First fastest time for SSR Performance Porsche in DTM: Norwegian Dennis Olsen finished fastest on the second day of the second official DTM test in Portimão.
Driving the Porsche 911 of the Munich-based SSR Performance team, Olsen completed his fastest lap of the 4,563 kilometer Formula 1 circuit on the Algarve coast in 1m 41,378s. The best placed Audi driver, Swiss Nico Müller (Team Rosberg) finished in second place with 1m 41.647s, followed by Nicki Thiim with T3 Motorsport’s Lamborghini Huracán (1m 41.690s).
Nine-time world rally champion Sébastien Loeb (FRA) prepared for his DTM debut this weekend with 75 laps in the Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse Ferrari, only three drivers completed more laps on Wednesday. With a record field of 29 drivers from 15 countries and race cars from six brands, DTM will start its 36th season with the first two of this year’s 16 races. In German-speaking countries, ProSieben will broadcast live on Saturday as part of its “Super Motorsport Samstag” from 12:30 pm with Formula E immediately after DTM, and on Sunday from 1:00 pm CEST.
Under ideal testing conditions with temperatures just below 20 degrees, the second and final day of testing prior to the season opener provided the first interesting encounter. At the end of the five-hour test, which just like the previous day ended when darkness fell at 9 p.m. local time, the lap times of 23 of the 29 drivers were within one second. Like Tuesday, Luca Stolz (GER) of the championship-winning HRT team emerged as the fastest Mercedes-AMG driver, finishing eighth with a time of 1m 41.926, followed immediately by South African Sheldon van der Linde (Schubert Motorsport) with the best-placement new BMW M4 (1m 41,971s). Brazilian Felipe Fraga finished in eleventh place with the Red Bull Ferrari (1m 42.005s). Two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann (GER) interrupted the test with an excursion with his Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M4.
“These were two good days,” noted 26-year-old Dennis Olsen. “At the end of the day we set a good lap time and above all achieved a good balance in the car. Being on top is always nice, even if it was just a test. Anyway, I’m very excited to be in the DTM. With Olsen on Wednesday and Swiss Ricardo Feller (Audi, Team ABT Sportsline), two DTM newcomers were the fastest drivers on the two days. Nico Müller, runner-up in the DTM 2020, came to a positive conclusion: “I am more satisfied with the second day of testing than with the previous day because I was able to complete more laps. However, you should not overestimate the result, because these were only test days and not everyone has put all the cards on the table yet.” Drivers and teams will show their full potential in the first qualifying session on Saturday morning at the latest.
Nicki Thiim has always dreamed of one day building on the great career of his father Kurt (champion in 1986, 19 wins and 16 pole positions from 211 races). Now the 33-year-old, who was already a two-time GT Endurance World Champion as a factory driver with Aston Martin, has finally arrived in DTM. His joy was plain to hear for all to hear. “This was an incredible day for me and I think for my team. Mentally I’m done with it because of the many laps. Our car is brand new, so we had to put in a lot of miles to fix the teething problems,” said an emotional Nicki Thiim, who drives a Lamborghini Huracán of the T3 Motorsport team from Dresden. “Thursday I have a day off, but the guys still have to work hard, take the car completely apart and rebuild it.” Like his father Kurt Thiim, who was back on site to watch the test and is always good for a nice quote, Nicki Thiim, when asked about the transition to the Italian sports car, said: “That’s a car and it has four wheels and a steering wheel.”
Sébastian Loeb took over the Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse Ferrari with starting number 37 on the second day of testing. In Portimão, the Frenchman replaces regular driver Nick Cassidy (NZL). “It went pretty well. I have a pretty good feeling for this track and for the car. Now it’s about finding a good set-up and a good rhythm.” On Wednesday, more productive than Loeb with 75 laps were only American Dev Gore (Audi R8/Team Rosberg) with 85, Dennis Olsen with 80 and the youngest driver in the field, Marius Zug (GER), with 79 laps in the Attempto Racing Audi r8.
The teams have one day left to prepare for the highly anticipated DTM opener. On Friday, two free practices are scheduled, followed by one qualifying and one race with a duration of 55 minutes plus one lap including mandatory pit stop with timed tire change on both Saturday and Sunday.