Prior to the exciting finale of the 2008 DTM at Hockenheim this coming weekend, Paul Di Resta (AMG Mercedes C-Class) is two points behind the overall leader. After one win and three second places out of the previous four races, Di Resta has 63 points; Timo Scheider leads on 65 points.
At the halfway point of the season -- after the sixth of 11 races in Zandvoort - Paul Di Resta was 11 points behind the front. Within four races, he reduced this gap to two points and made nine points more than Scheider during this period.
Thus Paul Di Resta is able to clinch the championship by himself. Should he win and Scheider finish second, both would be tied on points and Di Resta would take the title with three wins ahead of Scheider with two wins.
* Only once the DTM headed for the final event with a smaller gap at the top of the rankings. In 2003, Bernd Schneider was first with 65 points ahead of his then team mate Christijan Albers with 64 points; Schneider became champion.
* Only twice, there has been a gap of two points prior to the finale: In 1990 between Hans-Joachim Stuck and Johnny Cecotto (Champion: Stuck) and one year ago between Mattias Ekstroem and Bruno Spengler with the AMG Mercedes C-Class (Champion: Ekstroem).
* For the 10th time in 22 years of DTM and ITC the championship will be decided in the final event.
* Mercedes-Benz Bank/AMG Mercedes with Paul Di Resta and Bruno Spengler lead the team rankings with 96 points.
* Of the ten races so far this season, Mercedes-Benz and Audi have won fives races each.
* Finishing fourth in Le Mans, Gary Paffett (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) maintained ninth place overall, he is the best driver with a last year's car in the DTM field.
* The 2008 seasonal finale will be the 62nd DTM/ITC race at Hockenheim since 1984. Mercedes-Benz drivers won 26 of them; half of these victories -- 13 -- were claimed by Bernd Schneider. The most recent winner for Mercedes-Benz at Hockenheim was Jamie Green with the Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class who clinched victory one year ago. Mercedes-Benz won 14 of the 19 DTM races at Hockenheim since the series' re-launch in 2000; Bernd Schneider took eight wins during this period.
* The 2008 seasonal finale will be Bernd Schneider's 227th and final DTM race with a Mercedes-Benz; he will conclude his career as a racing driver this coming weekend. At the Nuerburgring on 27th July 2008, he won his 43rd and -- so far - last DTM race. Schneider started from pole position 25 times, the last time at Barcelona on 21st September 2008 and he clinched five championship titles -- the last in 2006. In addition, Schneider won the 1995 ITC and the 1997 FIA GT Series. He claimed all these successes with Mercedes-Benz and partners AMG and HWA respectively.
* Di Resta holds the DTM lap record at Hockenheim, which he established during the season opener on 13th April 2008 with a 1m34.104.
* Three days prior to the event, more than 67,700 tickets have been sold -- a new record. For the 2007 seasonal finale, a total of 63,900 tickets had been sold.
Paul Di Resta, second overall, comments the upcoming race at Hockenheim:
"One win and three second positions out of the previous four races and nine points more than the overall leader are a great motivation for this season's finale at Hockenheim. I look forward to the many enthusiastic Mercedes-Benz employees and fans who will be sitting on the grandstand and I will give it my all to fulfill their hopes. The successes of the last races should help me."
Bernd Schneider, record champion and winner in the DTM, who will participate in his last race at Hockenheim:
"I will leave with mixed emotions. I will miss the sport and particularly such fantastic events like the yearly DTM season finale at Hockenheim with the enthusiastic crowd. However, I don't have to go without it completely. As an instructor, test driver and brand ambassador for Mercedes-AMG I will keep in touch with this great series and also stay in contact with my many fans; I thank them for their support throughout the years."
Nobert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, comments the upcoming race at Hockenheim:
"For sure, the finale at Hockenheim will be the race of the year: sold-out grandstands, a new record crowd and two title contenders who are covered by two points. Our Mercedes-Benz organisation alone sold more than 15,000 tickets to customers and employees, which is also a new record. What concerns the sport: After two races, Paul Di Resta was already 13 points behind the top, now, eight races later, the margin is only two points. His previous race in Le Mans was particularly strong and our C-Class should be fast at Hockenheim, we have won 14 out of the new DTM's 19 races at Hockenheimn - including last year's season finale - and Hockenheim has always been a traditional home race for us. Everybody in the team is looking forward to this Sunday's event. The 2008 season finale will also mark Bernd Schneider's farewell to active motor racing. As reported comprehensively this week, he will however remain within our family as a brand ambassador and driving instructor for Mercedes-AMG. In the finale in Hockenheim, his last race for Mercedes, he has the same chances of winning as he did in his DTM debut for Mercedes 17 years ago -- and this is always remarkable."