Incident Brings Early End to Race One for GruppeM
- GruppeM Racing unable to get off the ground in race one
- Contact approaching the start line results in retirement
- Team "optimistic" it can return to the hunt on Sunday
Assen, Netherlands – Saturday’s DTM race at Assen ended before it could begin for Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing due to an incident approaching the start line.
A concertina effect as the rolling grid prepared to launch at the changing lights led to the #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Daniel Juncadella receiving hits from both in front and behind.
Sensing that some damage had been dealt, Juncadella intuitively brought the BWT-liveried Mercedes-AMG to a safe place at the side of the track where his race would unfortunately come to a premature end.
It was a disappointing way for the GruppeM team to conclude Saturday’s track action after a promising Friday saw Juncadella set the fastest lap during Free Practice.
The Spanish driver then qualified ninth for the opening race of the weekend, registering a time of 1m 32.470 that was less than three-tenths shy of pole position.
That Saturday morning effort gave Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing plenty of optimism that it would be able to push for a point-scoring top ten result in the afternoon's 55-minute race.
However, starting near the middle of the pack meant that Juncadella was in the centre of the drama when the field bunched up during the two-by-two starting procedure.
GruppeM Racing's mechanics are now working hard to repair and prepare the #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Sunday's programme which starts with qualifying at 10 a.m.
Round 12 of the DTM season is due to get underway at the usual time of 1:33 p.m. (all CEST).
“The leader didn’t accelerate when he had to, so that created a big mess. I was hit from behind and also hit the guy in front, so the car was done after 20 metres and we had to retire. It’s a shame but we will go again tomorrow.”
"After yesterday’s P1 in practice we went fully motivated in Q1. The session was stopped due to an accident and we only had a few minutes to set our time after the resumption. There was some confusion due to track limit infringements and we first finished P11 due to having relevant lap times deleted. Luckily, we got our lap time back after some investigation and we started the first race from P9. The start was quite interesting as the cars in front didn’t really accelerate and we ended up in the 'sandwich'. Our car got damaged on the front and the rear and it was impossible to continue. It’s really disappointing, but now we need to repair our Mercedes-AMG GT3 and focus on tomorrow. We are still very optimistic as Dani feels confident with the car and the track."