Excitement Point by Point: DTM on the Finish Straight Prior to the 2005 DTM's ninth round at the Lausitzring this coming weekend, the overall leaders Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes) and Mattias EkstrÃ¶m (Audi) are again...
Excitement Point by Point: DTM on the Finish Straight
Prior to the 2005 DTM's ninth round at the Lausitzring this coming weekend, the overall leaders Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes) and Mattias Ekström (Audi) are again separated by only one point. With three races to go, Paffett who has won four races this year leads with 60 points ahead of Ekström with 59.
The championship progress: Since the third round at Spa, that means for six races, Paffett and Ekström alternately held the overall lead and have been separated by no more than three points. After Spa the Englishman led two points ahead of Ekström. Then the Swede won at Brno and took the top spot with three points ahead of Paffett who reduced the gap to one point with his victory at Oschersleben.
After winning at the Norisring Paffett was one point ahead of Ekström who again changed the order with his win at the Nürburgring. Again the gap was one point. Paffett claimed his fourth victory of the season at Zandvoort and took the championship lead for the third time, and also for the third time the gap was one point. Two years ago the DTM was similarly exciting when Mercedes-Benz team mates Bernd Schneider and Christijan Albers were within one point three races from the final.
Internationality: Four drivers with four different nationalities shared the season's eight race wins so far. Apart from Paffett (England) who won four races, Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes/France) won the season opener at Hockenheim, and Mika Häkkinen (Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes/Finland) won at Spa, Mattias Ekström (Audi/Sweden) took two victories.
Spectators: In May, 78.000 attended the first DTM race at the Lausitzring. This was the fifth biggest crowd of the season's eight races so far. The Norisring tops the ranking with 143,000 spectators on three days.
Weights: The 2005 cars of Mercedes-Benz and Audi will race with the maximum weight of 1,070 kilograms. The Opels will race with 1,030 kilograms.
The circuit: Like in May, the DTM will use again the shortened Grand Prix circuit with a length of 3,410 metres. The shortcut created the 32.5-metre wide ADAC corner which offers an additional overtaking opportunity. The race distance is 48 laps.
Facts and figures: Mercedes-Benz drivers finished each of the five DTM races first. Bernd Schneider won in 2002 and 2003. His team mate Peter Dumbreck achieved the 2001 victory. Gary Paffett was first in 2004 but was disqualified afterwards and Mattias Ekström (Audi) was declared winner. Paffett took victory on 1 May 2005.
Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes, winner of the last race at Zandvoort and overall leader):
"With its combination of the fast tri-oval sector and the slower infield the Lausitzring is unique on the DTM calendar. Our cars are suited to the track and we always had strong results here. I aim for victory number five."
Jamie Green (Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes, seventh at Zandvoort):
"In May Mattias Ekström pushed me into the gravel while braking into the ADAC corner. This time I will hopefully be far enough ahead of him so he will have room for his manoeuvre."
Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes, eighth at Zandvoort after a drive-through penalty):
"For the first time after Donington 2003 I started from pole position at Zandvoort, and then Rinaldo Capello and the drive-through penalty, which also our competition still cannot understand, prevented a good result. However, I'm the only DTM driver with two wins at the Lausitzring. If I have a race without incidents, I will try to achieve victory number three."
Mika Häkkinen (Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes, 12th at Zandvoort after spinning due to a blameless collision):
"I like the Lausitzring and I have good memories of this track. In May I posted the fastest lap of the race there and achieved my first DTM podium. I look forward to racing there a second time this year. The atmosphere with the huge grandstand is great and there it is even more fun to fight."
Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes, retired at Zandvoort after an accident due to a damaged tyre):
"My best result out of four starts at the Lausitzring was fifth place in 2003. I'm not at all satisfied with this record and I aim to finish on the podium in my fifth attempt."
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
"At the Lausitzring all drivers will benefit from their experience they gained there in spring. Therefore the field will probably be even closer. At that time 20 drivers have been within less than 1.4sec in qualifying and in the single-lap qualifying - including six Mercedes-Benz drivers - the gap from first to 10th place was 0.8sec. The spectators can again look forward to an exciting race and it would be great if the attendance would be even bigger than May's record crowd. I expect about 12 drivers of the three manufacturers to be capable of finishing on the podium."