Felix Rosenqvist wasted no time in opening his DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) points account, finishing in the top ten on his race debut in the ultra-competitive touring car championship at Moscow Raceway this weekend.
Drafted in to replace F1-bound Frenchman Esteban Ocon in the Mercedes-AMG DTM line-up ahead of the Russian meeting, Rosenqvist swiftly adapted to his new environment, taking a strong ninth in qualifying for Saturday’s opening race to out-pace a host of established race winners and series champions. The Swede then survived treacherous conditions to finish tenth in a rain-hit first race of the weekend, claiming the final point on offer on his very first DTM attempt.
Rosenqvist’s performance included a bold move on ex-F1 racer Timo Glock (BMW), while Mercedes-AMG locked out the podium in a race won by Canada’s Robert Wickens.
“It’s incredible to have scored a point on my DTM debut,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “I went into this weekend with an open mind, but running inside the top ten that soon was probably more than I expected. It goes to prove that the preparations were adequate. It was a very tough race in difficult conditions, and a real challenge just keeping the car on the track. In the end I managed somehow to do it, and I’m over the moon with that result – both for myself and for the entire team. It was a great performance by everyone at Mercedes-AMG DTM.”
Rosenqvist carried his form into qualifying for the second and final race of the weekend on Sunday, taking 13th on the grid – this time in fully dry conditions. The Saturday success saw the eight Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM cars hit with added performance weights for Sunday’s encounter, however, making life more difficult in race trim. Rosenqvist eventually came home in 21st place, while Marco Wittmann (BMW) claimed the victory.
“The second race was always going to be more difficult for us,” Rosenqvist concludes. “The extra weight didn’t help, and I was also pushed off in the early stages and dropped back a number of places. For me, though, the main priority this weekend was to learn as much as possible, and that’s something I’ve definitely done. We’ve had one race in pouring rain, one in the dry, and I’ve finished them both to gain a lot of important experience. It’s hard to explain how high the level of competition is in the DTM, but it’s the kind of championship that really allows you to grow as a driver. All in all, I’m happy with how the weekend went and would love to be back.”
It is not yet confirmed whether Felix Rosenqvist will take part in the remaining three rounds of the 2016 DTM season. His next race is scheduled in for next weekend, when the penultimate Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup event takes place at Hungaroring in Hungary.
DTM | Moscow Raceway (Moscow, Russia)
1: Robert Wickens (CAN), 22 laps
2: Paul Di Resta (GBR), +10.955s
3: Gary Paffett (GBR), +12.293s
4: Maximilian Götz (GER), +25.270s
5: Mattias Ekström (SWE), +25.874s
10: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), +32.848s
1: Marco Wittmann (GER), 40 laps
2: Tom Blomqvist (GBR), +4.123s
3: Bruno Spengler (CAN), +18.119s
4: Augusto Farfus (BRA), +24.650s
5: Robert Wickens (CAN), +38.818s
21: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), +57.979s