by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

DTM Norisring 2013: Complete Report

I. Preview of the fifth DTM round of the 2013 season at Nuremberg

On the occasion of the fifth race of the 2013 DTM season – the standout fixture at the Norisring – Mercedes-Benz will be celebrating a quarter century of involvement in the series. To mark the anniversary, Mercedes-Benz will be staging a parade through the streets of Nuremberg of the various models it has entered over the years, driven by members of its squad, past and present. The public display commences at 4.05pm on Saturday, with a repeat showing at 11.50am on Sunday.

The guest drivers will include former Mercedes-Benz DTM stars Klaus Ludwig, Bernd Schneider, Roland Asch, Bernd Mayländer and David Coulthard. Also attending the anniversary event will be the three most successful drivers in the history of the competition: Bernd Schneider (43 wins), Klaus Ludwig (36 wins) and Gary Paffett (20 wins).

DTM anniversary: For the past quarter century, Mercedes-Benz has been involved as a manufacturer in the world’s most popular touring car series, having sent its first works team into DTM action on 3rd March 1988. In the intervening 25 years, the marque with the three-pointed star has won 169 races, ten drivers’ championships and thirteen team titles, as well as finishing nine times as top constructor. This makes Mercedes-Benz the most successful manufacturer in the history of the DTM.

About the track: The Norisring is the only street circuit on the DTM calendar, and at only 2,300 metres in length, it is the second shortest track of the year. The race is held over 83 laps, which corresponds to a total distance of 190.9 kilometres.

Behind the scenes: Just like at the Lausitzring, Mercedes-Benz has invited 100 fans (plus one companion each) to join them in the paddock hospitality suite on the Friday night preceding the race weekend. Those lucky enough to be selected will have the opportunity to meet the Mercedes-Benz DTM drivers in person and in an informal setting. Information about the Mercedes-Benz ‘Fantreff’ can be found on the official website at and on

Comments on the DTM race at the Norisring

Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):

- secured his 20th DTM win at the Lausitzring
- won the Nuremberg race in the 2004 and 2005 seasons

“The Norisring is a very special fixture on the calendar and quite unlike any of the other DTM circuits. I enjoy racing around the streets of Nuremberg, and last year, I started from pole position. Unfortunately, I got spun round on the first corner, but after that, I drove a strong race, moving 18 positions up the field, and still finished fourth. Following my victory in the previous race at the Lausitzring, I’m feeling optimistic now about our chances of victory at the Norisring. In the championship, I’m currently in third place. With six races to go, we still have every chance of winning the title this season, which also happens to be Mercedes-Benz’s 25th in the competition.”

Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):

- the podium at the Lausitzring was his second of the current season
- has already won two races at Nuremberg in the Formula 3 Euro Series (2008 and 2009)

“When I claimed my first pole position and my second podium in the DTM at the Lausitzring, we showed that we have a fast car for both qualifying and race purposes. We always knew that we had a good car and that it was just a matter of getting the setup right. Well, we did that at the Lausitzring. When I got in the car on Saturday morning, it was like driving an express train. That was a great feeling. We intend to build on that at the Norisring. The street circuit in Nuremberg is not exactly one of my favourites, but the atmosphere is perhaps the most electric of the entire year. The Norisring is traditionally a happy hunting ground for Mercedes-Benz. Ten wins in a row speak for themselves, and I think we are contenders for the win yet again this year.”

Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):

- currently seventh in the standings on 27 points
- scored his first ever DTM points in last year’s race at the Norisring

“The team and I had a really good weekend at the Lausitzring, with a strong team performance on both days. In recent weeks, we have been hard at work aiming to build on this performance after the summer break and to achieve a similar measure of success at the Norisring. My target for Nuremberg is to be battling it out with the front-runners once again and to take up where I left off last year – I had quite a respectable result on this circuit. The standard of competition in the DTM is consistently high each race weekend, but with the Norisring being so short, that makes it even tougher. Here, even the tiniest error is punished in terms of grid position or early elimination. But that just increases my anticipation of the challenge ahead.”

Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):

- scored his first DTM points with a P6 finish at the Lausitzring
- has stood on the Nuremberg podium twice after Top Three results in the Formula 3 Euro Series

“I know the Norisring from my time in the Formula 3 Euro Series, and I’ve already had the satisfaction of appearing twice on the podium there. After my first points finish in the DTM points in the previous race at the Lausitzring, I want to carry on in the same vein at Nuremberg and finish in the Top Ten again. My race pace has been quite good over the first four weekends, especially on the option tyres which are playing a crucial role in this year’s race strategy. If you can manage your tyres skilfully to stay out on the options for as long as possible, you have a distinct advantage and one that may be especially decisive at the Norisring.”

Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):

- is already acquainted with the Norisring podium from contesting the 2013 Formula 3 Euro Series

“The Norisring is an attractive street circuit, and it is where I secured my maiden Formula 3 podium last year. After four races, I’ve settled in well in the DTM and at Mercedes-Benz. On balance, I could certainly have scored more points this season. All the same, I’m happy with my performance so far, because I started off without much experience, but I was still reasonably competitive on those first four weekends. As for the races in the second half of the season, I’m aiming to finish in the points on a regular basis – starting with the Norisring.”

Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):

- finished among the points at the Lausitzring for the second time this season
- has already appeared twice on the Norisring podium as a contestant in the Formula 3 Euro Series

“Nuremberg counts as the home race for my sponsor THOMAS SABO which has its headquarters not far away in the town of Lauf an der Pegnitz. The Norisring track layout may look straightforward, but it is extremely demanding. In order to set a fast lap, you have to drive as close to the barriers as you dare, bearing in mind that the slightest mistake can knock you out of the race. This short street circuit is especially tough on the brakes. In the last race at the Lausitzring, my pace was not at all bad, so I’m hoping to continue our progress at the Norisring and score a few more points in my THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“The race at the Norisring is generally considered to be one of the highlights of every DTM season, and I couldn’t imagine a better venue than this historic circuit at Dutzendteich to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz’s involvement in the DTM. In the quarter century since Mercedes-Benz first entered a works team, we have recorded many a race win on the Norisring, most recently ten in a row. So it would be all the more satisfying if we were to continue this run of results on the occasion of our anniversary, building on the victory posted by Gary Paffett a month ago at the Lausitzring. In Gary, Christian Vietoris and Robert Wickens, we have had three of our six drivers appearing on the podium this year, and the other three have already shown that they too have the potential for top results. I am especially looking forward to meeting up with all the drivers from the past twenty-five years of DTM racing who will revive many fond memories of great DTM high points from the past when they parade their classic cars Mercedes-Benz through the streets of Nuremberg.”

II. Saturday's Qualifying Report: First DTM pole for Mercedes Junior Robert Wickens

In the standout race of the DTM season around the streets of Nuremberg, Mercedes-Benz Junior Robert Wickens (STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) has claimed the first pole position of his DTM career. The Canadian, who has now reached the Q4 shootout three times out of five in the current campaign, booked the front slot on the grid for Sunday’s race with a lap time of 48.384 seconds.

Mercedes-Benz team-mate Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) is placed directly behind Wickens in the starting line-up for the fifth race of the season at the Norisring. Currently third in the championship, Paffett came home in third position with a time of 48.460 seconds.

Mercedes Junior Pascal Wehrlein (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) will be on the third row for the start of his fifth DTM race. He secured fifth position with a lap time of 48.356 seconds. His team-mates Daniel Juncadella (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 48.410 seconds) and Christian Vietoris (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 48.485 seconds) will line up in positions seven and ten respectively on the grid. Seventh place is Juncadella’s best ever starting position in the DTM to date.

Roberto Merhi (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 48.848 seconds) will be in 21st position on the grid in the fifth race of the 2013 DTM season on Sunday. The Spaniard missed progressing to the second segment of qualifying by 0.135 seconds. Just half a second covered all 22 drivers in Q1.

DTM special anniversary: Mercedes-Benz is celebrating its 25th anniversary in the world’s most popular touring car series here at the Norisring. Taking part in the celebrations will be a number of stars from the past – former Mercedes-Benz DTM drivers and greats – Klaus Ludwig, Bernd Schneider and Roland Asch to name but a few. On Saturday after qualifying, Mercedes-Benz put on a parade of classic DTM cars from various periods in the past 25 years. On Sunday at 11:50 clock, there will be another parade with the DTM legends.

Looking ahead to the race: The fifth race of the DTM season starts on Sunday at 1:30pm (live on ARD television, beginning at 1:15pm). This fixture at the street circuit in Nuremberg that marks the half-way stage in the DTM season will cover 83 laps and a total distance of 190.900km.

Comments after Qualifying

Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Pole position, (48.384)
“The Norisring is a very special circuit for me. I scored my very first DTM points here in last year’s race, and now it’s the place where I secured my first DTM pole position. That’s a fabulous feeling. I knew that my lap was strong, but I wasn’t sure if my lap time would be enough for pole. As I was getting out of the car, I couldn’t hear anything on the radio, but Gary came up to me and said: ‘Excellent, P1’! At first, I was speechless. Now I’m going to concentrate on getting off to a good start, and hopefully things will carry on like this tomorrow. When you start from pole, you obviously want to finish on the podium.”

Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Third, (48.460)
“That was a brilliant performance by Robert. He drove very fast from the very first minute of practice. With the relatively small amount of time allocated to practice this year, it is difficult to pick out major changes to the vehicle. I kept improving as the day progressed, but Robert was a bit faster than me in qualifying. Five Mercedes-Benz drivers in the Top 10 is a fantastic team result for us. The entire team is currently producing first-class work. The gaps between drivers are always very close at the Norisring and you have to post a perfect lap in order to book the top slot. So, third place is a decent result for me in view of that fact. As regards to strategy, tyres and DRS, everything in the race is still wide open. We have a strong car and hopefully, we'll be battling for victory again tomorrow.”

Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Fifth, (48.356)
“On balance, that counts as a good qualifying session from my perspective. In fact, fifth place probably exceeds expectations. Consequently, I’m highly satisfied with the result, even though it’s obviously a shame to have missed out on the final qualifying segment by such a small margin. However, I had only one set of fresh tyres left in Q3, which meant that I was slowly but surely pushed down to fifth. But despite all that, I can still achieve a lot tomorrow starting from this position.”

Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Seventh, (48.410)
“To be honest, I did not expect to do so well after the practice session which makes me all the more pleased with my result. Unfortunately, I locked up on the first two laps of the third qualifying segment, so the tyres were not at their best. Also, you need a little bit of luck on this circuit as the gaps between drivers are so close. But as I said, I’m very satisfied with seventh place on the grid and am extremely confident about tomorrow’s race since my race pace has always been good.”

Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Tenth, (48.485)
“My result is okay on the whole. I was in the top four in both of the first two qualifying segments but had problems changing down in Q3, causing me to lose a lot of time on the third sector. That’s also the reason why I missed progressing to Q4. We will sort the problem with the gearbox by tomorrow and then we’ll see what I can do in the race. Our speed makes me feel confident.”

Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 21st, (48.848)
„Unfortunately, I’ve no idea why I’ve been having such problems here after the successful weekend at the Lausitzring. Hopefully, we’ll manage to find some extra speed by tomorrow. I’m in a difficult situation, and to be honest, I’m hoping for rain tomorrow. One way or another, my target is now to improve my position as best as I can – with the right strategy and the use of DRS, that should possible. We’ve seen some crazy races already this year, so maybe luck will be on my side this time.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“Today went perfectly for us. Robert is in pole position the first time in his DTM career and five of our six drivers are in the Top 10 – that's a great team result. Our strategy of giving young drivers a chance is being repaid ever more handsomely as the season progresses. Robert appears to be in the swing now. We have always known that he has the speed, but now he is beginning to convert his form into top placings. Although competition at the Norisring is always tight, I am very satisfied with this Saturday’s qualifying. Still, we must be on guard in the race. Our car was fast today, but tomorrow it also depends on the pace on long runs and on having the right strategy and the use of DRS – we are not about to write off anyone, certainly not strong opponents like Audi and BMW.”

III. Sunday's Race Report - Triple victory for Mercedes-Benz at Norisring after stewards’ decision

Perfect end to the anniversary weekend as the Mercedes Juniors Robert Wickens (STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Christian Vietoris (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) and Daniel Juncadella (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) achieve a triple victory at the season standout event at the Norisring in Nuremberg in front of 126,000 spectators who attended over the entire race weekend. It was the first victory for a Mercedes Junior in the world’s most popular touring car series and doubly important, as it marks the 25th anniversary of the brand with the three-pointed star in the DTM. Since the first works entry on 3rd March 1988, Mercedes-Benz drivers have won 170 out of 358 races in the DTM/ITC.

Four of the five Mercedes-Benz Juniors secured places in the top sixth at the Norisring. After achieving a third at Brands Hatch, Canadian driver Wickens finished on the podium for the second time this year. After the season opener at Hockenheim and the Lausitzring, this was the third podium finish of the season for Vietoris. Vietoris also set the fastest lap time of 48.572 seconds at the Norisring on Lap 9.

In his fifth DTM race, Spanish driver Juncadella secured his first podium finish in the series behind his two Mercedes-Benz team mates. Roberto Merhi (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), also from Spain, finished in the points in P6 at the home race of his car’s sponsor, THOMAS SABO, whose headquarters are in Lauf an der Pegnitz, not far from Nuremberg.

Gary Paffett’s race came to an abrupt end on the last couple of laps after a double collision with Audi driver Edoardo Mortara, just as he seemed destined for a podium finish. The most successful of the current crop of DTM drivers was classed 17th. Paffett got both of his mandatory pit stops out of the way during a safety car period, and his long stint on the prime tyres gave him an excellent chance of victory, despite a drive-through penalty for jumping the lights. Pascal Wehrlein (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) developed problems with the rear axle of his car after making contact with the wall and had to retire from the race.

Overall standings: At the halfway point in the 2013 DTM campaign, Christian Vietoris (58 points), Robert Wickens (52 points) and Gary Paffett (47 points) occupy positions three to five in the drivers’ standings. STIHL/AMG Mercedes lead the team competition on a score of 110 points. Mercedes-Benz is currently lying second in the constructors’ championship on 192 points.

The next race: The sixth race weekend of the season will be staged from 3th to 4th August 2013, as the DTM debuts at the Moscow Raceway in Russia.

Comments after the Race

Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Winner
“My first DTM victory, even though I’ve had to wait to get the result confirmed, I am, of course, thrilled to bits. Nevertheless, it was a close-fought race. There were two safety car periods, and we changed strategy after the second safety car phase, which my team and I thought would be good tactics. I started from pole, was in 14th place for a time and ultimately won the race – it was a tough race, but I overtook a few cars and enjoyed the feeling. Congratulations to our team: Four drivers in the points is a good team result. It's just a shame what happened to Gary at the end of the race, but I'm happy with my result.”

Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 2nd place
“After the difficulties I had on Saturday, that was a good race from my perspective. Although I was unable to extract the full potential from my car in qualifying, our strategy in today’s race paid off. I’d like to thank my team for doing such a fantastic job. They sent me back out on the option tyres, which gave me excellent pace. It meant I was able to battle my way up to the front towards the end when a lot of the other drivers were developing problems with their brakes and tyres. The high temperatures didn’t cause me any difficulties during the race. Although my water bottle wasn’t working, I didn’t experience any physical problems over the 83 laps.”

Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 3rd place
“The start didn’t go too well for me, and I got off the line relatively slowly. We now need to look into the reasons for that. Then, I just concentrated on avoiding collisions and on keeping my cool, because a race at the Norisring involves a lot of laps and there is always plenty of scope for surprises. We had a really strong strategy, and my race pace on the option tyres was fantastic. I didn’t push at any stage but just controlled my speed to conserve the tyres. Unfortunately, I made a minor error when I was just behind Gary, which left a gap for Christian and Mike Rockenfeller to get through. However, it didn’t matter in the end. I am really thrilled with my first podium in the DTM. I feel sorry for Gary, because that was a completely unnecessary manoeuvre from Edoardo Mortara.”

Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 6th place
“An interesting race with the safety car coming out twice and at times, I didn’t know what position I was actually in. My start was pretty good and I moved up a few positions. I was really fast in the early stages of the race. Then I drove a long stint on the option tyres, so I was not quite as fast towards the end of the race. It's a great result to have finished the race in sixth place, having started from P20. However, I had hoped for more, and will do everything possible to achieve a better position on the grid for the start of the next race at the Moscow Raceway. My THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé functioned faultlessly today, so I can’t wait for the next fixture.”

Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 17th place
“That certainly wasn’t the outcome that I’d had in mind. From my perspective, it was a difficult race involving two safety car phases, a drive-through penalty and an enforced change of strategy. Even so, I was in with a chance of the win right through to the last couple of laps. I overtook Edoardo Mortara on his final pit stop, but then he misbraked and drove into the back of me. He was clearly at fault. When we collided for the second time, I was on the inside and he drove into me again. Unfortunately, that was definitely not the way I wanted today’s race to turn out. But there is still everything to play for. After all, it’s only the halfway point in the DTM season, but the fact is that I’ve lost vital points today in the title chase.”

Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): retired
It's disappointing that I had to drop out of the race prematurely, especially after making such a good start, moving up to third position. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a problem with my first change of tyres, and things didn’t get any better for me after that. Now it’s time to draw a line under events in this race and aim to do better next time. I was in a scrap with Molina, who was to my left, as I made a move to pass on turn two. We made contact, which resulted in me hitting the wall on turn three.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“Following the stewards’ decision, I would wish to congratulate Robert on his maiden DTM victory. Three Mercedes Juniors in the top three places – that’s a very good result. Robert, Christian and Daniel produced an incredibly strong performance to mark the 25th anniversary of our brand in the DTM which we celebrated this weekend in Nuremberg along with many legendary Mercedes-Benz DTM drivers. Our decision to promote young drivers was actually made for the long-term, but it is now already paying dividends this season. Roberto rounded off this result with sixth place and Pascal too could have been up there among the front-runners but for the problems he suffered – still, all things considered, this is a good team result for Mercedes-Benz. For us, it was a bitter blow to see Gary knocked out of the race just before the end. The important thing is that spectators here at the Norisring and sitting at home in front of their TV sets have seen an incredibly exciting and entertaining touring car race. This race was the best advertisement ever for the DTM.”

Credits: Daimler AG

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