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Double pole for Mercedes-Benz at the Norisring
Mercedes-Benz is a force to be reckoned with at the Norisring. In qualifying for the fourth DTM round on Saturday, five of the Stuttgart manufacturer’s drivers were amongst the best six. The expected rain during qualifying held off so that only the Ventus Race baseline slick of the exclusive tyre partner Hankook came into action. On the street circuit’s still dirty track surface, the tyres’ high level of grip provided pilots with the necessary traction to enable them to quickly accelerate out of the slow passages.
Norisring/Nuremberg, 28 June 2014 – Robert Wickens (Mercedes-Benz) takes up Sunday’s race from pole position. The Canadian dominated the final qualifying segment to post the overall quickest time of 47.883 seconds. His brand colleague Paul di Resta lines up alongside him on the first row. The DTM returnee missed out on his first pole position since 2010 by 0.093 seconds. Jamie Green (Audi), who has won four times on the Norisring, managed to wedge himself in between the Mercedes-Benz brigade. Behind him three other drivers with the star on their hood, Pascal Wehrlein, Gary Paffett and Christian Vietoris take up the race, with Mattias Ekström (Audi) on the seventh grid spot.
Marco Wittmann, the current leader of the overall classification, was the only BMW pilot to reach the final qualifying segment, but failed to post a better time than eighth. The current DTM champion Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) heads into Sunday’s race from grid position twelve. Rain is forecast for the event, but still the DTM race engineer Christophe Stucki does not believe that some of the teams have already driven with a rain set-up: “A decent qualifying result here at the Norisring is vital because overtaking is very difficult. Moreover, we’ve often experienced that the weather forecasters have been wrong.”
Robert Wickens (Mercedes-Benz) : “The Hankook tyres were fantastic. There are many tight and slow passages here at the Norisring which can be driven very aggressively with these tyres. The slicks last incredibly long and that made the qualifying easy for me. You shouldn’t go out and immediately set the fastest time, but the high consistency of the Hankook tyres allow you several laps to do this.”
Paul di Resta (Mercedes-Benz) : “We’re very happy with the Hankook tyres. We’ve locked out the front grid row for tomorrow’s race, but the weather is likely to change and we’ll have to switch to wets. It’s important to bring home as many points for our manufacturer as possible.”
Jamie Green (Audi) : “Hankook’s option tyres are an important factor in the race. But the baseline slick worked really well in qualifying. It’s very consistent, you know what the grip level is, and you can totally rely on the tyre. My super third place is proof of this. I’m more than happy with the entire Hankook package.”
Marco Wittmann (BMW) : “The Hankook race tyres ran well, but we’re not particularly thrilled with the result. We’re simply lacking top speed, we’re just too slow on the straights. In the corners, however, we were very strong and that’s generally where you use the tyres the most.”