The five-time FIA World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier completed a clean debut weekend in DTM for Mercedes at Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring circuit.
The Frenchman came into his first-ever DTM run after a difficult outing in WRC’s Rally Turkey where he and title rival Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville faltered, allowing outside contender Toyota’s Ott Tanak into the game.
The DTM round could pose a distraction but a prior commitment had to be adhered to as Ogier started his run amid mixed weather conditions at Red Bull Ring circuit which made his task a bit more trickier.
It wasn’t as smooth as he would have hoped as he found himself last in Qualifying 1 on Saturday. He did make some inroads in the race to eventually finish 12th in his first outing in the Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM car.
He benefited from some of the penalties around but held his race together which saw him even leading at one moment before his late pit stop. “There was a lot happening during my first race day in the DTM,” he said.
“Variable weather conditions made for a tough start to my first DTM race weekend. Still, I got away safely off the line and gradually increased my pace. The second stint went pretty well for me [to finish inside the Top 15].”
He qualified last again in the second session on Sunday for Race 2 but this time closer to the experienced pack. His race was though compromised by an additional pit stop which he had to commit to after troubles with dirty windscreen.
Ogier finished a lap down in 17th. “The race was a bit like [Saturday], with the second half being better than the first,” he said. “Unfortunately, I had some difficulties before the pit stop. My start was OK. I was driving very carefully so as not to make a mistake.
“I then realised that I had the pace to overtake other cars. Unfortunately, Augusto Farfus lost oil or some other fluid, so after that, my windscreen was smearing badly and the visibility was poor. I tried to clear it with the wipers, but that only made it worse.
“The second stint after my pit stop was OK, with the windscreen now having been cleaned, but I was behind Rocky, whom I was unable to challenge. However, I managed to find a steady rhythm and finish the race.”