Maro Engel returned to the world of DTM last weekend for the first time in five years after leaving the series to pursue various GT drives. With limited preperation time pre-season Engel headed in to the new season with a few unknowns hanging over him.
“Obviously, one and a half test days with the car and the new tyres is the bare minimum. But I tried to blank that out and not to think too hard about results. The only thing that mattered was to do my job.” said Engel.
“Going into the race weekend, we couldn’t know exactly where we would stand vis à vis the others. We knew that we’d had a good test but also that we still had work to do. That’s why it was good to see that we were fully competitive. There were no real doubts, but I couldn’t be sure. I knew there was a certain gap in testing. I couldn’t be too sure, but there again, I didn’t have mega doubts either. Anyway, you can suddenly find yourself last on the grid in any DTM qualifying session, so it was a relief to see that we were competitive.”
His first race saw him finish down in seventeenth position but the second race of the weekend was a more promising result as he made the top-ten.
“It was great fun driving the car and working with the team. The atmosphere at the DTM season opener in Hockenheim is always one of the highlights of the season. What gave me the most pleasure, of course, was the fact that we have a good car. The hard work done by the team over the winter has clearly borne fruit.
“We have a strong car with which we can look forward to the rest of the season. From a team perspective, the weekend was very successful. Lucas won the first race and we lead all three championships. From my own personal point of view, I can also look back on a positive start, especially with regard to qualifying. Two Top Ten grid positions were a great way to get off the mark. That’s something I can build on. Then on Sunday, I also scored my first championship point. That was nice, but I could almost certainly have finished even higher.”
Despite commiting to the full season of DTM, Engel continues his sportscar duties and May is a very busy month for the German driver.
“These are four big occasions which I’m really looking forward to. May is a mega race month for me. It’s clearly a challenge, but so far I’ve always coped very well. The more you switch between vehicles, the better you adapt. Each car has its own characteristics and quirks that you have to factor into your driving. I’m now hoping that I’ll be as successful in doing that this year as I have been in the past.”