Not only were the temperatures high, the action on the track was also hot. At the end of the practice day at Lausitzring Turn 1 powered by Autohero, the lap times of the four fastest DTM drivers from three different brands on the 4.601 kilometer circuit were eight hundredths of a second apart.
The fastest driver of the day was two-time (2014, 2016) champion Marco Wittmann (GER), who completed his fastest lap on the circuit between Dresden and Berlin in 1m 32.035s.
In the first free practice session in the morning, the 29 world class drivers already shone with strong lap times, led by Swiss Nico Müller (Team Rosberg, Audi), the winner of Sunday’s race at the season opener in Portimão. The two drivers of the SSR Performance Porsche team, Laurens Vanthoor (BEL) and Dennis Olsen (NOR) also performed strongly and started the race weekend with the second and fourth fastest time respectively. Between them was Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) driving the Schubert BMW, which had been at the top of the timesheets for a long time in the second free practice session, until his car got stuck on track with about 17 minutes left on the track and had to be salvaged. The practice was briefly interrupted.
“Being able to start the weekend with a good feeling is always nice, but I hope we can keep that up until tomorrow,” says Wittmann. “We had a good program with long runs and a qualifying simulation with fresh tyres. I’m comfortable, I’m doing well and I hope it stays that way tomorrow. Turn 1 is a fast corner, driving is always an experience. The trick will be to bring the tires into the race over the distance, especially the front tires.” Behind Wittmann, Sheldon van der Linde completed the 1-2 for BMW despite his early retirement, followed by Dennis Olsen with the SSR Porsche and the two GruppeM Mercedes drivers Maro Engel (GER) and Mikaël Grenier (CAN).
DTM Trophy: Frenchman Cauhaupé fastest
The fastest driver of the day in the DTM Trophy was Frenchman Edouard Cauhaupé, who topped the times in both free practice sessions with the Mercedes-AMG of the BWT Mücke Motorsport team from Berlin. His time of 1m 42.134s in the first practice was the fastest of the day. Next up were Thiago Vivaqua (BRA, Heide-Motorsport, Audi), Rodrigo Diaz Almeida (MOZ, BWT Mücke Motorsport, Mercedes-AMG), Ricky Capo (NZL, KÜS Team Bernhard, Porsche) and the two BMW drivers from Project 1 team, Colin Caresani (NED) and Louis Henkefend (GER), the winner of last year’s BMW M2 Cup title. That made it drivers from six different countries with four different brands in the top six. The talent pool on the DTM platform starts its new season on Lausitzring Turn 1 powered by Autohero.
DTM Classic, BMW M2 Cup, Red Bull 2-seater
The DTM Classic Cup, new for this year, also has its season opener at Lausitzring Turn 1 powered by Autohero. Fascinating cars from DTM’s rich history, from the Opel Calibra once driven by ex-Formula 1 World Champion Keke Rosberg, and Ford Sierra RS 500 Cosworth to the legendary BMW M3 already sparked excitement during practice day in Lusatia. The entry-level BMW M2 Cup for one brand also has its first two races of the season this weekend. Also present: Red Bull’s spectacular and loud Formula 1 two-seater.