Wickens Sets Barcelona Alight Topping DTM Test Day 1


We are in the final stretch, heading towards the first battle on track between three premium car brands, that see the DTM as their battle ground over 10 race weekends between May and October this year, with V8 power again fuelling their title aspirations.

Radiant sunshine blazed down in the Spanish city of Barcelona, as the Circuit de Catalunya became the setting for the first day of pre-season action, as Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, BMW Motorsport and Audi Sport brought their 2013-spec cars to the 2.977km track, with temperatures hitting 18° C, providing optimum running conditions for all.

Canada’s Robert Wickens and his STIHL Mercedes-Benz C-Class AMG Coupe went fastest of the day, with a 1:06.735, with 2011 Champion Martin Tomczyk completing the most laps of the day with 170 covering over 500 kilometers in the process, but was only 0.052 seconds away from the Toronto native.

2010 Le Mans winner and Audi DTM stalwart, Mike Rockenfeller was fastest out of all from Ingolstadt, with a 1:07.70 lap time. He said that the DRS rear wing “worked flawlessly,” and was suitably impressed by the impact it has on the RS 5 DTM’s overall performance. The German was able to complete most of the scheduled testing for the day’ s activities, and said that there was more still to do: “Basically, I’m rather happy with our achievements but with the option tyres and the DRS, assessing the times is extremely difficult. After all, you don’t know what is used by whom and when.”

He also praised the fact that technical changes via the DRS and option tyres were being brought into the series, so as to improve the racing overall: “Anything that has got what it takes to even improve the DTM racing is a good idea. It’s an effort to make for additional overtaking opportunities. That’s great for us drivers and – in the end – for the spectators, too.”

Last year’s champion, Bruno Spengler, was also quick to praise the way the new changes have altered the dynamics of the new DTM cars, which have clearly evolved during the off-season, as well as assessing the new option tyres, which makes these tests vital to getting the best out of the cars: That’s something you have to accustom to and you have to focus on finding the limit lap by lap. Therefore, the tests here at Barcelona – and the ones in three weeks at Hockenheim too – are so important.”

Gary Paffett, the most experienced driver in this season’s reduced line-up for Mercedes-Benz, was clearly excited about getting back to business for 2013. The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes test driver said that Stuttgart had done a great job of getting the car ready for the tests, and had no mechanical or electrical problems in his test schedule for the day: “It goes without saying that there still is work to do but I think that we once again have got a highly competitive car for the forthcoming season.”

In light of Official Tyre Partner Hankook’s addition to the tyre compounds for this season, the new option tyre will be clearly noticeable by the yellow marking on the outer sidewall, and looks to give drivers anywhere up to a second and a half improvement on their lap times, but each slick tyre compound must be used during the race.

The tyre will be able to sustain its high performance grip range for around 40 kilometers, before they hit the “cliff,” and clearly drop off drastically. But this will ultimately depend on whether mandatory tyre stops will be made during the respective 10 racetracks the drivers will race on this season, as tyre batches will be sealed until first practice is set to get underway, when Hankook will issue them to the team.

Testing resumes on day 2, when some of the other drivers, including Timo Scheider and Marco Wittmann, get their chance to get their final preparations underway in their respective offices for 2013…

Pos Driver Car Time Laps
1 Robert Wickens (CAN) Mercedes-Benz  1:06.735 148
2 Martin Tomczyk (GER) BMW 1:06.787 170
3 Daniel Juncadella (ESP) Mercedes-Benz 1:06.857 127
4 Mike Rockenfeller (GER) Audi 1:07.070 148
5 Bruno Spengler (CAN) BMW 1:07.100 159
6 Gary Paffett (GBR) Mercedes-Benz 1:07.374 101
7 Jamie Green (GBR) Audi 1:07.428 88
8 Adrien Tambay (FRA) Audi 1:07.536 130
9 Augusto Farfus (BRA) BMW 1:07.615 106
10 Timo Glock (GER) BMW 1:07.909 106
11 Filipe Albuquerque (POR) Audi 1:08.000 122