The motor-racing enthusiasts in Hungary had to wait for nearly 26 years, for this moment: DTM returns to the Hungaroring, located not far from the country’s capital Budapest. Some 26 years ago, on 18th September 1988, the most popular international touring-car series made its Hungaroring debut, with Venezuela’s former Motorbike World Champion and Formula 1 driver Johnny Cecotto winning both races of that weekend at the wheel of an AMG Mercedes.
For the 23 drivers on the 2014 DTM grid, the extremely challenging 4.381-kilometre track represents virgin soil as DTM race venue. On the other hand, the official ITR tests from 31st March to 03rd April offered them the chance of familiarising themselves extensively with the circuit. And many drivers already raced at the Hungaroring in other series. Drivers such as Timo Glock (BMW) as well as Mercedes-Benz drivers Paul Di Resta and Vitaly Petrov in Formula, Christian Vietoris in the GP2 Series or Nico Müller (Audi) in the GP3. And everybody in the DTM fraternity is looking forward to the third round of the season.
”Budapest is a difficult and demanding track. We are going to give our best to find a perfect qualifying set-up. That will be an important basis for again being in contention for first place,” says DTM-Champion Mike Rockenfeller who already is back in the championship lead with his Audi RS 5 DTM, with the first two races of the 2014 season contested. And fellow Audi driver Edoardo Mortara, who finished third at Oschersleben, adds: “Not only the two good qualifying sessions for the first two races demonstrated the competitiveness of our car on any type of track characteristics, this year. And as I see it, there is no reason why we shouldn‘t be in contention for a position at the front in Budapest, too. I scored the first points this year at Oschersleben and would like to continue exactly where I left off, in Hungary.”
Oschersleben winner Christian Vietoris travels to Hungary with boosted confidence. “I started into the season with the goal to celebrate my first DTM win, this year,” reveals Vietoris who finished runner-up in two GP2 series races at Budapest and regards the Hungaroring as one of his favourite circuits. “But after the difficult season opener at Hockenheim I’d never expected that I would be able to realise this goal that quickly. Nonetheless, we must be aware that the situation is different in dry conditions. There, we still aren’t as competitive as we would like to be. We currently just aren’t fast enough to win irrespective of the conditions.” DTM returnee Paul Di Resta also made it to the points in the wet race at Oschersleben by finishing fourth and is looking forward to round three. “Budapest is a really cool city I already got to know in my Formula 1 years. Therefore, I’m particularly delighted with the fact that the circuit is back on the DTM calendar after such a long break. And although we have been there for several days of testing we still have to learn about the track and the necessary set-up, this weekend.”
Meanwhile, BMW wants to get back on the track paved by Marco Wittmann with the win in the season opener at Hockenheim – the debut race of the all new BMW M4 DTM. “Budapest has only hosted a DTM venue on one occasion in the past. No BMW driver has finished on the podium at this circuit before. We are out to change all that,” says Bruno Spengler. Timo Glock likes to race in Hungary, with the fact that he has got a lot of supporters, there, being just one of the reasons. On 01st May, more than 300,000 people were on site to witness his demonstration laps along River Danube and over the famous Chain Bridge. “Budapest is an absolute highlight for me – particularly after my show run there before the season-opener in Hockenheim. The fans gave me an awesome welcome and enjoyed a fantastic festival of motorsport. It is fantastic for DTM and Hungary that the series is back in Budapest after an absence of 26 years. Now I am excited to see how we get on at the Hungaroring. Testing there is one thing but contesting a DTM race there is a different affair. I hope we will pick up plenty of points for BMW,” says Glock.
The third DTM round will be started on Sunday at 13:30hrs CEST (12:30hrs BST), with the live coverage of the series’ German TV partner beginning at 13:15hrs CEST. The qualifying session on Saturday will begin at 18:10hrs CEST (17:10hrs BST), the ARD live coverage at 18:00hrs CEST. Following the Oschersleben result, the placement weights were newly assigned. At Budapest, Mercedes-Benz drivers Christian Vietoris, Paul Di Resta and Gary Paffett have to add five kilograms of weight each, their fellow Mercedes-Benz drivers Vitaly Petrov, Pascal Wehrlein, Daniel Juncadella and Robert Wickens 2.5 kilograms each. The cars of the BMW drivers, on the other hand, will become lighter: Augusto Farfus and Martin Tomczyk may get rid of 2.5 kilograms, António Félix da Costa, Bruno Spengler, Maxime Martin, Joey Hand, Marco Wittmann and Timo Glock even of five kilograms each. And when it comes to the Audi drivers, there once again will be no weight changes – just as it was the case after the season opener.