Difficult First DTM Test for Mercedes in Vallelunga


Credit: Sebastian Kawka

Mercedes AMG DTM‘s preparations for the 2018 DTM Series were compromised due to tricky weather conditions at Vallelunga.

Gary Paffett and Lucas Auer took turns in the cockpit, with the Briton at the wheel on Friday and the Austrian taking over on the Saturday.

“This year, there have been some big changes to the aerodynamic parts of the car, and there are also more standard parts. This should hopefully help to level the playing field – although that’s sometimes hard to imagine, with things being so tight in the DTM,” said Paffett. “The car did not feel amazingly different. It has a little less downforce, but it is still a DTM car. We have very limited time for testing this winter, so it’s important that we get the maximum out of what’s available.” 

Auer took to the wheel of the Mercedes on the rain-affected Saturday, due to the poor weather conditions the Austrian only completed 14 laps in the morning before an excursion into the barriers brought the day to a premature end.

“I made a mistake and crashed the car. I apologise to the team and especially to Pascal [Wehrlein],” said Auer. “But now I’m looking ahead and feeling excited about the next test.” 

The plan had been for Wehrlein participate in his first DTM test since 2015 but that had to put on hold until the next test at Hockenheim 9-12 April.