Mortara posts the first fastest time of the weekend – a good omen for Audi?
The first times of the DTM weekend at Spielberg have been posted. Edoardo Mortara came out as the fastest driver in first free practice on Friday afternoon. The Audi driver completed his fastest lap of the 4.326 kilometres long circuit in 1:25.585 minutes. A good omen for the team from Ingolstadt? The last time the Italian topped the time sheets was during the season opener at Hockenheim. There, he came out on top in both free practice sessions. And everybody knows what happened after that: Audi turned out to be unbeatable in the season opener.
Gary Paffett (1:25.658 minutes) came out second-fastest with his Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM. Mortara’s team-mate Timo Scheider, who completed his personal best lap in 1:25.837 minutes, was classified third. The three were the only drivers to post lap times under 1:26 minutes in the opening session of the weekend. Especially the BMWs didn’t meet the expectations. The brand’s best-placed driver was Marco Wittmann, who completed his fastest lap of the Red Bull Ring in 1:26.119 minutes to become the only BMW driver to make it into the top ten. Four of the eight BMW drivers were even among the final five: Spengler (20th place), Maxime Martin (22nd place), Timo Glock (23rd) and Martin Tomczyk (24th). However, given the fact that practice times don’t mean too much and that the times of Tomczyk in last and Daniel Juncadella (Mercedes-Benz) in fourth place were less than a second apart, there is no need to worry about BMW.
Mercedes-Benz made the strongest impression. The brand from Stuttgart missed out on the fastest time, but six of its drivers, including local hero Lucas Auer (7th place) were among the top ten. There was bad luck for fellow Mercedes-Benz driver Pascal Wehrlein, currently the best placed driver of the three-pointed star in the drivers’ standings. Around the halfway point of the session, there were problems with the left rear wheel bearing on his car. Wehrlein only drove eleven laps and was classified 21st with his time of 1:26.584 minutes. Points’ leader Jamie Green didn’t do much better. With his Audi RS 5 DTM, he drove the most laps of all drivers, but only ended up 17th.
The next results will be available after free practice on Saturday at noon. At 15.00 hrs, all the possible tactical tricks will finally come to an end. Then, the drivers will be battling for the best starting grid positions for the race in the 20 minutes’ qualifying session. The race itself will get underway at 18.10 hrs. DTM fans who have stayed at home can keep up with the action from Spielberg on their PC or mobile device through live timing and the live stream. The first German TV station ARD will be broadcasting the race on Saturday live from 18.00 hrs. An overview of international TV stations broadcasting the DTM can be found here.