Paul Di Resta registers first leading kilometres for the Aston Martin Vantage DTM

Eventful second race of the season at Hockenheim: Paul Di Resta’s Aston Martin Vantage DTM reels off first leading kilometres for R-Motorsport.

Only 62 days after making its track debut in the first test sessions at Jerez de la Frontera and on only its second competitive outing, the Aston Martin Vantage DTM racked up its first lead laps in the DTM. Driving the number 3 car, which in Hockenheim for the first time sported the logos of Baldessarini Fragrances, was Scotland’s Paul Di Resta.

The 2010 DTM champion reacted quickly after Audi man Loic Duval had gone off, coming in for an early pit stop on Lap 7; he was the only driver in the race to seize the opportunity. Thanks to this brilliant tactical move and perfect teamwork during the pit stop, Paul was then able to make steady progress through the field, eventually taking the lead on Lap 24.

Shortly thereafter, Paul came in for a second tyre change, which enabled him to mount a late charge in the closing stage of the race. The Scotsman eventually took the chequered flag in seventh place, just 0.3 seconds behind sixth-placed Timo Glock. Paul had clawed back no fewer than eight positions during the course of the race, enough to earn him the 800th point of his DTM career.

Successful debut weekend at Hockenheim

The opening weekend of the new DTM season already had served up plenty in terms of action. After Saturday’s rain, the Sunday race turned out as the first of the new season to be contested in dry conditions. The R-Motorsport quartet started the race from second half of the grid, so the aim was to make optimum use of the 37 laps to gain further valuable experience with the Aston Martin Vantage DTM.

As well as Paul, two of his three team-mates also went the full race distance. DTM rookie Jake Dennis (23, Great Britain) reprised his strong performance from Saturday, finishing eleventh and again just missing out on a points finish which he had been chasing for much of the closing stages of the race.

The second rookie in the team, Ferdinand von Habsburg (21, Austria), took 13th place in his first DTM finish. Spanish DTM veteran Daniel Juncadella (27, Spain) was on the fringe of the Top Ten for much of the race but unfortunately had to retire two laps before the end when his car developed a technical issue.

The team had already secured its first points on Saturday as the Aston Martin Vantage DTM made its debut, one for Paul Di Resta in qualifying and two for Daniel Juncadella’s ninth-place finish. The next batch of points will be up for grabs in Belgium two weeks from now when the second race weekend of the season (17th – 19th May) will be hosted by the circuit at Zolder which is uncharted territory for all three manufacturers.

Comments after the race

Paul Di Resta
Grid: P15
Race: P7
Start number: 03
Car: Aston Martin Vantage DTM
“If someone had told me before the race that I would finish seventh, I would have signed up for that. It’s the first true test of our package. We clearly have a lot of work to do as a team, but I think we can be very proud to come away with a P7 today and a Top Three in yesterday’s qualifying. Tactically, we did a good job today so now we need to debrief properly, after which the only way is up. It’s testament to where we are, and we will go forward and see what happens in the next race.”

Jake Dennis
Grid: P18
Race: P11
Start number: 76
Car: Aston Martin Vantage DTM
“Towards the end, I had massive tyre degradation because I had tried to push too hard at the start of the second stint. I was trying to go for P8 but, in all reality, that was probably a bit optimistic. Ultimately, I paid the price and ended up losing two positions on the final lap. It’s a bit disappointing, but I tried to get a bit more and suffered the consequences. Nevertheless, it was quite a good race. It was nice to get my first dry race out of the way, and we were competitive, which is very good.”

Ferdinand von Habsburg
Grid: P17
Race: P13
Start number: 62
Car: Aston Martin Vantage DTM
“Sunday went much better for me than yesterday. The first race was a tough start to my first DTM season, and there is obviously still a lot of room for improvement, both for the team and for me. But today was a great day because I managed to put in plenty of laps – and that’s just what I needed as a rookie. I feel that I got the best out of the race in terms of experience building. That gives me more confidence for the challenges that are still to come this season.”

Daniel Juncadella
Grid: P14
Race: DNF (classified in P16)
Start number: 23
Car: Aston Martin Vantage DTM
“All in all, it’s been a good weekend for the team. Unfortunately, I had to retire shortly before the end of the race today. But that was the first reliability problem I’ve had so far. Consequently, we have to make sure we work through our check list step by step and do our utmost to iron out teething problems of this kind for the future. However, it’s encouraging that we have managed to continue improving on the winter tests – we can be very satisfied with that.”

Dr. Florian Kamelger, R-Motorsport Team Principal
“For us at R-Motorsport and Aston Martin to have notched up our first leading kilometres is a very special achievement and an emotional moment. All in all, it has been a very good debut on our first DTM weekend. We now know that we are competitive, as was demonstrated by the overtaking moves from Paul, Jake und Dani. It was a great timing to bring Paul in for a change of tyres just before the safety car deployment. Paul’s experience and racing intuition paid off. Towards the end, it was inevitable that we would have to bring Paul in again, in order to have a good pace in the closing stages on fresh tyres. But P7 and P11 have more than met our expectations. Ferdinand’s performance also deserves respect. Unfortunately, Dani was unable to finish the race because of a technical problem. I am proud of what our team has accomplished with the Aston Martin Vantage DTM cars, which we have got race ready in record time. What’s more, it was an honour for us that Dr Andy Palmer, CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda, was here to witness our race debut live.“

Dr Andy Palmer, President and Group CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda
“The achievement of this young team in its first two races is amazing: to get four cars race ready in such a short time, to qualify third in the rain, to score points in both races and even to briefly lead the race exceeds all expectation. My compliments to everyone at R-Motorsport. I would also like to thank the other teams and the fans for so warmly welcoming Aston Martin to the DTM.“

Paul Di Resta chalks up the first leading kilometres for the team, Copy: R-Motorsport