First points for the Aston Martin Vantage DTM in DTM season opener at Hockenheim

DTM debut in difficult weather conditions: Daniel Juncadella scores the first race points for R-Motorsport on their DTM debut with the new Aston Martin Vantage DTM.

On 4th May, exactly two months after the Aston Martin Vantage DTM made its track debut during the test week at Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain, the series newcomer notched up its first championship points in the opening race of the campaign at Hockenheim.

The circumstances were anything but favourable. The first race of the 2019 DTM season took place in steady rain which created tricky conditions. However, Daniel Juncadella (27, Spain) has seen it all before. The experienced Spaniard is commencing his sixth DTM season this year and is therefore accustomed to everything the series can throw at a driver. He opted for an early pit stop right after the opening lap in order to serve his mandatory pit stop. This call gave him clear visibility and an open road at this crucial opening stage of the race, which ultimately paid dividends in the form of a Top Ten finish. Daniel took the chequered flag in ninth place after 34 race laps, claiming the first two race points for R-Motorsport less than six months after the team embarked on its DTM project.

DTM rookie Jake Dennis (23, Great Britain) narrowly missed out on the points on his DTM debut. The Englishman had already put in a strong performance in qualifying, booking sixth position on the grid. Jake was on course for a points finish for much of the race until a clutch problem during his pit stop lost him crucial time. As a consequence he agonisingly missed out on a points scoring position in 11th.

Paul Di Resta (33, Great Britain) is contesting his tenth DTM season this year. The 2010 champion achieved a first triumph of the incipient season in the first qualifying session on Saturday morning: in challenging rainy conditions, the Scot took third place on the grid and thereby secured the first point of the year. In the race itself, Paul was initially able to assert his starting position but gradually dropped down the order until he was eventually forced to give up after 17 laps with brake problems.

Ferdinand von Habsburg’s (21, Austria) DTM debut unfortunately also came to a premature end. The Austrian had to park his car in the team garage after it developed a technical issue two laps into the race.

Debut marks the beginning of a new DTM era

As the 33rd season of the DTM got underway, there were two major changes on the previous campaign: it was the first outing for the new generation of vehicles with their two-litre turbo engines, and it was the debut of R-Motorsport in the touring car series.

The presence of the four Aston Martin Vantage DTM cars fielded by R-Motorsport also meant the arrival of four cars from a new manufacturer on the starting grid, the first time this has happened since the return of BMW in the 2012 season. It represents a tremendous feat by the team to have accomplished this in a record time of under six months, from the development stage to first competitive outing.

The second race of the season takes place tomorrow (Sunday). First on the programme at the Hockenheimring is the second qualifying session of the weekend (10:45 CEST, live coverage from 10:30 on ran.de). The second DTM race in the team’s as yet young history will start at the customary time of 13:30 CEST (live from 13:00 on SAT.1).

Comments after the race

Daniel Juncadella
Grid: P11
Race: P9
Start number: 23
Car: Aston Martin Vantage DTM
„All in all, that was a very tough day. I struggled to find the necessary grip in qualifying. The tyres never seemed to work properly, so P11 on the grid was the maximum that I could achieve, which I found a bit disappointing. However, I knew that everything was still possible in the race. I took a risk with strategy and pitted after the very first lap. That was a good decision. In the end, we were off the pace as compared to the front-runners, but P9 means the first race points of the season for us. That’s fine. We’ll now continue to work hard and see what we can achieve tomorrow.“

Jake Dennis
Grid: P6
Race: P11
Start number: 76
Car: Aston Martin Vantage DTM
„It was a tough race. I made a bad start and dropped back a few places as a result. We struggled over the first few laps, trying to get the tyres to work properly. Things improved towards the end, but then I had a clutch problem during my pit stop, which lost me around ten seconds. I should actually have been in P7 or P8, but we lost too much time during the pit stop. It was just bad luck. Still, Dani managed to secure a few points in our team’s maiden race. Personally, though, I’m disappointed with the result.“

Paul Di Resta
Grid: P3
Race: DNF
Start number: 03
Car: Aston Martin Vantage DTM
„Unfortunately, that was not a good way for my first race with the team to end. Up until the retirement, we were struggling for pace, but the biggest problem was that we had technical issues with the brakes. But anyway, a big compliment for my guys who’ve been working hard on the car since yesterday evening. In qualifying, we got the best out of the circumstances. We know that we still have a long way to go, but third place in difficult conditions was a first success for us. In fact, it exceeded our most optimistic expectations. Many thanks to the entire team for making this project possible and for all the work they have put in over the last three months in particular. Hopefully, qualifying was a first taste of what the future holds for us in the coming years.“

Ferdinand von Habsburg
Grid: P16
Race: DNF
Start number: 62
Car: Aston Martin Vantage DTM
„It’s a pity my first DTM race came to such an early end. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the second race tomorrow when I’ll hopefully get the chance to find out more about the car and gain more experience. Even so, I have already learnt a lot during my first DTM weekend. The DTM is really quite special for me and very different to everything I’ve done so far. Consequently, every lap I complete is very important for my further development.“

Dr Florian Kamelger, R-Motorsport Team Principal
„To start the race from third and sixth on the grid today was more than we ever expected before the weekend. I am very proud of the entire team, as we were able to secure the first points for manufacturer Aston Martin and R-Motorsport in the DTM on our debut. All in all, it’s been an incredible achievement by the team so far in preparing and getting four cars on the grid this weekend and showing that we are competitive right from the start. Of course, there were some teething problems in the race, which is only to be expected and we still have to work on those. These include the engine problem on Ferdinand’s car, the issue with Paul’s brakes, and Jake’s clutch problems during the pit stop. Overall, we can feel positive after our first race and can look forward to the next start on Sunday, in which we want to see what’s possible in better weather conditions.“

Dr Andy Palmer, President and CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda
„Team R-Motorsport have done really well in putting four Aston Martin Vantage DTM cars on the grid here at Hockenheim. A lot of work has gone into developing and building these vehicles within a very short space of time. The team made a terrific start in Q1 with grid slot three for Paul Di Resta and six for Jake Dennis and Daniel Juncadella finishing the race in the points, which was a great performance and a huge success in itself.“