DTM

Mercedes-Benz driver line-up for 2009

Mercedes DTM-Eight Complete - At the wheel of the 2009 AMG Mercedes C-Class: Gary Paffett (28, Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class), 2005 DTM Champion and Formula 1 test driver for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes; Paul Di Resta (22, AMG...

Mercedes DTM-Eight Complete

- At the wheel of the 2009 AMG Mercedes C-Class: Gary Paffett (28, Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class), 2005 DTM Champion and Formula 1 test driver for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes; Paul Di Resta (22, AMG Mercedes C-Class), 2006 Formula 3 Euro Series Champion and 2008 DTM runner-up; Ralf Schumacher (33, Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class), second most successful German Formula 1 driver with six grand prix wins; Bruno Spengler (25, Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class), 2006 and 2007 DTM runner-up.

- Susie Stoddart (26, TV-Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class); Jamie Green (26, Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class), 2004 Formula 3 Euro Series Champion; Mathias Lauda (28, AMG Mercedes C-Class) and Maro Engel (23, GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class) will drive the 2008 AMG Mercedes C-Class.

- Talks with Bruno Senna after his DTM test in Hockenheim lasted until last night. However, Bruno decided to focus completely on his Formula 1 chances and, of course, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport accepts this.

Stuttgart, 17th April 2009 -- Eight drivers will race in the 2009 DTM with the AMG Mercedes C-Class, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport announced today. The eight Mercedes-Benz DTM drivers are:

Susie Stoddart (26/Scotland):"I look forward to the new season and I want to be more than a blur of colour."

In 2003 and 2004, Susie qualified for the final round of the renowned McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award. Three years ago, she changed from the British Formula 3 Championship to the DTM and she finished her first race in the championship in Hockenheim in 10th place. The same results in Mugello, Italy in 2007 and at the Norisring in 2008 were her best race results so far.

Gary Paffett (28/England): "I love the DTM and in addition to my job as a Formula 1 test driver with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes I look forward to racing in my favourite series with a new car. I know this is a commitment and the best would be I achieve the same as in 2005."

When Gary Paffett came back to the DTM after a one-year break, he won already his second race in Oschersleben 2007. It was the first time that a DTM race was won in a last year's car and it was the 10th DTM race win for Gary Paffett. In 2008, the Englishman finished ninth overall and was the best driver with a last year's car. Now he will race again with a new AMG Mercedes C-Class. Gary Paffett won the 1999 McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award. In 2002, he became German Formula 3 champion. In December 2005, two months after winning the DTM championship title, he was promoted McLaren Mercedes test driver.

Paul Di Resta (22/Scotland): "Runner-up is nice, only one position is nicer. I will fight to achieve it in 2009."

In 2006, Di Resta won the Formula 3 Euro Series with five victories out of 20 races; like Jamie Green in 2004 and reigning Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton in 2005, he was driving for ASM. He debuted in the DTM on 22nd April 2007 with fifth place in Hockenheim, followed by fifth place overall in the championship. In 2008, Paul Di Resta raced the new AMG Mercedes C-Class and became runner-up, four points behind champion Timo Scheider. Di Resta is the cousin of former Mercedes-Benz DTM driver Dario Franchitti, winner of the 2007 Indianapolis 500, the 2007 US Indy Racing League champion and winner of the 2008 24-hour-race in Daytona 2008. Di Resta benefited from and excelled in the Mercedes young driver promotion already early on. He was 14 years old, when he won the McLaren Mercedes "Champions of the Future" kart series in 2000 and then again in 2001. In 2004, he won the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award and became a Mercedes-Benz Junior.

Ralf Schumacher (33/Germany): "When Mercedes-Benz offered me an up-to-date C-Class in the 2009 DTM I could turn them down. Last season, I felt more comfortable than never before -- I had a lot of fun. Therefore I am really happy to continue learning in the DTM. Now I have at least a theoretical chance to fight for podium finishes or even victories. We have to wait and see how this will work on the track. My target for 2009 is to finish in the points and to learn from my three team mates who will also race the 2009 AMG Mercedes C-Class, and to race on their level. I will do my best to achieve these targets. If better results are possible -- OK."

From 1997 until 2007, Ralf participated in 180 Grands Prix, won six of them and started from pole position six times. He posted eight fastest race laps and scored a total of 329 World Championship points. In 2001 and 2002, he finished the Drivers' Championship in fourth positions respectively. In the Brazilian Grand Prix on 21st October 2007, driving for Toyota, he finished his Formula 1 career. Ralf Schumacher scored his first DTM point at the Nuerburgring finishing eighth in extreme weather conditions. There he had started seventh which was his best qualifying result. In Barcelona he finished seventh, his best race result of the season.

Bruno Spengler (25/Canada): "After finishing runner-up twice in the previous years, fifth place in the 2008 overall ranking was not what I had planned for. However, this motivates even more to be at the top from the very beginning this year."

After a learning year with Persson Motorsport in 2005, he moved up to the HWA factory team. When he clinched his first DTM victory at Nuremberg's Norisring in 2006, he was one of the youngest winners in DTM history at the age of 22 years and 334 days. In the same year, he became runner-up; one year later, he repeated this success. In 2008, second place at the Norisring was his best race result; in the overall ranking he ended up fifth.

Maro Engel (23/Germany): "The previous DTM season was a completely new experience for me. In my second DTM year, I want to make use of the opportunity Mercedes-Benz is giving me and score my first points."

Born in Munich, Maro Engel raced karts for five years before he drove his first ever car race at the age of 15 in 2001. In the Formula BMW Junior Cup, he won three races and was third overall. At the age of 18, he entered Formula 3 in 2003. Two years later, he took part in five races of the Italian Formula 3000 series and changed to the British Formula 3 Championship in 2006. Two years ago, he finished the championship runner-up after winning three races. He completed his first DTM race on 13th April 2008 in Hockenheim as Ralf Schumacher's team mate. He achieved his best result of the season finishing ninth at the Norisring in June 2008.

Jamie Green (26/England): "In my eyes, the DTM is the best touring car series. Here you fight for every meter and every tenth of a second. Not only I like this, but also the spectators and fortunately there are many of them."

The 26-year-old Englishman has been with Mercedes-Benz for 11 years. In 1997, he was second of the "Champions of the Future" kart series with two wins; this series was part of the promotion programme for young drivers of Formula 1 partners McLaren and Mercedes-Benz. In 2004, Green won the Formula 3 Euro Series with seven victories out of 20 races at the wheel of an ASM team Dallara Mercedes; driving for ASM in 2005, also Formula 1 runner-up Lewis Hamilton won the title of this championship for this team. In 42 DTM races since 2005, Jamie won four times, achieved six pole positions and posted seven fastest race laps.

Mathias Lauda (28/Austria): "I am happy to race in the DTM again in 2009 and I want to achieve good results."

Only four years after his first ever race, Mathias Lauda, the son of three-times Formula 1 World Champion Niki Lauda, started in the DTM with a 2004 AMG-Mercedes C-Class of the Persson-Team. No other driver had a shorter motor sport career before entering the DTM. Lauda's best result was his sixth place in Barcelona in September 2007; it was the second time that he scored points after finishing seventh at the Lausitzring in May 2007. In 2008, he finished eighth at the Norisring.

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "In Stuttgart, we are very proud that we have again significantly increased our sponsorship budget despite difficult economic conditions, a set of circumstances which has worked in favour of the DTM series. At the same time, we have undergone a rigid efficiency and cost reduction programme during winter. On this occasion, I want to thank our entire team, be it drivers, technicians, organisers, media, controlling or marketing colleagues for their efforts which made this possible.

Now, we all look forward to the new season and with our driver team and the C-Class we want to provide the fans with exciting races."

-credit: mb

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