The final official ITR test day concluded on Thursday ahead of the season opener in just over a fortnight’s time, as Mercedes-Benz started to show a turnaround in pace. Robert Wickens took top honours overall, being the only driver to set a time under the 1 minute 33 mark with a 1:32.845.
Defending champion Mike Rockenfeller was second best to the Canadian, who had his best season in 2013 in terms of podiums and race wins, with Britain’s Gary Paffett completing the top three.
Adrien Tambay, who is set for more success in 2014 in the new Playboy livery his Audi RS5 DTM sports, was the second fastest Audi driver, ahead of Jamie Green, with Augusto Farfus recording the best time for BMW Motorsport in sixth.
2012 Champion Bruno Spengler was down in seventh, with his fastest time being just under eight tenths of a second slower than his fellow countryman. Maxime Martin recorded the eighth fastest time, just a fraction ahead of Mattias Ekström, with Vitaly Petrov and Antonio Felix da Costa bringing up the rear.
Over the course of the four-day test, BMW’s Marco Wittmann was the fastest driver, with no one else able to better his time of 1:32.132. Spengler had completed the most mileage for the Munich outfit today, racking up over 1360 kilometers during his two days of running in the M4 DTM, and completed 174 laps in total during the final test day.
Green completed the most laps of any Ingolstadt driver with 247 laps with Petrov doing the most in any of the C-Class AMG Coupes with 243 laps.
Rockenfeller admitted that the tests as always are important when it comes to the beginning of a new season, especially when he has to fight off those that are looking to take his title from him: “At the end of the last day, I had a pretty good long run that makes me feel optimistic: We made steps in the right direction. Now we’ve got to take a look at everything, analyze and draw the right conclusions for the first race. I’m eager to see where we stand when everybody shows their abilities.”
Spengler explained that there is still much to be done ahead of the season opener in the first weekend of May, and was also one to point out that no one is showing yet what they are capable of: “We will analyse all the data we collected during testing in great detail over the next three weeks in the run up to the opening race at the Hockenheimring. It is still hard to say how strong we will be with the new car in 2014. However, one thing is certain: we will be well prepared come the start of the new season.”
It is anyone’s guess as to what will happen at Hockenheim in just 16 days, as a lot could break the surface when the twenty-three drivers and the three manufacturers go into combat. We’ll have to wait with baited breath.