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Auer Tops Hockenheim Test in Strong Mercedes-AMG Showing

AMG drivers lead the way during DTM test at Hockenheim as Auer sets fastest lap…

Photo: Gruppe C Photography

Lucas Auer set the fastest lap of the first DTM pre-season test at Hockenheim as Mercedes-AMG drivers filled the top six positions on the second and final day of running.

Auer, who has returned to Mercedes after competing for BMW last season, turned in a time of 1:35.153 during the final session on late Thursday afternoon to put Winward Racing’s REMUS-liveried Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo on top of the overall leaderboard.

The Austrian made a slight improvement of two-hundredths of a second on Vincent Abril’s flyer set during the previous session to claim the outright best time.

Abril, who led the sessions on either side of the lunch break, ended up second-fastest outright on a 1:36.173 for Haupt Racing Team.

All four of the Thursday sessions went ahead as planned after the previous day’s final session was written off due to snowy conditions. As was the case on the first day, a set of BMW M4 GT4s from the DTM Trophy joined two of the Thursday sessions.

GruppeM Racing Mercedes driver Daniel Juncadella placed third overall with a 1:36.251 effort while Auer’s Winward Racing teammate Philip Ellis was a single tenth away.

Ellis headed up the order during the first two-hour session on Thursday morning, giving Mercedes-AMG a sweep of the Thursday times.

The top five runners on day two, and during the test as a whole, were separated by just under a quarter of a second as Maximilian Goetz posted a 1:36.375 to go fifth for HRT.

Mercedes-AMG’s dominance extended to GetSpeed Performance driver Arjun Maini who placed sixth, one position ahead of Mike Rockenfeller who was Audi’s fastest driver.

The 2013 series champion ended up as the best non-Mercedes competitor with a final-session time of 1:36.670 in his Abt Sportsline Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.

The top six drivers on Thursday all eclipsed the fastest lap from Wednesday’s test segment which was led by Mercedes-AMG factory driver Goetz from his teammate Abril.

Red Bull Racing Formula 1 reserve driver Alex Albon was the quickest of the two AF Corse Ferrari pilots on day two.

Despite improving his day one best down to a 1:37.012, Albon ended up behind his teammate Liam Lawson in the overall charts. Lawson broke the 1m 37s barrier on Wednesday but didn’t make further gains. Neither Ferrari driver took part in the last session.

Additionally, Maximilian Buhk stepped in to test for Muecke Motorsport in place of the team’s main driver Gary Paffett who left after Wednesday to travel to the Rome Formula E race. Buhk finished eighth on Thursday, slotting in between Rockenfeller and Albon.

BMW’s pace-setter on both days was double series champion Marco Wittmann who posted a 1:37.260 on Wednesday before shaving that down to a 1:37.190 on day two.

The DTM plans to hold a second pre-season test at the Lausitzring on May 4-6 ahead of the opening round for its new GT3 era at Monza on June 19-20.

RESULTS: Day Two (combined)

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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