First blood to Mercedes as new DTM season kicks off

Credit: ACPhotocorse
Credit: ACPhotocorse

Mercedes AMG took first blood of the 2017 DTM season as Paul Di Resta topped the first practice session at Hockenheim.

It was another Brit in a Mercedes, Gary Paffett, who led the way for the majority of the session but would ultimately be pipped to the top spot by Di Resta by 0.110 seconds, with Audi’s Mike Rockenfeller in third place with Audi stable-mate Jamie Green in fourth.

“We still have a lot of work to do. This didn’t really say much,” said Rockenfeller. “Now, we will sit down and see what we can still improve. I am happy that I am among the drivers up front. The basis is good,”

Lucas Auer finished the session in fifth place ahead of Audi’s René Rast and Mattias Ekström. BMW spent half of the session in the pits after sending Tom Blomqvist out for an installation lap, the Brit would finish as the best placed BMW driver in eighth place, just ahead of Mercedes’ Robert Wickens and BMW team-mate Timo Glock rounding out the top ten.

It was a fairly straight forward session with only Maro Engel suffering from an off-track excursion after missing his breaking point at turn 6, The Mercedes driver was able to recover unaided.

Maxime Martin was forced to sit out the majority of the session due to a technical issue, he finally made it out on track at the end of the session to complete an installation lap without setting a lap time.

Reigning champion Marco Wittmann could only manage fourteenth place, over a second off pace while Edoardo Mortara struggled on his first session for Mercedes; While changing tyre in the final five minutes of the session one of his mechanics knocked the left mirror from the car, consigning him to the pits for the remainder.

At the end of the session the drivers rehearsed their rolling starts as the championship brings in a new format for starting from behind the safety car the 2017 season.