Calm before the storm at Lausitzring
There is plenty of tension at Lausitzring: this afternoon, the DTM cars will take to the track for the first time to acquire first impressions for the set-up work in free practice. Not only the fans are looking forward to the motorsport festival, the DTM drivers also showed plenty of anticipation during the press conference. Gary Paffett, Mike Rockenfeller and Martin Tomczyk were present to answer questions from the journalists.
In spite of the dominance by Audi in the season opener at Hockenheim, Phoenix driver Mike Rockenfeller has mixed feelings going into the weekend: “I am expecting a difficult race. The main reason is the performance weight: the lightest BMWs in the field now weigh 20 kilograms less, which means a difference of about three tenths of a second over a lap. In our championship, that is a lot.” Nevertheless, he doesn’t give up: “There is only one thing to do: get into the car, push the throttle and see where we end up. We will try to get the best out of it.”
At the same time, Gary Paffett tried to put the favourites’ role for the Mercedes team, the most successful brand at Lausitzring from a historic point of view, a little bit into perspective: “Our car is significantly different from last year, so we first have to see where we are compared to the competition. Nevertheless, after the results from Hockenheim, we known that podium results are possible. Bearing that in mind, I have some hopes of seeing a Mercedes on top this weekend.” That this Mercedes could be his own, is by no means unlikely. After all, Paffett already won here three times.
Martin Tomczyk flew the flag for BMW and appeared to be confident after a lacklustre start into the season: “In the past, we have scored good results at Lausitzring. We want to build on that. It is not clear yet where we are, but personally, I hope to be the best-placed BMW driver.” However, his thoughts may drift away off the track at times this weekend, as his wife Christina Surer is currently expecting the pair’s second child. “I am flying home straight away on Sunday. Hopefully, my wife is still waiting for me – who wouldn’t like to be there when your baby is born. But when it doesn’t work out, so be it. As they say: the main thing is that it is healthy,” the soon-to-be-father says.
Tomczyk’s feud with Gary Paffett was fired up once more: after a question from a journalist how the situation between the two is after the incidents at Hockenheim, where Tomczyk had taken the Mercedes driver out of the race after locking up under braking, Paffett emphasized: “We are certainly not the best of friends. The entire team is working very hard for a successful weekend, so it is difficult for me just to forget something like that.” After Tomczyk’s remark that the matter is history for him, the 2005 DTM champion remained rather reserved: “In this case, we probably agree to disagree.” So, the final word probably hasn’t been said in this matter. Perhaps, the fans at the track will get to see the next chapter in this interesting affair for two.