Arjun Maini completes a difficult 2021 DTM Assen
On September 19, Round 6 of the 2021 DTM came to an end at Assen with Arjun Maini walking out of the weekend without a point. The Indian driver faced loads of bad luck over the two races and that has put a setback to his momentum from the double points finish at the Red Bull Ring. In Race 1, Maini was out even before he came across the start line after crashing into the back of Vincent Abril on the rolling start. For Race 2, Maini qualified P8 but fell to P19 on the opening laps but managed to recover to P13. This was not something the Mercedes-AMG Getspeed driver planned on, but all he can do now is learn from these experiences in his first DTM championship. With that, let us look into Maini’s weekend at Assen.
This was one of the most disappointing races for Maini as his race finished even before it started. Maini showed good pace in the second practice session and came P4. He did replicate the pace in qualifying but only managed to come P13. But wait, there’s more to this story. His P13 qualification lap time was just 0.412 seconds off the pole sitters' lap time.
The race start was pre-discussed between the drivers because of the track’s layout. It was presumed that due to the short run to turn one and their format of a rolling start, the front runners might be hesitant to get the race rolling. And that’s exactly what happened. Pole-setter Liam Lawson got hesitant on the race start and due to this, a butterfly effect of crashes took place behind him. Amongst them, Arjun Maini was involved as he got caught up in Lawson’s poor start and ended up ramming the back of Vincent Abril. This resulted in damage to Maini’s car which led to his retirement.
After the setback in Race 1, Maini had hard intentions to get back the points in Race 2. Maini qualified in P8 and this time, he was just 0.220 seconds off the pole-sitter, Lucas Auer. But as before, lady luck was not in his favour. In the opening laps, Maini saw himself falling down the order, all the way to P19. Post pitting, it was a recovery race for the young Indian. He pitted early in lap five and planned on playing the long game to capture the lost positions.
From then onwards, even if he was out of the points contention, he put pedal to the metal and started reeling in the lost time. He had to face constant attacks from Esteban Muth mid-way through the race but managed to keep the T3 Motorsport driver behind until Muth wrestled his way past Maini. In the end, Maini crossed the checkered flag in P13 and even though he drove a matured Race 2, he could not earn any championship points from it.
After the races, Maini said, “I’m honestly at a loss to explain our lack of pace during Race 2”. He added, “We were definitely compromised by our lack of running but neither the team nor I expected the drop-off to be so severe. It’s something we’re looking into and hopefully, we can understand what went wrong today. The next round takes place at one of my favourite tracks on the calendar and I’m confident we can get back into the points”.
With that, all we can do now is wait for DTM to hit the corners of Hokenheimring on October 1. Maini still maintains his P14 position in the driver’s championship table with 17 points. To stay updated on everything motorsport, stay tuned to evo India!