One victory, a pole position and another podium finish for Luca Stolz as well as a total of 57 points for the team standings - the Mercedes-AMG Team HRT experienced its most successful weekend of the current DTM season at Sachsenring. Stolz's team-mate Arjun Maini also scored his best result of the year with a seventh-place finish. In the drivers' standings, Stolz is now the best-ranked Mercedes-AMG driver, while Hubert Haupt’s team is now ahead of the other Mercedes-AMG teams in the standings. Together with Ulrich Fritz, chief executive officer of Haupt Racing Team GmbH, the two drivers analysed the successful DTM weekend at the Sachsenring.
- For CEO Ulrich Fritz, qualifying is a key success factor.
- Luca Stolz wants to assert himself as the best Mercedes-AMG driver.
- Arjun Maini praises the layout of the Sachsenring.
Ulrich, at the Sachsenring HRT achieved their first season's victory in the DTM. In your opinion, what were the key factors for this great team result?
Ulrich Fritz: "There is not one key issue that leads to success, it is a mix of different factors. If you have to highlight one factor, it is qualifying. We were one of the few teams that chose a slightly different strategy in preparing the qualifying lap. This allowed us to set a very good lap time. Tyre wear is huge at the Sachsenring, so we relied on doing only one warm-up and one push lap. That paid off."
How much did the test drives help in the run-up?
Ulrich Fritz: "For us it was clear from the beginning that we wanted to test at the Sachsenring. We have never raced there as a team, so it was obvious that we needed to gain experience. The test day was very helpful and of course it also helped that there were similar weather conditions in the morning as on the race weekend. But again, meticulous preparation is essential. Test drives are certainly useful on new tracks, but there's nothing like good preparation and good data."
How important was the win for the mood and motivation in the team?
Ulrich Fritz: "The victory is a big relief for us. We were always motivated, but the success is a gamechanger when you see that the hard work pays off in the end. Even though you might sometimes feel desperate because things don't go as they did in some of the last races. Motorsport is always short-lived. Yesterday's success is worth nothing tomorrow. But it is certainly good for motivation. We finished the last three races on the podium. That's a good signal. It's just important to finish the season on a positive note."
Luca, you have finished on the podium three times in a row, including last weekend's win at Sachsenring. Is there a reason for this sudden increase in performance?
Luca Stolz: “I don't think there is a sudden increase in performance. We are simply doing a very good job with the whole Haupt Racing Team. After a very difficult start at Oschersleben we were doing well and on the second weekend at Zandvoort we clinched our first podium of the year. We were also the best Mercedes-AMG in qualifying at the Norisring. Of course, we're happy that things are going so well now. Hard work always pays off. It's simply very important to always be at the front in qualifying. We saw that at the Sachsenring. If you start in the top 5, you have a good chance of making it to the front.”
You've driven a lot of races in the ADAC GT Masters at Sachsenring. Was that an advantage for you compared to other drivers who might not have raced here before?
Luca Stolz: “It's certainly an advantage that I've driven at the Sachsenring many times. Most of the teams took advantage of the test day, including us. But with the high level of the DTM, everyone got familiar to the track very quickly. Knowing the track is always good, especially with the many blind corners at the Sachsenring.”
You are now in the top 5 of the standings the best-placed Mercedes-AMG driver. What are your expectations for the remaining races?
Luca Stolz: “We're now heading to Spielberg, where the Mercedes-AMG isn't usually the fastest car, and we're just trying to squeeze the maximum out of the car and prepare it perfectly. We want to build on our recent performances and score as many points as possible in the last four races. We also have a good understanding of the tyres. We just have to keep our eyes on the podium and stay the best Mercedes-AMG.”
Arjun, you got your first top 10 result of the year at Sachsenring. Where is the upward trend coming from for you?
Arjun Maini: “The start of the season was a bit difficult for me. Especially in qualifying I had problems because I couldn't get the cold Pirelli tyres up to temperature. I know the Pirellis from the Fanatec GT World Challenge, but there we can preheat them. In the race, we were already very fast at the beginning of the season, but when you start from the back in the DTM, the chances of scoring good points are relatively small. Now I have a better understanding of how to warm up the tyres in qualifying. Hopefully, this will help us to achieve even better results in the last four races.”
This was your first appearance on the Sachsenring. How do you like the track?
Arjun Maini: “The Sachsenring is a great circuit. I especially like the second and third part of the track. High speeds, a fluid layout, it's very nice and entertaining for a driver. The layout doesn't make for easy duels. But in qualifying the track is a lot of fun.”
The Haupt Racing Team showed a strong performance last weekend. What were the reasons?
Arjun Maini: “Our strength is our preparation. The Haupt Racing Team is very professional. We already did a great job during the test drives and simulations. As a result, everything fell into place at the weekend. Now we have to build on that to keep the form curve going upwards. Hopefully we'll be able to score more points and finish the season with a good feeling.”
HRT stands for HAUPT RACING TEAM. The motorsport team was founded in July 2020 by racing driver and entrepreneur Hubert Haupt and has firmly established itself in international GT3 sport within a very short time. As well as numerous race wins and top results, HRT’s greatest success came in 2021 when it won the Drivers’ Championship in the DTM. The team’s programme is demanding and diverse: among other things, HRT starts in the DTM, the Nürburgring Endurance Series, the GT World Challenge Europe, and the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps. Many of these race outings are as a Mercedes-AMG Performance Team with extended factory support. HRT is also involved in professional sim racing and is a sought-after partner for technical development projects and motorsport events of all kinds. As of the 2023 season, the team’s new operations centre is the HRT Race Base in Drees, which is located at the Nürburgring. The headquarters of Haupt Racing Team GmbH are in Grünwald near Munich.