BMW on top in first free practice – Audi still behind
The track in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben is anything but easy. That is what some drivers already found out in first free practice. The first timed session wasn’t a trouble-free affair for all drivers in the 24-strong field. The BMWs were really fast towards the end of the 50 minutes’ practice session on Friday afternoon. The fastest driver was Augusto Farfus, who posted the fastest lap time around the 3.696 kilometres long track with his BMW M4 DTM, some seven minutes into the session. The Brazilian crossed the finish line after 1:21.007 minutes and thus toppled his fellow Audi driver António Félix da Costa. A little bit earlier, the Portuguese had set a time of 1:21.015 minutes on his sixteenth lap, which was to remain the second-fastest lap time of the afternoon. Rookie driver Tom Blomqvist ended up third-fastest with a time of 1:21.069 minutes with his BMW. The others set their lap times already at an early stage in the session. Maxime Martin set his time of 1:21.220 minutes after six minutes already, he ended up fourth. A few seconds earlier, Pascal Wehrlein had completed his lap in 1:21.236 minutes and was classified fifth as the best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver. Miguel Molina was the best-placed Audi driver. The Spaniard was classified eleventh with a time of 1:21.433 minutes.
The top ten in first free practice seems to testify that Audi is having a hard time with the amount of additional weight in its cars at Oschersleben. Timo Glock and Marco Wittmann completed the top result for BMW in practice with eighth and ninth place respectively. Next to Wehrlein, Paul Di Resta, Christian Vietoris and Gary Paffett made it four Mercedes-Benz drivers in the top ten. The eight Audis were spread up between positions eleven and 22. With a time of 1:21.646 minutes, points’ leader Mattias Ekström ended up in 17th place. For Wittmann, Vietoris and Di Resta, free practice wasn’t trouble-free. All three came off the track, but without any major consequences. After all, they all went on to post their respective fastest lap times after their excursions.
On Saturday, it will become clear what these first impressions are worth. After second free practice (from 8.20 hrs), the starting grid positions for the first race in the Magdeburger Börde (from 13.30 hrs) will be determined in the 20 minutes’ qualifying session (from 11.00 hrs).