The DTM provided an extraordinary motoring show in Munich’s Olympiastadion on Saturday. In an action-packed relay competition of the three manufacturers Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Ralf Schumacher and Norisring winner Jamie Green with the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé beat two times’ DTM champion Timo Scheider and Adrien Tambay with the Audi A5 DTM in a very close final. After twelve laps in the final heat, the Audi drivers were only two tenths of a second behind the winners. “Of course, I am happy with our first place. This was a perfect day for me. I could get used to this”, said a buoyant Schumacher. “The team competition was a very special thing, it was great fun”, was the verdict of French DTM rookie Adrien Tambay after his successful day.
In the race for third place, Gary Paffett and Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz) finished ahead of Dirk Werner and Joey Hand (BMW). In front of a good crowd in the impressive surroundings of the Olympiapark, the drivers presented themselves in optimal shape. “Driving in the stadium is a special feeling. On the short track, you have to be extremely concentrated”, said Vietoris. In the battle of the brands, BMW was defeated in front of its home crowd, but Bruno Spengler showed his competitive spirit for the races on Sunday: “Things didn’t run optimally in the relay, but the individual competition is a totally new affair.”
The Munich event isn’t counting towards the official DTM standings, but that didn’t affect the drivers’ ambitions at the narrow stadium track. The unusual team competition, during which two drivers per team completed distances ranging from three to five laps after each other, required the right mix of driving precision and speed. Two times’ DTM champion Mattias Ekström (Audi) had bad luck, retiring in the quarter finals on his 34th birthday.
An extraordinary effort was completed before the event: 45 dump trucks were used to transport 21,000 tons of gravel. Workers installed 4,800 tons of asphalt for the two courses of 614 metres each. To make the competitions even more thrilling for the spectators, the drivers were simultaneously on two identical track lay-outs, making it clear immediately which car was in front.
The attractive side event programme with sport, music and show enthused the crowd on Saturday. Autograph sessions with the DTM drivers were just as popular as photo sessions with the grid girls and numerous concerts in the paddock area.
The event continues with the individual competitions on Sunday. The 22 DTM drivers will be competing against each other in a head-to-head format. ARD is broadcasting live in its ’Sportschau’ programme from 14.15 h CET.