Strategy mistakes and fast pit stops
On the fifth race meeting of the season, at Spielberg, Austria, Audi drivers Edoardo Mortara and Mattias Ekström raced in a class of their own. Mortara won the Saturday race and the Swede the Sunday round. While the Italian proved to be the yardstick on the first two days, in brilliant sunshine, Ekström outpaced the rest of the field in the rain on Sunday. Performances that also were reflected by the weekend statistics. Nonetheless, the two Audi aces didn’t prevail in every area. Who covered the biggest distance? Who made the biggest mistake? And who set the theoretically fastest lap time. Please find the answers in the second part of our selected postscripts of the race meeting held at Austria’s Red Bull Ring.
The biggest distance at Spielberg was covered by Mike Rockenfeller. The man in the cockpit of car #99 was in a particular hurry on the first days of the weekend. In both practice sessions as well as in the Saturday qualifying session, Mike’s Audi RS 5 DTM was the first car to go out. Altogether, he completed 140 laps with his yellow and green DTM racer, representing a total mileage of 605.64 kilometres. And apart from the first practice session (13th position) he always made it to the top 10. In the qualifying session for race two, on Sunday, he held the provisional pole for quite a while – until Mattias Ekström stole it on the very last lap. During the course of the race, Rockenfeller dropped back to fourth after having finished eighth in the Saturday round. Second position in these statistics was secured by fellow Audi driver Nico Müller who covered a total distance of 584.01 kilometres. The Swiss completed the best of his 135 laps in the Sunday race. He started into the race from 11th position on the grid to finish fifth – his best result in the season so far. Meanwhile, Edoardo Mortara, Maximilian Götz and Adrien Tambay covered 575.36 kilometres (133 laps), thus tying for third position in these assiduity statistics.
The fastest pit stop was executed by the pit crew of Edoardo Mortara. When the Italian pitted on Sunday on lap 19, Team Abt Sportsline was absolutely up to the task – and Mortara rejoined the race just 27.751 seconds after having crossed the electric eye at the pit-lane entrance. That’s one of the reasons why Audi the driver suddenly was able to pressurise second-place Gary Paffett – who needed 2.5 seconds longer, for his pit stop – after having rejoined the race. Then, however, an off-track moment made an end to Mortara’s chances of finishing runner-up and he had to settle for coming third. The second-fastest pit stop was executed by his team-mate Adrien Tambay and his crew. The Frenchman needed just 28.020 seconds from entering to exiting the pit lane. Nonetheless, he wasn’t able to benefit from this fast stop, with his Playboy-Audi, and crossed the finish line in 16th position. Third place in the fastest-pit-stop statistics was secured by Mercedes-Benz ace Paul DI Resta and his HWA pit crew. The Scot spent just 28.093 seconds in the pit-lane – and finished ninth in the race.
The strategy mistake of the weekend was made by the team of Daniel Juncadella. The Sunday race was started behind the safety car due to torrential rain and Mercedes-AMG DTM Team Mücke wanted to provide its driver with a possible strategic advantage. Juncadella was supposed to pit as fast as possible to the contest the rest of the race with one long stint. As the race was started on wets, the usual time frame for the obligatory tyre change in the Sunday race didn’t apply. Another regulation, however, remains in force even in a wet race: a pit stop made on the lap after the safety car came in doesn’t count as obligatory stop. And this regulation proved to be fatal for the Spaniard. The safety car came in on lap five and on lap six, Juncadella was called in for his stop. And he had to cope with another dose of bad luck, on Sunday. In addition to his second – the real obligatory – pit stop, he had to pit for a third time. And these three stops were the main reason why the 24-year old finished last, in the Sunday race at Spielberg.
The fastest theoretical lap at the Red Bull Ring was completed by Edoardo Mortara. In these statistics, the Italian once again underlined the dominance displayed by him on Saturday. Nonetheless, he had his problems in the first section, in the 40-minute race. There, he had to settle for a personal fastest split time of 22.092 seconds, with just five drivers having been slower, here. In the second section, he was second-fastest behind Pascal Wehrlein, with 37.981 seconds and in the third, his 25.499 seconds were the clearly fastest split time. Theoretically, the future winner of the Saturday race could have completed the 4.326-kilometre lap at the Red Bull Ring in 1:25.544 minutes but as he set his fastest split times on different laps, his real fastest lap time added up 1:25.632 minutes. Meanwhile, Pascal Wehrlein’s fastest theoretical lap time amounted to 1:25.598 minutes – second place in these statistics. The German was fourth-fastest in section one, fastest in section two and third-fastest in section three. Third position in these statistics was secured by Mike Rockenfeller with a theoretical 1:25.788-minute lap. He was the fastest in section one, set the six-fastest time in section two and the third-fastest split time in section three.