the end, because we struggled again in qualifying and did a change on the brakes for the race. We basically went back to what we were using at the Nürburgring, where the car was strong. Suddenly we found a lot of pace so this was very positive. In the race, the car was very quick. I went from P14 to sixth but unfortunately at the start I had no radio connection, so I panicked a bit and got a penalty for inaccurate grid position. And then we got another one for track limits. It was a shame because we lost P6, but it was not such a big deal in the end because the most important thing was to sort out the early issues we had, which we did."
"We started today’s race from P14. Unfortunately, relevant lap times in qualifying were cancelled due to track limits and some technical issues appeared near the end of the session. But we had our Mercedes-AMG GT3 fixed and ready for the race in a very short time. In the race, Dani did a fantastic job and caught up to P6. Our car and Dani's race pace were very strong; he did the third-fastest lap time in this very competitive field. It was a hard race for us, as we had issues with the radio and were not able to talk to Dani, and vice-versa. The crew showed him all the relevant info on the pit board, so it was back to basics! As there was no communication the pit crew needed to react at extremely short notice for the pit stop, but it all worked out very well. In the end, we finished P12. Now we need to focus on the next round at Assen and we are really looking forward to it."