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Wickens tops times in first DTM test session as DRS debuts

Wednesday, March 27 2013

Robert Wickens topped the times for Mercedes on the opening day of DTM testing at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya yesterday (Tuesday), ahead of the new season, which visits Brands Hatch on 18/19 May.

The Canadian driver headed 2011 champion Martin Tomczyk's BMW by just five hundredths of a second at the test, which was run on the short version of the Spanish circuit. However his day was not without incident and was forced to park the Mercedes out on the circuit with just minutes remaining.

F3 Euroseries champion Daniel Juncadella's Mercedes was third, ahead of his debut season in the DTM, whilst Mike Rockenfeller was fastest Audi in fourth place, after heading the morning session. Reigning DTM champion Bruno Spengler was fifth for BMW.

Title runner-up Gary Paffett was sixth fastest, just ahead of former team mate and now Audi rival Jamie Green. The British pair are expected to go head-to-head for the championship this year, with Paffett aiming to make up for losing out to Spengler by just a single point in 2012.

An enthusiastic Paffett said: "The car handles really well and we could complete our testing programme as scheduled and without encountering any problems. The team did a fantastic job in the off-season. It goes without saying that there still is work to do but I think that we once again have got a highly competitive car for the forthcoming season."

Former Formula 1 driver Timo Glock was tenth for BMW and will be embarking upon his debut season of racing in the DTM this year.

The test was also the first chance for teams to acclimatise to new rules aimed at spicing up the racing. Following on from F1's lead, the cars have been fitted with a Drag Reduction System (DRS), that lowers the angle of the rear wing, increasing speed on the straights for drivers poised to overtake their opponents. All three manufacturers took the opportunity to try out the concept, meanwhile official tyre supplier Hankook also brought along a refined soft compound option tyre that will be used in races throughout the season.

"Of course, the new option tyres and the DRS made for extra excitement," champion Spengler said. When it comes to the tyres, we took a close look on the impact the new spec makes over a longer distance. And we learned a lot by doing so. The DRS quite obviously is big fun for a racing driver. You clearly feel that you can change up earlier and that the top speed on the straights is higher."

DTM Barcelona test times

1, Robert Wickens, Mercedes, 1m06.735s
2, Martin Tomczyk, BMW, +0.052s
3, Daniel Juncadella, Mercedes, +0.122s
4, Mike Rockenfeller, Audi, +0.335s
5, Bruno Spengler, BMW, +0.365s
6, Gary Paffett, Mercedes, +0.639s
7, Jamie Green, Audi, +0.693s
8, Adrien Tambay, Audi, +0.801s
9, Augusto Farfus, BMW, +0.880s
10, Timo Glock, BMW, +1.174s

Tickets for the DTM at Brands Hatch on 18/19 May are available from £29, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.