Ralf Schumacher has endured a tough start to his second DTM season, following his promotion to a new car for this year. With top equipment at his disposal, the pressure has increased on the ex-Formula 1 star, but so far his best result this season is a ninth-place finish in the season opener at Hockenheim.
AUTOSPORT caught up with the 33-year-old following the second round of the season at Lausitz to get his thoughts on how things have gone so far, and what his expectations are heading to the third round of the season at the Norisring on June 28.Q. How have things gone in your first couple of races in a top car?RS:
For me it's been a little bit difficult. I was a bit unlucky at times, but I'm not sure I'm really at home in a new car yet. Finishing the races was quite important for me, for testing, for getting more experience, it worked quite well. I hope to have a trouble-free weekend at the Norisring, and we'll hopefully get a decent result then.Q. What have been the main challenges of switching from an old car to a new car?RS:
It's difficult to tell at the moment. I'm finding it a bit difficult to push at the right time, in the right way, to get the ultimate lap time together. I'm a bit inconsistent right now and that's because I'm not really familiar with the new car yet – so I would say I haven't got on top of it yet. Plus I don't have as much experience as the other guys, which sometimes shows.Q. Overall, how positive are you feeling about how it's gone so far?RS:
Well, I'm a bit further away from my teammates than I'd wished, that's clear. But in general I feel happy within the team. I'm getting the support I need, so it's clearly down to me to find a way to get faster.Q. At Lausitz, there were times when you could match the pace of the leaders, is that at least a positive?RS:
In general the speed was reasonable compared to Paul [di Resta], but Bruno [Spengler] and Gary [Paffett] showed they could go a lot faster at times, so there's room for improvement.Q. Have you set yourself any targets for the rest of the season?RS:
Not really. For me, I've always said that if I could have a podium by the end of the year that would be great and I still have the same target. I just hope that I have a good weekend. I've missed out on a lot of track time so far, so that hasn't made my life easier. At Norisring especially, where we don't test all, I hope to have a trouble-free practice, so we can have a good qualifying and take it from there.Q. You went quite well at Norisring last year, does that give you confidence?RS:
Yeah. I had a problem at the start of the weekend – free practice and qualifying wasn't perfect, but then I got on top of it in the race, so I hope I remember what it was. I can't tell you what it was yet but I've still got some time!