Lucas Auer flew to victory in the second DTM race at TT Circuit Assen. In an uncompromised win, the #22 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 returned to winner’s circle for the first time this season.
The Austrian got back onto the podium for the first time since the season opener at Monza and did so with a win that saw him lead from start to finish. Only during the pitstops did the veteran of six DTM seasons give up the lead, but never did it look like any of the late stoppers were going to leapfrog him.
Having struck a multi-second gap in the opening laps, the only real competition came from Liam Lawson who searched for an opening in the finale but ran out of time to make a safe move that would not threaten his championship hopes – much to Lucas Auer’s relief.
It was a perfect day with quali and the race as well,” Auer says smiling ear to ear, admitting he was concerned with the Ferrari right on his tail.
“The start was perfect, the pitstop strategy really good. At the end, Lawson with his Ferrari was faster, but I could hang on and was happy that the race was over!
“You could see over the distance Liam or Ferrari, whoever made the difference, were better on the tyres and had more pace at the end. A couple more laps wouldn’t have been good for us. But, still, overall, it was a very positive day.
“We’ve had some ups and downs [this season] and still have a lot to analyse and a lot to learn – the team and myself – but this day was perfect.”
Starting on the front row proved to be a big boost in Auer’s first DTM win in over one year.
“It’s difficult to say [what gave us the win]… We had a red flag in qualifying – and this we probably also have to analyse because for us it was not a big deal to have the red flag but for others it was. We could easily pull a lap out of the bag after the red flag which obviously makes life a lot easier when you start from P1.”
Both Winward Racing pilots now share one win each, with Philip Ellis having won at the Lausitzring. Although the team proved to be solid frontrunners since the start of the season, Ellis’ early success didn’t necessarily help Auer in his chase for victory.
“No, it did not, but overall as a team when I have a strong weekend, Philip has a strong weekend, so we are quite balanced. But no, it hasn’t helped me because Philip is a great driver and the team is great, so I wouldn’t say it has helped me, it just is a sign that as a team we are doing a good job.”
Sitting in seventh place in the championship 79 points behind championship leader Lawson, Lucas Auer goes into the final four races of the year mathematically still with a shot at the title but will realistically only fight for honour and glory.
“The best is to stay on this wave. I feel no pressure so it’s all-in for the last four races.”
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