Mercedes' new 2016 DTM car still surprising team

Mercedes DTM chief Ulrich Fritz says the manufacturer's 2016 spec car continues to surprise the team in both a positive and negative fashion

Mercedes' new 2016 DTM car still surprising team

Last weekend's Zandvoort event marked the halfway stage of the season, and so far Mercedes has won three of the 10 races, with Audi winning five and BMW just two - both of which came at the Red Bull Ring.

However, BMW driver Marco Wittmann leads the championship, with Robert Wickens and Paul di Resta Mercedes' best-placed challengers in fourth and fifth.

"The first half of the season was an emotional roller-coaster," said Fritz.

"One thing is definitely certain, though, our new car is always good for a surprise - both in a positive way as at Zandvoort and a not so good way like at Spielberg."

Mercedes said before the season started that introducing its new C63 bodywork was causing problems, and after a strong opening weekend at Hockenheim it was off the pace at the Red Bull Ring, bagging just one top 10 finish over the weekend with di Resta.

While the car was quick at Zandvoort, Mercedes' title hopes took a hit when Wickens and Christian Vietoris suffered punctures while running second and fourth late in race two.

It also lost points when Mattias Ekstrom controversially collided with Wickens and Vietoris at the Norisring, with both the drivers and Fritz hitting out at the Swede.

"The Norisring weekend and the Sunday at Zandvoort stick in the memory in a negative way, even though we lost vital points in the battle for the title for entirely different reasons," added Fritz.

"It will certainly take a good few days to get over Zandvoort.

"We are, however, delighted that our drivers have done a good job so far and that in Robert and Paul and maybe even Gary [Paffett] and Christian, we have four drivers who can fight for the championship.

"If the Gods had been a bit more on our side then Rob would still be at the top of the table.

"However, Wittmann seems to have a better connection with the Good Lord at the moment, but the tide can quickly turn.

"It won't be until the final two race weekends that the number of favourites is narrowed down to four or five drivers.

"I hope we'll still have two or three irons in the fire at that point."

LEADING DTM STANDINGS

Pos Driver Points
1 Marco Wittmann 105
2 Jamie Green 98
3 Edoardo Mortara 88
4 Robert Wickens 83
5 Paul Di Resta 74
6 Maxime Martin 63
7 Nico Muller 62
8 Mattias Ekstrom 58
9 Tom Blomqvist 53
10 Gary Paffett 52

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