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Mueller: Audi Likely Not The Car to Beat at Lausitzring

Nico Mueller believes Mercedes, BMW could hold advantage over Audi at high-speed Lausitzring…

Photo: DTM

Nico Mueller reckons that rival manufacturers BMW and Mercedes-AMG could have the edge over Audi heading into the second DTM round as Lausitzring, as the Audi factory driver believes that the circuit does not suit the R8 LMS GT3 Evo II particularly well.

The Swiss driver is a former winner at the German venue, having taken victories in both 2019 and 2020 when the series still race under Class One regulations.

Last year, however, was far more difficult when the two-time series runner-up joined Team Rosberg for the first season under GT3 regulations.

Mueller scored only a single point across the two races, finishing 13th on Saturday and tenth on Sunday.

While the 30-year-old says Team Rosberg has taken a big step forward with the introduction of Audi’s Evo II specification car, he still believes some of its rivals could have the upper hand as the weekend progresses.

“Lausitzring last year was very difficult for us, but we encountered issues that we found later on,” Mueller said.

“I think generally the track characteristics is just not the most suitable for our car.

“We’ve got a much better understanding of the car than last year and I think we can be confident that we know how to extract good performance out of the car at Lausitzring as well. 

“I think the characteristics of the cars are so different that some will just have tracks that suit them better and I [believe] that BMW will be very strong there, but I also think that Mercedes can do very well there as well.

“Ferrari is always strong, so you just don’t do know. I focus on myself, we try to do our job the best way possible.

“I don’t expect us to be the car to beat, but if it happens to be so I’ll take it.”

Mueller went on to explain that the combination of high-speed straights, as well as the inclusion of the fast first corner could put Audi on the back foot.

DTM began using the first corner of the circuit’s oval configuration for the first time last year and has continued to use it  for the 2022 season.

“[There are] very long flat out parts,” Mueller explained.

“We know that there are other cars which have a bit more horsepower under their hood which will come to play on this track, that’s for sure.

Then there’s also some cars that create a lot of stability in high-speed corners and you definitely have a high speed corner there, so I don’t think the whole section between the last corner and turn two is going to be our strength.

“That’s a big part of the track, so I expect a more challenging weekend than Portimao but I still hope to be able to challenge for victory as well.”

Team Winward’s Lucas Auer, also a former winner at the Lausitzring, agrees that the Klettwitz venue was a strong hunting ground for Mercedes last year.

However, the Austrian has downplayed the advantage for one brand over another, instead saying that individual performance by teams and by drivers could be a greater factor.

“It’s difficult to say,” said Auer. “Last year obviously it was a good track for Mercedes.

“This year could be different, but I think at the end of the day every brand has the chance to perform well, but I think who gets, who nails it with setup and who gets a free lap in qualifying.

‘I think those parts are really important in order to get those last eight hundredths, which gets seven positions as we saw in Portimao.” 

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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