Text: Rick Kiewiet
Images: DTM Media, Audi Sport, R-Motorsport, BMW Motorsport
Coming weekend, a new DTM season kicks off at Hockenheim. After the 4-day pre-season test at the Lausitzring mid-April, this is where Audi, BMW and newcomer Aston Martin finally meet at the arena. Here's a short preview of what you need to know about the new season.
Over four days, Robin Frijns, who also won last saturday's first Formula E race in Paris, set the fastest time for Audi (team Abt Sportsline) on wednesday: a 1.35.169. This was already more than two seconds (!!!) faster than the pole position time of the 2018 Lausitzring round, meaning we can look forward to the fastest DTM cars ever on track this season. For a rundown of the most important regulation changes over the winter, leading up to this increase in speed, click here.
Audi seemed to be in excellent form early on: the top 3 of all four days consisted only of cars from Ingolstadt: monday was topped by Rockenfeller, tuesday by Duval (both team Phoenix), and on thursday Nico Müller was fastest for team Abt Sportsline. Best BMW was youngster Joel Eriksson, noting a 1.35.884 on wednesday, a mere 7 tenths of a second behind the fastest Audi.
R-Motorsport had a valuable couple of days, being able to identify multiple (slight) issues with the car (and being able to solve most of them). In total, they completed over 3600 test-kilometers, with a best time of 1.36.345 by Jake Dennis on wednesday. Team principal Florian Kamelger emphasized that the team was not aiming for fast lap times, the single goal of the test was getting to know the car. In that perspective, the consistent lap times and almost problem free runs were very encouraging.
The British drivers had quite a productive test. As said, Jake Dennis was the fastest Aston Martin driver and completed over 160 laps on tuesday and wednesday combined. Jamie Green, for Audi, completed just over a 100 laps on wednesday and thursday, with a second place on thursday as a best result. Finally, Paul Di Resta completed over 160 laps as well in his new Aston, just two tenths of a second shy of Jake Dennis' time on wednesday.
Friday 3rd of May, the first session is planned at 12.10 GMT. Race 1 is scheduled for Saturday 12.30 GMT. By then we know if Aston Martin as a newcomer can take on the German Giants BMW and Audi. Will Audi be as dominant as they were in the pre-season test? And what tricks will BMW have up its sleeve? One thing's for certain: we can look forward to the fastest DTM cars the world has ever seen, starting next weekend!