Olé with 10,000 hp -- DTM Debut in Spain
With the eighth round of the 2006 DTM at Barcelona this coming weekend the championship will enter a new country. For the first time ever since 1984, a race will be staged in Spain. Spain will be the 16th country to host a DTM race, including the ITC held in 1995 and 1996.
Prior to the race at Barcelona Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) is the overall leader with 54 points ahead of Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM) with 44 and Bruno Spengler (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes) on 39 points.
History: DTM history began in 1984 with a race outside Germany; it was held in Zolder, Belgium. Out of 324 DTM and ITC races, 83 have been staged outside Germany which is more than a quarter. (From 1988 until 2000, there have been two races per event; the DTM was not held from 1997 until 1999.) Only in 2000, after the championship had been relaunched, all races were staged in Germany (a total of 18; however, two races at the EuroSpeedway were cancelled due to heavy rain).
The 83 DTM races outside Germany so far: Belgium 23 (Zolder 22, Spa 1); England 13 (Donington 10, Silverstone 2, Brands Hatch 1); Italy 8 (Mugello 6, Adria 2); Czech Republic 8 (Brno); Netherlands 6 (Zandvoort); Portugal 5 (Estoril); Finland 4 (Helsinki); France 4 (Magny-Cours); Austria 4 (A1-Ring 3, Salzburgring 1); Brasil 2 (Sao Paulo); Japan 2 (Suzuka); Hungary 2 (Budapest); China 1 (Shanghai, invitational); Turkey 1 (Istanbul).
The circuit: The DTM will use the Circuit de Catalunya's 2.949-km long National Circuit to offer a better show to the spectators. This track is about 1.7 kms shorter than the Grand Prix circuit, which means, that with a total distance of a little over 170 kms the race will cover 21 laps more than on the 4.627-km long Grand Prix circuit. With a distance of 171.042 kms the race will be the longest of the season and exactly 842 metres longer than the race distance at the Norisring. The Circuit de Catalunya is only a few kilometres away from the Mediterranean Sea. The wind, which blows here frequently, brings sand on the track, similar to Zandvoort recently. This makes the surface slippery and causes changeable conditions.
Pedro de la Rosa will drive demonstrations laps with the McLaren Mercedes MP4-20: On Sunday prior to the race, the 35-year old Catalan from Barcelona, who had finished second in the Hungarian Grand Prix, will run demonstration laps in the McLaren Mercedes Formula One car. On Saturday Pedro will drive the DTM race taxi AMG-Mercedes C-Class with guests around the circuit; he will sign autographs and will answer questions on the occasion of the public press conference "Meet the Drivers" on Saturday, 17:15 h.
The new weight distribution: 2006 AMG-Mercedes C-Class (Schneider, Green, Häkkinen, Spengler): 1,075 kilograms; 2006 Audi A4 DTM: 1,065 kilograms; 2005 AMG-Mercedes C-Class of Jean Alesi, Daniel la Rosa, Alexandros Margaritis, Stefan Mücke: 1,060 kilograms; 2004 cars like the AMG-Mercedes C-Class of Mathias Lauda and Susie Stoddart: 1,020 kilograms.
Comments from the Mercedes drivers, in the order of the result from the Zandvoort race:
Bernd Schneider, start number 2 (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes C-Class, second): "I look forward to Barcelona, and I hope that many fans will be excited to watch the DTM and come to see the race. When we tested here I liked the circuit and with only ten kilograms more than the Audis we should have a good chance to succeed. My target is to extend my championship lead."
Bruno Spengler, start number 9 (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes C-Class, fourth): "Like in Zandvoort, it is often windy in Barcelona and that means, that it is difficult to find a good set-up. When we tested here we found out that something that worked well in the morning doesn't always work as well in the afternoon after conditions changed."
Stefan Mücke, start number 17 (TV Spielfilm AMG-Mercedes C-Class, seventh): "I didn't attend the spring test and therefore I am very keen to drive on this track. I heard it's a lot of fun to drive there, and I want to repeat my good performances of the last races and to continue our upward trend."
Jamie Green, start number 3 (Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes C-Class, eighth): "I'm looking forward to Barcelona. The short version of the track will be new for everyone. Here I want to end up at the top not only in qualifying but also in the race."
Daniel la Rosa, start number 18 (TrekStor AMG-Mercedes C-Class, 10th): "For me Barcelona is a new circuit and I tried to learn it with the computer. I think I will like the track, and I hope I will be able to resume my good performance from Zandvoort."
Mika Häkkinen, start number 8 (AMG-Mercedes C-Class, 11th): "Barcelona is a high speed circuit and requires a lot of commitment from the driver in some corners which is great fun. I have great memories there by achieving three victories in F1, but DTM cars are not the same, and I look forward to the new challenge. After two unsatisfying results recently I want to reward my team with a top result for their hard work."
Susie Stoddart, start number 22 (AutoScout24 AMG-Mercedes C-Class, 12th): "I had my very first DTM test drive in Barcelona, therefore I know the circuit a little bit already and I'm looking forward to be there again. After the very good result in Zandvoort I hope to be the top driver with a 2004 car in Barcelona again."
Mathias Lauda, start number 21 (Second Hand AMG-Mercedes C-Class, 13th): "Barcelona is my residence, and therefore I look forward to particularly this race weekend. This will be my home race. I know the track pretty well and hope for a good qualifying result like in Zandvoort: If I can manage this, I should be able to achieve a positive result also in the race."
Alexandros Margaritis, start number 11 (EasyRent AMG-Mercedes C-Class, retired due to a broken steering link after being hit by another car): "The last two races were disappointing. We had a good speed, but after being relegated in qualifying and due to the retirement in Zandvoort I was not able to achieve good results. If we finally will experience an uneventful weekend at Barcelona points should be possible."
Jean Alesi, Start number 10 (stern AMG-Mercedes C-Class, retired due to power steering failure): "I achieved three podium finishes at Barcelona in Formula One; therefore my memories of this track are not bad. At the Circuit de Catalunya tyre wear is pretty high that means a good pit stop strategy will be crucial for the race. With the experience our team has gained a good result should be possible."
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "The DTM guest performance at Barcelona will be an ideal step to extend the series to the most important European markets. Of course, it will take some work to develop it. Five years ago, there were Formula One races taking place in Barcelona with only a few spectators. Today Spain has Fernando Alonso as a Formula One World Champion and in an international comparison, the Spanish Grand Prix achieves record spectator attendances."
"With its debut in Spain, the DTM seeks to entertain the spectators not only with a thrilling race, but also a unique and first class supporting programme. Therefore Pedro de la Rosa will drive his McLaren Mercedes Formula One car in front of his home crowd, after he has also driven prizewinners and guests around the circuit in the C-Class race taxi at racing speed. From a sporting dimension, the fight will certainly be a top class affair. Prior to the final three races, everything is open and only the results we will achieve will count rather than the ones we have achieved already. This is an incentive for everybody in our team."