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Arjun Maini on his maiden DTM season – Interview | Autocar India

Written by Gulati

Printed On Nov 21, 2021 08:00:00 AM

Arjun Maini wrapped up his maiden DTM season on a excessive notice, with a long-awaited podium consequence. He discusses the season, adjusting to GT3 racing and extra.

The crescendo for Arjun Maini’s maiden DTM season got here on the very finish. It took a while to get there, however he lastly scored his first-ever podium within the championship, ending second at Norisring.

Studying curve

Having raced in single-seaters and endurance racing prototypes, Maini determined to provide GT3 racing a go. He turned the first Indian to race within the DTM, becoming a member of the Mercedes-affiliated group GetSpeed.

Nevertheless it wasn’t the dream begin he’d hoped for. Regardless of displaying a promising tempo in apply, Maini struggled within the preliminary rounds. When requested to explain his rookie season, Maini says, “I feel, as a complete, it’s a bit bittersweet as a result of we began off with actually sturdy testing and we knew our tempo was there immediately. However, sadly, within the first few races, the efficiency wasn’t fairly there. So it was a bit disappointing”

“However I bought stronger because the season went on and I feel within the second half of the season, our qualifying tempo particularly was very sturdy.”

Maini admits that he did initially wrestle to become familiar with GT3 racing. “It’s totally different,” he says. “The primary factor to get used to is the ABS [Anti-lock Braking System], we don’t have that in single-seaters and prototypes. So the braking approach is sort of totally different in these.”

Nevertheless it wasn’t simply the brand new automobile that he needed to become familiar with; it was a complete different fashion of racing. “It’s much more aggressive, much more wheel banging, bumper banging. It’s rather a lot nearer and it’s important to be actually aggressive to be sturdy,” Maini explains.

“It was not one thing I used to be actually used to, as a result of, sure, you could be aggressive in single-seaters and prototypes, however you may’t have a single contact since you’re going to wreck your automobile. However on this, a little bit of contact right here and there actually does nothing. So it was bizarre getting used to this, however I feel by the point I bought to Nürburgring, I bought good at that as nicely.”

Moreover, Maini needed to conquer this studying curve whereas competing towards a grid stuffed with skilled DTM superstars like Mike Rockenfeller and Marco Wittmann.

2021 kicked off a brand new chapter for the DTM, with the championship switching to a customer-based GT3 method. However Maini factors out that majority of the grid nonetheless had GT3 racing expertise. “For a newcomer to GT3 racing, like me, it [the field] was not likely evened out, as a result of I used to be racing towards seasoned GT3 drivers, not likely DTM drivers.”

Podium glory

Issues lastly began to fall into place within the second-half of the season although, and Maini picked up his first factors at Nürburgring. He reckons that with some extra luck on his aspect, he may have even picked up his first podium on the Pink Bull Ring. However he’d have to attend a bit longer for that.

The following few rounds at Assen and Hockenheimring have been irritating as he suffered a spate of retirements and difficult luck. Finally, the second he was ready for got here on the Norisring finale. A lightning-fast pit cease, mixed with some nice defending, noticed him end second in Race 1.

Reflecting on the spherical, Maini says, “It was a extremely good feeling immediately. I really feel like normally on avenue circuits, I’m fairly good as nicely. I don’t know what it was, nevertheless it clicked.”

“Our pace was there, qualifying tempo was immediately there, race tempo was sturdy as nicely and, in fact, we had a little bit of luck on our aspect through the weekend. Each races have been sturdy. Sadly, in Race 2, I bought taken out by [Nico] Müller, so I missed out on a podium alternative there. However on the finish of the day, it was a extremely sturdy efficiency,” he provides.

As he stood on the DTM podium for the very first time, Maini recollects a direct sense of reduction. “We have been pushing for the entire yr and also you by no means suppose the missed alternatives may come again while you’re sitting away from the racetrack.”

“However on the finish of the day, I feel we bought ourselves again into that place and, at a while, luck kicked in. So it turned out good and it was simply loads of reduction to be on the rostrum. However then immediately, as quickly as you’re there, you need extra. You suppose ‘I can win now,’ in order that’s the following step.”

Excessive strain

Maini was on the market primarily representing the entire nation, additional highlighted by the truth that his Mercedes-AMG GT3 race automobile donned the colors of the Indian flag. It’s a excessive strain scenario to be in.

When requested if this was one thing that performed behind his thoughts, Maini says, “After all. I at all times put strain on myself anyway to ensure that I carry out my finest, generally perhaps a bit an excessive amount of. So it may backfire for certain.”

“The start of the season was very irritating, simply the truth that you could be up there, however you’re not in a position to do it. I feel loads of Indians have been trying ahead to a powerful DTM season for me. So, in fact, it was fairly disappointing that I wasn’t in a position to ship.”

“So, on the finish, I’m fairly pleased that every one the strain paid off and we may no less than give them one thing.”

In the end, Maini believes he did ship a profitable rookie marketing campaign. “I used to be off to a rocky begin, however on the finish of the day I feel I confirmed that I can struggle on the entrance persistently, each in qualifying and within the race.”

“Numerous the opposite guys are in a automobile nearly each weekend. So hopefully I get a number of extra seats right here and there, that ought to have the ability to assist me,” he provides, calling consideration to simply how necessary seat time is.

What’s subsequent?

Whereas nothing has been confirmed to date, Maini is hoping to return to the DTM subsequent season. Ought to he return, he already is aware of what must be labored on.

 “I feel generally our race tempo, when there was no tyre degradation, was at all times sturdy; however we struggled in locations the place we had excessive tyre degradation. So I feel that might be a degree to enhance on if we come again subsequent yr; to ensure that our tyre saving – from both aspect, arrange and myself – is on level, in order that’s not a weak point,” he explains.

At simply 23 years outdated, Maini’s already constructed an impressively various racing portfolio for himself. “I’ve finished Le Mans which was an enormous dream for me, I’ve finished Formulation automobiles, and now the DTM. So I feel I’m nearly finished with the racing bingo!” he jokes.

He’s but determining his racing plans for the close to future, however there’s something pending on his guidelines. “The GT endurance aspect actually excites me,” he provides.

“So the World Problem, perhaps the Nürburgring 24 Hours, a number of of those I feel could be good to do as nicely.”

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Gulati