A 1-2 for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing in opening DTM weekend at Portimão

May 1, 2022
Portimão

Lucas Auer (AUT) for Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD and Luca Stolz (GER) for Mercedes-AMG Team HRT have started the new DTM year with a 1-2. Initially, the two Mercedes-AMG Performance Drivers had started the season-opening race at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve from third and eighth place on the grid. By virtue of clever strategies and swift responses after a safety car restart, the duo moved up into the lead of the field a few laps before the end and subsequently brought the 1-2 home in commanding fashion. In the race on Sunday, last year’s champion Maximilian Götz (GER) secured the best result for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing in fifth place. On Saturday, the 36-year-old had just missed out on his first points of the season by finishing eleventh.

  • A strong season start for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing in DTM opener at Portimão
  • Race 1: Lucas Auer and Luca Stolz score a deserved 1-2 on Saturday
  • Race 2: defending champion Maximilian Götz finishes in fifth place with the #1 Mercedes-AMG GT3

For its season opener, DTM visited the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve for the first time in its history this weekend. The track with a length of around 4.65 kilometres at Portimão in Portugal, marked by its demanding undulating sections in particular, already served as the venue for the official test sessions in the days prior to the event. The DTM field, the largest since the series’ comeback in 2000 with 29 cars, was accordingly well-prepared going into first qualifying on Saturday morning.

Mikaël Grenier posts second-fastest time in his maiden DTM qualifying

In the 20-minute qualifying, Mikaël Grenier (CAN) for Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing sensationally secured second place on the grid, only 0.011 seconds down on the pole-winning time. The DTM newcomer is racing a Mercedes-AMG GT3 sporting a special livery at the occasion of the 55th anniversary of Mercedes-AMG, evocative of the founding of the performance and sports car brand in the year 1967 with inspiring colours, an eye-catching brand logo on the side of the car and starting number 55.

In qualifying with an unpredictable outcome as 24 drivers ended up within one second, Lucas Auer was classified third with his #22 Mercedes-AMG GT4 run by Mercedes-AMG Teams WINWARD, immediately behind Grenier. DTM returnee Maro Engel (GER) for Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing (#88) in sixth, Luca Stolz for Mercedes-AMG Team HRT (#4) in eighth and defending champion Maximilian Götz for Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD Racing (#1) in ninth place also ended up in the top ten, rounding out an altogether strong result for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing.

Thankfully, the race start in the afternoon remained without any major incidents in spite of the large number of cars, leaving the order unchanged for the time being. With a clean manoeuvre, however, Auer succeeded in claiming second place from his fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Mikaël Grenier on lap two. Subsequently, there wasn’t any further relevant position change until the first pit stops.

With his #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Luca Stolz was among the first to come in for fresh tyres on lap eight. The Mercedes-AMG Performance Driver, who was already able to get his first experience of racing in DTM as a guest driver in 2021, then upped the ante and worked his way up into fourth place. At this stage, he also drove the fastest lap of the race, something that is rewarded with an additional championship point as of this year.

A three-way lead for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing after safety car restart

As a result, three Mercedes-AMG GT3s were in second, third and fourth place as the safety car had to be deployed for the first time in this still fresh season on lap 19. The race leader having to deal with technical problems at the restart, Mikaël Grenier was forced to brake and therefore dropped out of the point-scoring positions in spite of his impressive performance.

Meanwhile, Lucas Auer, Luca Stolz and Maro Engel were able to benefit as they moved up to the front together. Austrian Auer subsequently drove his #22 Mercedes-AMG GT3 to his eighth DTM race win while Stolz and Mercedes-AMG Team HRT brought the outstanding 1-2 home by virtue of their impressive recovery drive. Engel on the other hand dropped back to tenth place following a five-second time penalty because the Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing’s pit crew had got ready too early for the pit stop.

Race 2: bad luck during pit stop prevents good result for Lucas Auer

In second qualifying of the weekend, Lucas Auer was able to confirm his achievement from the previous day and qualified fourth on the grid while Maximilian Götz started the Sunday race from tenth place. The driver of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 with starting number 1 made a good start in the 55-minute race in the afternoon and already was up in sixth position after only a few corners. In spite of his additional weight of 25 kilograms, Auer held on to fourth place.  

After 15 minutes, the first cars, including Auer’s #22 Mercedes-AMG GT3, came in for their pit stop. A defective air gun and as a result a wheel that hadn’t been mounted correctly forced the winner of the previous day’s race to come into the pits again one lap later. As a result, the Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD Racing driver dropped to the back of the field. At this turbulent stage of the race, teammate Götz, meanwhile, worked his way up to fifth place.

With conditions remaining the same, the race action subsequently increasingly settled down, also because overtaking turning out to be difficult at the circuit on the coast in the south of Portugal. As a result, Maximilian Götz achieved the best result of the day for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing in fifth place. Like on the previous day, Maro Engel finished tenth with his #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3, adding another championship point to his tally as a result.

Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams head to Lausitz with good memories

The second of this season’s eight DTM rounds will be held at Lausitzring from 20th till 22nd May. Most recently, the track in the Brandenburg region turned out to be a happy hunting ground for the Mercedes-AMG customer sport teams: following victory in the 2021 Saturday race for Philip Ellis (SUI), the eventual champion Maximilian Götz scored his maiden victory of the season on the following day and laid the foundation for his DTM drivers’ championship win as a result.

Thomas Jäger, Sporting Director DTM: “For Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing, Saturday was a perfect start of the season! We hadn’t expected to be able to start the season with a 1-2 straight away. On Sunday, we didn’t have luck by our side with Lucas Auer and Luca Stolz. Otherwise, there would have been more in store here as well. But all in all, this season opener is making us confident and has shown that with our Mercedes-AMG GT3 and our drivers and teams, we have the potential again this year to be in contention at the front.”

Lucas Auer, driver, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD #22: “On Saturday, it went really well. The first race of the new season and the first win straight away. Today, it went very well at first, too, but then the wheel wasn’t properly fixed during the pit stop and I had to come in once more. Unfortunately, that was the end of our race.”

Luca Stolz, driver, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT #4: “I have mixed feelings after this weekend. Of course, it went very well on Saturday, also because the guys had done a fantastic job during the pit stop. Qualifying this morning was promising, too. In the race, I didn’t have a good start and unfortunately had to park the car after the contact. Too bad as we would have been able to score good points again after yesterday. Nevertheless, we are confident going into the next races.”

Maximilian Götz, driver, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD Racing #1: “The Sunday race went better than expected. At the end of the day, I have to be happy with fifth place. On Saturday, it wasn’t easy for us, but today, we had a good pace. I was able to move up from tenth to fifth which is anything but evident in such a first-class field. We have shown that we are able to improve and that is a good basis for everything that is still to come.”

Maro Engel, driver, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing #88: “Qualifying was tough this morning, I was still struggling a bit with the balance. I think that we made the best of it with tenth place. We had a good strategy and our pit stop was strong once again. Now, we have one point but with a better qualifying, surely, more would have been in store.”

Result race 1, DTM, Autódromo Internacional do Algarve*:

POS

Nr.

Car

Team

Driver

1.

22

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD

Lucas Auer (AUT)

2.

4

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team HRT

Luca Stolz (GER)

3.

63

Lamborghini Huracán GT3

Grasser Racing Team

Mirko Bortolotti (ITA)

 

 

 

 

10.

88

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing

Maro Engel (GER)

11.

1

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD Racing

Maximilian Götz (GER)

15.

55

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing

Mikaël Grenier (CAN)

17.

36

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team HRT

Arjun Maini (IND)

19.

18

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team HRT

Maximilian Buhk (GER)

20.

27

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD

David Schumacher (GER)

* excerpt subject to confirmation by the organiser

Result race 2, DTM, Autódromo Internacional do Algarve *:

POS

Nr.

Car

Team

Driver

1.

51

Audi R8 LMS GT3

Team Rosberg

Nico Müller (SUI)

2.

74

Ferrari 488 GT3

Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse

Felipe Fraga (BRA)

3.

63

Lamborghini Huracán GT3

Grasser Racing Team

Mirko Bortolotti (ITA)

 

 

 

 

5.

1

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD Racing

Maximilian Götz (GER)

10.

88

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing

Maro Engel (GER)

13.

36

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team HRT

Arjun Maini (IND)

15.

27

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD

David Schumacher (GER)

17.

18

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team HRT

Maximilian Buhk (GER)

22.

22

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD

Lucas Auer (AUT)

DNF

55

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing

Mikaël Grenier (CAN)

DNF

4

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team HRT

Luca Stolz (GER)

* excerpt subject to confirmation by the organiser

#22 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD, #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT
Mercedes_AMG_DE_01_05_2022_Customer Racing_DTM_1
#22 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD
Mercedes_AMG_DE_01_05_2022_Customer Racing_DTM_2
Lucas Auer, #22 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD
Mercedes_AMG_DE_01_05_2022_Customer Racing_DTM_3
Luca Stolz, #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT and Lucas Auer, #22 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD
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Luca Stolz, #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT
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Lucas Auer, #22 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD
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#22 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD, #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT
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#55 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing
Mercedes_AMG_DE_01_05_2022_Customer Racing_DTM_8
#1 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD Racing
Mercedes_AMG_DE_01_05_2022_Customer Racing_DTM_9
#18 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team Mücke Motorsport
Mercedes_AMG_DE_01_05_2022_Customer Racing_DTM_11
#36 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT, #27 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD
Mercedes_AMG_DE_01_05_2022_Customer Racing_DTM_10
#88 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing
Mercedes_AMG_DE_01_05_2022_Customer Racing_DTM_12
Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Line-up, 2022 DTM season
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Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Line-up, 2022 DTM season
Mercedes_AMG_DE_01_05_2022_Customer Racing_DTM_14


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