Daniel Juncadella elated after “best race of the year”
R-Motorsport’s Daniel Juncadella completed a strong race on Saturday at the Norisring to finish sixth, not only the best-placed Aston Martin Vantage DTM, but also his best result of the year.
The Spaniard qualified in 13th position, although he started the race from the 11th spot after the exclusion of the two drivers from Audi Sport Team Phoenix.
A key move for Juncadella was that he pitted on lap three, taking advantage of the safety car period to climb the order.
“It’s been a very good weekend so far,” Juncadella told TouringCarTimes. “I’m feeling very comfortable with our package here.
“I did a spectacular lap in qualifying, so I’m very happy with how things are going. But we obviously want more. We were a little bit lucky with the strategy, we made the most of it and I did one of the best races I remember.”
The Spaniard is encouraged by the steps forward done by R-Motorsport as the season progresses: “I’m very happy to see that the work there is behind the scenes, physical and mental, is yielding its fruits, and this must motivate us that we can fight. The Audis were flying but we were able to challenge the BMWs.”
The team is still struggling with the lack of development, but Juncadella is clear as to what is necessary to improve the results: “It’s difficult to say how much of today’s result is due to the improvements in our car. I think we have all done a great job, but it’s very obvious that we are lacking engine power and that we are far from our competitors in that area.
“Today I was able to fight against Wittmann, but I was braking very well and getting close to him in the corners but, in the straights, he just pulled away. You can see the lack of power in qualifying and in the races. We know that’s what we need and testing more is not the solution. There are many people in the championship who want that, but we must continue on our path.”
Still, Juncadella remains optimistic that R-Motorsport can improve to a competitive level: “I think I’m putting in everything I have, but I know we all can always give more and we must continue fighting and improving, both the drivers and the cars. But we must be patient.”
For Sunday’s race there is a risk of rain. Asked how those conditions would work for R-Motorsport, Juncadella said: “Every situation a bit different must be tackled in an optimistic way, like when a safety car intervenes. We must try to make the most of it and, maybe there will be surprises. The car has performed very well, especially at the Norisring, so there could be surprises.”