Runner-up in 2016 Audi Sport TT Cup – victory in home race at Hockenheim
Rounding off a strong season in style on the final weekend at the Hockenheimring, Dennis Marschall won the last race of the 2016 Audi Sport TT Cup on his home track with a masterful lights-to-flag performance. This fifth triumph of the season for Marschall in his second year contesting the Audi brand trophy means that he actually won more races than anyone else in the field. The young man from Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen likewise secured more pole positions (8) and fastest laps (4) than any other contestant. He finished the championship campaign as runner-up, just 13 points behind Joonas Lappalainen, and also improved on last year’s result by moving up one position while increasing his final points tally by 82½.
Dennis, congratulations on finishing as championship runner-up. Which emotion dominates at the moment – elation about your success or frustration at having just missed out on the title?
That’s a difficult question. Ultimately, it’s the sense of satisfaction. But there are definitely some mixed feelings. On the one hand, it’s great that I was able to improve on my rookie season, but on the other hand, there is only one thing you really want as a racing driver, of course, and that is to win. In the end, we didn’t quite get there. But rounding off the year with a victory in my home race and lifting the runner-up trophy is something of a consolation at the end of a good overall season.
You won Sunday’s race very convincingly from pole position. If your main rival had come away with a worse result, you might then have won the championship…
Yes, I had that thought at the back of my mind. But I did the best I could by securing the race win, and there was nothing more I could do. You always hope that something unexpected will happen before the end of the race. But I’m looking on the bright side. I’ve finished second in the championship and that’s good. Better than last year. And I capped it all by winning my home race. We had very good straight-line speed throughout the season and were always in contention for victory. There were only one or two races where we had a few problems – they made only a small difference but it was crucial.
In the first race on Saturday, you came fifth after a hectic opening phase and a strong pursuit. What happened there?
My start from fourth on the grid was reasonably good. I moved up to third before falling back to fourth. My speed was really good – I was very fast. But then I braked too late at the hairpin and had to avoid other cars, which cost me several positions. In the end, though, I managed to battle my way back to fifth place. I made the best of the situation, but it wasn’t ideal, because it more or less decided the outcome of the title race.
What are your plans now that you’ve finished as runner-up in the 2016 Audi Sport TT Cup?
There are two options for me: either GT3 sports car or touring car series. I now feel absolutely ready to graduate to even faster racing cars. I hope that, with my successes so far, I’ve been able to draw attention to myself. In any case, this runner-up trophy fills me with self-confidence. I’m working on the next step towards a career as a professional racing driver.
Was the Audi Sport TT Cup a good training ground for you?
Absolutely! When I think back to how I felt at the start of my very first race in 2015 and how I feel now, there is hardly any comparison. I feel really good at the wheel of a touring car and have the sense that I can always drive it at the limit. The Audi Sport TT Cup was a really good preparation for me. Also with regard to things like fitness training away from the track, how to handle interviews and all the various other aspects. For all of that, I would like to thank Audi very much.