Mercedes ahead Russian DTM premiere

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Ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher and Vitaly Petrov get fans in mood for DTM debut on the new 2.555km race track on outskirts of Russian capital.

The second half of the 2013 DTM season gets under way from 3rd to 4th August with a premiere, when, for the first time in the 28-year history of the DTM, drivers in the popular touring car series contest a race in Russia. The sixth race of the season will take place at the new Moscow Raceway on the outskirts of the Russian capital.

The track: The Moscow Raceway is located around 80km north-west of Moscow. The circuit was designed by German race track architect Hermann Tilke and opened in 2012. The 2.555km track consists of eight left-hand and four right-hand turns.

Christian Vietoris, HWA, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupe
Christian Vietoris, HWA, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupe

Photo by: ITR eV

Drivers are expected to reach top speeds of up to 260km/h in their DTM cars. The debut race of the DTM at the Moscow Raceway will be staged over 74 laps, equating to a total distance of 189.070km.

Moscow City Racing: The Moscow City Racing event was held on 20th and 21st July in front of more than 100,000 spectators by way of an introduction to the DTM premiere at the Moscow Raceway. On behalf of Mercedes-Benz, Ralf Schumacher and former Russian Formula 1 driver Vitaly Petrov completed demo laps in a EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé against the stunning backdrop of the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral.

This was Petrov’s first time out in a DTM car. He said afterwards, “I’ve never driven such a fantastic car before, and the demo laps were great fun. The DTM is a top-class event, and the cars are great.” Petrov will also drive the Mercedes AMG C-Coupé racing taxi during the DTM race weekend at the Moscow Raceway.

Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): “I can be very happy with my efforts half-way through the season. The first half of the season went quite well for me with three podiums, two of them in the last two races, and third place in the drivers’ championship. I would like to continue this run of successes in the remaining five races and naturally, am aiming to achieve my first DTM victory.

However, it won’t be easy. The level of competition in the DTM is very high and we are breaking new ground with the next race in Moscow – no one knows yet which driver, which team and which car will cope best around the Moscow Raceway – and that makes it all the more important to stay focused from the very first practice session onwards and get the most out of the package. Our team did that extremely well during the last two race weekends.”

Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): “The Moscow Raceway is new to everyone and I am really looking forward to competing there. Not just because it’s a long time since I was able to get to grips with a new circuit, but also because I want to make a good start to the second half of the season and forget the disappointing end to the last race at the Norisring.

Maybe a new circuit like the one in Moscow will be the perfect way to make a new beginning. The engineers and mechanics will have plenty to do in Moscow; we must get to know a new track, find the right setup and tweak settings for qualifying and the race at the same time – and all of that with just one practice session on Saturday morning.

I hope that my experience from nearly ten years in the DTM pays off and that our car is at least as fast on this new track as at the Lausitzring and in Nuremberg.”

Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): “Two podiums and my first pole position– the first half of the season went exactly the way I would have wished. All drivers are now faced with a new challenge in Moscow. However, the level of ability in the DTM is such that any of the drivers can learn a new track within five to ten laps.

Consequently, it’s details regarding the choice of line and the car’s setup that will decide grid positions and places in the race. Spectators at the Moscow Raceway and fans at home sitting in front of their television sets can look forward to an exciting weekend when we will finally find out who can cope best with an unfamiliar circuit.

After brilliant team results for Mercedes-Benz in the past two races, I’m confident that I can again be among the front-runners in Moscow.”

Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): “I’m off to Russia this weekend for the first time ever and am really looking forward to getting to know the country and the city of Moscow a little bit. The Moscow Raceway is new to all drivers and teams – that perhaps constitutes some small advantage for rookies such as Pascal and me.

Ultimately, all drivers have to start from scratch there, get to know the peculiarities of the circuit and tune their cars at the outset to suit conditions – I’ve had some experience of that so far during my debut season in the DTM. Maybe everyone is in for another little surprise and I can finish on the podium. I’ve been watching onboard footage from other racing series in preparation.

Since we only have 90 minutes of practice time in which to find the right setup for qualifying and the race, any snippet of information might prove decisive over the course of the race weekend.”

Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): “Moscow marks the beginning of the second half of the season. After a difficult start to the year, I recently finished in the points twice in a row and secured my best result of the season in Nuremberg. I would like to build on that success in Moscow. The track is new to all drivers and holds the prospect of an exciting weekend.

The first sector is technically quite challenging as far as I can work out from videos and diagrams of the track that I’ve seen. The first right-hander is likely to be particular tough since its radius changes considerably as you run through. The best place to overtake appears to be at the end of the long straight before the start/finish line – chances of passing should present themselves using DRS.”

Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): “I am looking forward to the DTM premiere in Russia after two hard weekends in Nuremberg and at the Lausitzring. I’ve used the break since the race at the Norisring to keep fit and prepare for the new fixture at the Moscow Raceway.

Of course, I would have preferred to have just got back in the car after the Norisring to forget not finishing, but I’ve used the race-free time to analyse the first half of my DTM season and attune myself mentally for the remaining races. I’ve been watching Formula Renault 3.5 events at the Moscow Raceway in order to prepare for the new track, and my initial impressions of the circuit are very good. I can’t wait for the DTM to debut in Russia, and my excitement increases with every new day.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “The second half of this year’s DTM season is about to begin in Moscow, and there could hardly be a better way to start the second half of the year than with a new race on the outskirts of the Russian capital. The DTM is becoming more international and a DTM fixture in Russia is an important step in that direction.

As far as motor racing goes, all three premium manufacturers can expect to break new ground at the Moscow Raceway, but I am confident that our experienced team led by Gerhard Ungar knows exactly how to prepare thoroughly. Our results in the last two races are no guarantee that we will be successful in Moscow, but the brilliant team efforts of our young squad of drivers at the Lausitzring and in Nuremberg show that we have been absolutely right with our strategy of putting our faith in young drivers.

When Gary won at the Lausitzring, five of our six Mercedes-Benz drivers finished in the Top Ten, and four of the five Mercedes juniors secured places in the top seven at the Norisring. We intend to continue in this vein in the second half of the season, and I have every confidence in the guys that they have the talent and the speed needed to do just that.”

Mercedes

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Series DTM
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Tags dtm, juncadella, mercedes, merhi, paffett, petrov, russia, schumacher, vietoris, wickens

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