First fastest time for SSR Performance Porsche in DTM: Norwegian Dennis Olsen ended up as the fastest driver on the second day of the second official DTM test at Portimão. With the Porsche 911 run by the Munich-based SSR Performance team, Olsen completed his fastest lap of the 4.563 kilometres long Formula 1 track on the Algarve coast in 1m 41.378s. The best-placed Audi driver, Swiss Nico Müller (Team Rosberg) ended up in second place with 1m 41.647s, followed by Nicki Thiim with the Lamborghini Huracán run by T3 Motorsport (1m 41.690s). Nine-time rally world champion Sébastien Loeb (FRA) prepared for his DTM debut this weekend with 75 laps in the Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse Ferrari, only three drivers completed more laps on Wednesday. With a record field of 29 drivers from 15 nations and race cars from six brands, DTM is starting its 36th.
In ideal test conditions with temperatures just below 20 degrees, the second and final day of testing prior to the season opener delivered the first interesting encounter. At the end of the five-hour test that, like on the previous day, only ended as darkness fell at 9pm local time, the lap times of 23 of the 29 drivers were within one second. Like on Tuesday, Luca Stolz (GER) from the championship-winning HRT team emerged as the fastest Mercedes-AMG driver, classified eighth with a time of 1m 41.926, immediately followed by South African Sheldon van der Linde (Schubert Motorsport) with the best-placed new BMW M4 (1m 41.971s). Brazilian Felipe Fraga ended up in eleventh place with the Red Bull Ferrari (1m 42.005s). Two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann (GER) caused the only interruption of the test by an excursion with his Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M4.
“These were two good days,” 26-year-old Dennis Olsen commented. “At the end of the day, we posted a good lap time and above all, we achieved a good balance in the car. Being on top is always nice, even though it was only a test. Anyway, I am really excited to be in DTM.” With Olsen on Wednesday and Swiss Ricardo Feller (Audi, Team ABT Sportsline), two DTM newcomers were the fastest drivers on the two days. Nico Müller, runner-up in the 2020 DTM, drew a positive conclusion: “I am more satisfied with the second test day than with the previous day because I was able to complete more laps. However, one shouldn’t overinterpret the result as these were just test days and not everybody has put all the cards on the table yet.” In first qualifying on Saturday morning at the latest, drivers and teams will display their full potential.
Nicki Thiim has always dreamt about building on the great career of his father Kurt (champion in 1986, 19 wins and 16 pole positions from 211 races) one day. Now, the 33-year-old, who already was GT endurance world champion as a works driver with Aston Martin twice, has finally arrived in DTM. His joy was obvious for everyone to hear. “This was an incredible day, for me and I think also for my team. Mentally, I am done because of the many laps. Our car is brand new, so we had to rack up a lot of miles to sort out the teething problems,” said an emotional Nicki Thiim, who is driving a Lamborghini Huracán run by the T3 Motorsport team from Dresden. “On Thursday, I have a day off, but the guys still have to work hard, take the car fully apart and rebuild it again.” Similar to his father Kurt Thiim, who was on-site again to watch the test and is always good for a nice quote, Nicki Thiim said when asked about the transition to the Italian sports car: “That is a car and it has four wheels and a steering wheel.”
Sébastian Loeb took over the Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse Ferrari with starting number 37 on the second test day. At Portimão, the Frenchman is replacing regular driver Nick Cassidy (NZL). “It went quite well. I have got a pretty good feeling for this track and for the car. Now, it is about finding a good set-up and a good rhythm.” On Wednesday, more productive than Loeb with 75 laps were only American Dev Gore (Audi R8/Team Rosberg) with 85, Dennis Olsen with 80 and the youngest driver in the field, Marius Zug (GER), with 79 laps in the Attempto Racing Audi R8.
The teams have one more day in preparation for the eagerly awaited DTM opener. On Friday, two free practice sessions have been planned, followed by one qualifying and one race with a duration of 55 minutes plus one lap including mandatory pit stop with timed tyre change both on Saturday and Sunday.
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