The final day of the first test saw temperatures reach a high of 21.5 degrees for the four-day affair, as everyone behind the wheel and in the garages had completed several thousand kilometers of testing, getting to try and understand the slight nuances that would help via telemetry data, as well as the addition of the Hankook option tyres and the DRS being thrown into the mix, for all to be able to understand the way DTM is forging ahead for the coming season.
BMW Motorsport‘s Marco Wittmann showed good pace behind the wheel, and his rival rookie from Mercedes-Benz, Pascal Wehrlein, again got into the top three on the board for the last time the teams would test in the Spanish sun, with Christian Vietoris completing the top three, split by less than three tenths of a second.
2-time DTM Champion from 2008 and 2009, Audi Sport‘s Timo Scheider, was the highest-ranked driver form Ingolstadt, placing fourth, and was happy to be back at work after the long off-season lay off. He said that 90 percent of the scheduled test program was completed, as well as the German driver getting himself used to being behind the wheel of the RS 5 DTM: “Nonetheless, it is extremely difficult to make reliable assessments. It was sunny at warm, at times, and then again overcast and colder. Therefore, the track conditions differed a lot. On Friday afternoon I covered my first kilometres with the option tyres – and they represented a huge positive surprise. Driving the DTM car on these tyres is truly big fun. Afterwards, you just don’t want to switch back to the standard tyres. And the DRS also makes an impact. I think it was time for making some changes. The fans want to see overtaking manoeuvres and both the DRS and the option tyres will be helpful to achieve this goal.”
Andy Priaulx, who is now settling in at Team RMG, alongside new teammate and 2011 Champion, Martin Tomczyk, has found a good rhythm, and found it pleasant that he was able to be a part of the team, as the test progressed onwards for the Guernsey driver. He was complimentary of the new dynamic that the new option tyre brings into the mix of strategies the teams will have to work out this season: “ I definitely will leave Barcelona with a lot of positive experiences under my belt. The option tyre is quick and rather consistent. And when you go out again on the standard tyres after a stint on the options you have to re-adapt. That’s an interesting challenge.”
Vietoris, who now is heading into the 2013 season as the second most-experienced driver in the Mercedes-Benz line-up, found that the past two days running in the C-Class AMG Coupe without any technical issues, and helped the German driver to make the best of the time he had out on track and in the garage, but seemed to be slightly reserved on his judgement on the new DRS system that may be used this year: “The crew also cooperated fantastically and did a great job. I’ve also got a very positive feeling regarding the DRS but at this point in time it’s difficult to say how big the advantage will be, in the end.”
The teams now a small respite from testing, as 2012 runner-up Gary Paffett was quickest of all over the four days, followed by BMW’s Augusto Farfus, former Marussia F1 driver Timo Glock, with Witmann and Canada’s Robert Wickens rounding out the top five best times.
The reaction to both the DRS system and the new Hankook option tyres gave the drivers and teams lots of predominately positive information, that will be factored into the final four days of official ITR testing, which begins at Hockenheim on April 9th, which co-incidentally, will be the official DTM Media Day, with it all concluding on April 12th.
Testing shows us how the cars have evolved, as well as who to potentially look out for this season, be it either veterans or rookies, but is not really going to provide us with the whole story, until first practice at Hockenheim gets underway in May…
|1||Marco Wittmann (GER)||BMW||1:06.451||220|
|2||Pascal Wehrlein (GER)||Mercedes-Benz||1:06.687||165|
|3||Christian Vietoris (GER)||Mercedes-Benz||1:06.706||181|
|4||Timo Scheider (GER)||Audi||1:06.844||181|
|5||Miguel Molina (ESP)||Audi||1:07.112||155|
|6||Roberto Merhi (ESP)||Mercedes-Benz||1:07.200||174|
|7||Mattias Ekstrom (SWE)||Audi||1:07.354||149|
|8||Edoardo Mortara (ITA)||Audi||1:07.439||123|
|9||Joey Hand (USA)||BMW||1:07.537||187|
|10||Andy Priaulx (GBR)||BMW||1:07.839||171|
|11||Dirk Werner (GER)||BMW||1:08.099||178|