Hockenheim: 'New terrain' for Opel drivers The new DTM is now three years old and for the third time the final race will be staged at Hockenheim. But this time, the drivers will be venturing out on 'new terrain': The DTM will have its debut on...
Hockenheim: 'New terrain' for Opel drivers
The new DTM is now three years old and for the third time the final race will be staged at Hockenheim. But this time, the drivers will be venturing out on 'new terrain': The DTM will have its debut on the rebuilt Grand Prix circuit. "The important thing is that spectators will be able to see more of the race because the track has been shortened and the cars will be passing by the stands more frequently. Moreover, safety has been optimised," Opel drivers are chiming in unison.
None of the Opel drivers has any experience so far with the 4.489-kilometre circuit. "I attended the Formula 1 Grand Prix at Hockenheim as an invitee, but that's all," said Michael Bartels (Opel Team Holzer). Alain Menu (Opel Euroteam) admits: "Taking an unknown track 'under your wheels' still has a certain appeal, it gives you a special thrill." On the other hand, Opel drivers are experienced enough to prepare themselves as thoroughly as possible and to 'learn' the routing of the new circuit in minimum time. "I think that the long corner may well see some slip-stream duals resulting in overtaking manoeuvres as well," Timo Scheider (Opel Team Holzer) speculates.
In any event, the long wooded straights of the former GP circuit are history. "It was definitely an experience practically driving through the forest alone over two thirds of the track before immersing yourself once again into an impressive crowd at the Motodrom," Joachim Winkelhock (Opel Team Phoenix) reminisces. And Michael Bartels, as well, looks back wistfully: "The old Hockenheim-Ring used to be a track of true character -- and my favourite one at that."
Pit stop: Opel Team Phoenix performed tyre change in a mere 5.3 seconds
At Zandvoort, Opel Team Phoenix managed to handle a pit stop virtually at lightning speed. The red Opel Astra V8 Coupé piloted by Joachim Winkelhock was serviced by the tech crew led by team chief Ernst Moser in a mere 5.301 seconds. This was the time it took the crew to mount four new tyres, thus marking the fastest pit stop time so far achieved by the three Opel teams this season. With 5.830 seconds, Gabriele Seresina's Opel Euroteam, as well, stayed below the six-second mark during Eric Helary's mandatory pit stop at Zandvoort. Günther Holzer's Opel Team Holzer undercut the six-second mark on two occasions already, i.e. with 5.900 seconds for Michael Bartels' pit stop at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz and with 5.978 seconds when changing the tyres of Timo Scheider's V8 Coupé at the A1-Ring.