Mercedes driver Robert Wickens set the pace at Barcelona on the opening day of the first official DTM pre-season test of the year.

Wickens clocked a 1 minute 06.735 second lap to go top of the time sheets while also completing 148 laps around the shortened configuration of the Circuit de Catalunya, which hosted the Spanish round of the championship up until 2009.

BMW's Martin Tomczyk trailed the Canadian's C-Coupe by less than a tenth of a second to finish the opening day 'best of the rest'. He did a total of 170 tours, making the former champ the busiest man of the day.

DTM new boy Daniel Juncadella produced a very satisfactory days work on his first official DTM test for Mercedes and was third ahead of Audi's Mike Rockenfeller and defending champion, Bruno Spengler.

Gary Paffett, Jamie Green, Adrien Tambay and Augusto Farfus filled positions 6 through to 9, with F1 refugee Timo Glock tenth - just over a second off the ultimate pace in his BMW. Filipe Albuquerque was slowest and the only other runner in action.

Apart from the trial run of the DTM configured DRS system, the new 'option' Hankook tyre was also available for evaluation as the teams try to get a grip of the tyre's characteristics.

The tyre has been designed to have the same effect as the option tyre in F1 with Hankook estimating a 1 - 1.5 second increase in performance over a 40-kilometre window.

"The new option tyres and the DRS made for extra excitement," said Spengler.

"When it comes to the tyres, we took a close look on the impact the new spec makes over a longer distance. And we learned a lot by doing so.

"The DRS quite obviously is big fun for a racing driver. You clearly feel that you can change up earlier and that the top speed on the straights is higher. That's something you have to accustom to and you have to focus on finding the limit lap by lap," the Canadian concluded.

by Simon Evans


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