The DTM drivers staged spectacular racing action in Munich’s Olympiastadion.
München. The DTM drivers staged spectacular racing action in Munich’s Olympiastadion. In a thrilling final on Sunday, Audi driver Mattias Ekström beat Jamie Green in the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé to win the individual competition at the two 614 metres long parallel tracks. Canadian Bruno Spengler (BMW) and Brit Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz), who were both beaten in the semi-finals, ended up third. As a unique event in motorsport, a relay competition with two cars per manufacturer was held on Saturday, with victory for Mercedes-Benz with Ralf Schumacher and Jamie Green in the final. During the weekend, 45,000 spectators trekked to the Olympiapark to watch the premium brands Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the sporting competition.
The knock-out races on Sunday, each featuring two drivers at one of the two parallel tracks within the narrow confines of the stadium, provided thrilling action for the spectators on the grandstands. Risky driving manoeuvres along the concrete walls, spectacular powerslides and thrilling head-to-head duels made Munich to a unique experience.
The weather played its role on Sunday as well, with rain showers and a damp track adding to the excitement. In the quarter finals, 90 thousandths of a second separated the Audi A5 DTM of Swedish driver Mattias Ekström and the BMW M3 DTM of reigning DTM champion Martin Tomczyk from Germany, who was defeated in front of his home crowd. In the semi-final, Ekström beat British drivers Paffett while Green made his way into the final with a tiny margin over Bruno Spengler (BMW). “A slight error cost me victory,” Spengler explained.
In two final heats, each one on different sides of the stadium, Ekström won after an incredible recovery. Problems during the pit stop were the reason that the Swede was behind after the first heat, but the 34-year old battled through the rain in a determined way in the second heat and was within a whisker of Green, when the latter was beaten due to a delay in the pit stop and eventually crossed the finish line 1.5 seconds down. “I can always particularly enjoy such winning moments, even though there are no championship points to be won. At the end of the day, I always want to win and we had a hot race,” a happy Ekström said. “We both wanted to win, but I was unfortunate during the pit stop,” Green summarised his defeat.
Numerous prominent guests came to the stadium on Sunday as well: German national football player Thomas Müller watched the DTM, just like FC Bayern Munich supremo Karl-Heinz Rummenige. Kai Pflaume, anchorman of German TV channel ARD had already been at DTM races more often and singer Stefanie Heinzmann always likes to come to the DTM as well. On Sunday, the Swiss performed on the ARD Chartshow stage in the Olympiastadion. The presenting duo of Christina Surer and Armin Assinger, the latter being the regular anchorman of “Who wants to be a millionaire” in Austrian TV, provided information and entertainment for the spectators in the stadium.
After 2011, the DTM event, during which no points for the championship standings are at stake, already was held for the second time in Munich. The DTM continues in four weeks’ time: the sixth round of the season will take place at the Nürburgring, August 19th.
Norbert Haug, head of motorsport Mercedes-Benz: “In Munich, we have seen a nice balance between the brands. The opposition is absolutely at the same level. From my point of view, the biggest winners are the spectators, who even stayed in the pouring rain. I have seen the fascination in the eyes of many people. On Saturday, we have won, on Sunday, Audi did. The results show that we are competitive at the front.”
Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport director: “The figure of 45,000 spectators has indicated that there is a huge interest. We were able to provide them with a great sporting show. On Saturday, we had to lean the hard way, but today, we can be happy. The competitiveness is there. Eventually, Mattias Ekström has won in difficult conditions in the rain. Congratulations to him!”
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, head of motorsport Audi: “We didn’t ask for the rain, but the challenging conditions will certainly mean that the spectators will remember this event. For the team, a win is always the best reward and Mattias has given himself a great belated birthday present. Here, the competition was as strong as during a DTM race weekend.”