Perfect race debut: Two wins out of two in Budapest
Brilliant race debut at the Hungaroring! On the penultimate race weekend of the 2016 Audi Sport TT Cup, Dennis Marschall registered two comfortable lights-to-flag victories. With wins number three and four of the campaign, the young man from Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen has consolidated second place in the Audi brand trophy. Moreover, he has now reduced the deficit on the leader to only nine points. In the season finale at the Hockenheimring, Marschall has a good chance of using home advantage to win the championship.
Two pole positions, two fastest laps and two wins in Hungary. Congratulations on this impressive achievement!
That was a perfect weekend from beginning to end. I may only have been second fastest in free practice, but at that stage we weren’t showing what we were capable of. I soon realised how well the track suited me and that I was able to set a decent pace here. We therefore used free practice more to flag up where we needed to improve. Consequently, we were well prepared for qualifying.
Did you know from the beginning that you had what it takes to pull off a double pole?
I never doubted that we had the straight-line speed, but I didn’t quite expect that it would be enough for a double pole. But yes, obviously Friday went pretty well for us. However, I had been assuming that it would result in either second or third position on the grid. In the qualifying session itself, I felt even better than the day before. I managed to put in two near-perfect laps, and the car did what it was supposed to. We also found a really good setup that was perfectly suited to my driving style.
Your reactions were razor sharp at the start of both races, and you easily held on to the lead. But in Race 1, the situation got a bit tight at one stage…
The first race was one of the more difficult ones this season. It took some time until I found my rhythm and managed to open up a bit of a gap on the pursuing pack. Then the safety car came out on track and that upset my rhythm a bit. It allowed Joonas Lappalainen to get close and mount an attack. It wasn’t an easy situation for me, because I knew that I could lose vital points if I made a mistake. But I stayed fully focused and eventually crossed the finish line in first place.
You saved the best performance for Sunday – victory in the Audi Sport TT Cup by more than three seconds. How was the second race for you?
It was fantastic. For the full duration of the race, there wasn’t a single situation in which it got critical. The only thing I had to avoid was taking the kerbs in the chicane too aggressively. At first, I was going at them really hard, but then I noticed that the tracking was slightly out of alignment and that the steering wheel was a bit crooked. So after that, I was more careful. Otherwise, it was an almost relaxed race, and all I had to do was concentrate on seeing it through to the end.
In three weeks, you’ve got the grand finale at the Hockenheimring (14th – 16th October)…
I’m obviously looking forward to that immensely. The Hockenheimring counts as my home track; my family and a lot of fans will be there to cheer me on. The support I’ll get is huge. Already on the first race weekend of 2016, I had the speed and booked a double pole. In race trim, though, I had some bad luck, so I’ve got some unfinished business at the Hockenheimring. In that respect, it’s the perfect venue for the season finale.
You’re fighting for the championship. What will your approach be to these last two races?
I’m aiming to win both of them. In the circumstances, it’s no good trying to calculate the odds. I’ve just got to focus entirely on my own performance. It may all look a bit different going into the second race, depending on results. If you find yourself going wheel-to-wheel with your opponent, you will naturally try to defend your position or attack a bit more aggressively. In the title fight, I am the challenger, but the double victory in Budapest has certainly filled me with confidence.