DTM drivers Timo Scheider (Audi), Timo Glock (BMW) and Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz), together with deputy ITR chairman Dr. Thomas Betzler, handed over donation cheques on behalf of the DTM in Meissen on Friday to three cities that were particularly affected by the flooding in Eastern Germany. At the Heinrichsplatz in Meissen, they handed over 100,000 Euros each to Olaf Raschke, mayor of the city of Meissen, Klaus-Peter Hanke, mayor of the city of Pirna, and Michael Oecknigk, mayor of the city of Herzberg.
“Like probably everyone, I switched on the news channels every morning and watched how the flooding developed. But when you are actually here and you see how high the water really was, it is a completely different affair,” Glock said. For the ex-Formula 1 driver, the donation is “a nice gesture from us. We hope that we are able to help out a little bit with it.” Christian Vietoris was moved, too. “There is no piece of furniture left in the houses,” he commented. “It is a very difficult situation for the people here. It is important that we can perhaps help out a little bit.”
For Timo Scheider, this aid is “perhaps even an obligation. When I am walking through the city here and see that one shop after another was flooded and all the people’s belongings have floated off, it is difficult to tell the people: Just believe that everything will be all right again. Once, I was affected by flooding in my house, too, and I was standing there with tears in my eyes. You are just left without a chance against the forces of nature. But it is a good thing for our country how everybody is lending a helping hand.” Dr. Thomas Betzler had a look around in Meissen. “You can see that it must have been a disaster only a few days ago,” he said.
The cheques were handed over at the Heinrichsplatz in the historic city centre of Meissen, which was entirely flooded by the Elbe river only a few days ago. Numerous shops in the city centre were damaged and have to be meticulously restored. The city museum was affected as well. The three mayors reported in detail to the drivers how people in their cities battled against the water and expressed their gratitude for the unexpected financial aid.
“I was very positively surprised that we got such great news at the time when we were still standing in the water. Getting the first positive report from the DTM was absolutely great. For me, it was overwhelming,” the mayor of Meissen, Olaf Raschke, said on behalf of his colleagues. The immediate availability of the money is a very good aspect, his counterpart Klaus-Peter Hanke from Pirna said. “People need help now, and quickly.” Mayor Michael Oecknigk from Herzberg first wants to buy a huge pump to relieve his city and the surrounding communities of the water.
Prior to its fourth season round at the Lausitzring this weekend, the DTM spontaneously responded to the situation in the immediate vicinity of the race track. Together with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the three premium car manufacturers involved in the DTM, the board of the DTM rights-holder and promoter ITR e.V. had made 300,000 Euros available to help cities affected by the flood in a quick and unbureaucratic way. Moreover, the three mayors were given free entry tickets for the Lausitzring DTM round in order to pass them on to the volunteers who helped out after the flooding.