• The third race of the season sees the DTM make a welcome return to Austria after an eight-year absence.
• The DTM raced in Spielberg three times between 2001 and 2003. All three races were won by Mercedes-Benz driver: in 2001, victory went to DTM record breaker Bernd Schneider; in 2002 and 2003, the win went to Marcel Fässler.
• Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) leads the championship with 18 points after the first two races of the season.
Comments on the third race of the 2011 DTM season from:
Bruno Spengler (27, Canada, Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class):
• Has an eight-point lead in the drivers’ standings after two races
• Already has one podium in Spielberg to his credit, for third place in the first race of the 2003 Formula 3 Euro Series
“One win and a second-place finish in the first two races – no matter which way you look at it, it’s been a good start to the season. Obviously, I would have preferred to win in Zandvoort, but the most important thing is that we were genuine contenders there. This is a good omen for the upcoming races and for the title chase. I’m looking forward to driving my C-class at Spielberg on a track that I know well from the past. I’m convinced that we’re going to have a lot of fun driving on this circuit and – who knows – maybe I can take another win here like I managed in the past. In any case, I’ll be giving it everything I’ve got.”
Ralf Schumacher (35, Germany, Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class):
• Last raced at Spielberg in the 2003 Austrian Grand Prix
• Contested a total of seven Formula One Grands Prix in Austria – with a best result of P4 in 2002
“I live with my family in Salzburg, so the DTM race in Austria is like a home race for me. Spielberg is a really beautiful circuit that is in perfect harmony with the wonderful Styrian landscape. It has now been updated as a modern and safe track with generous run-off areas, and the pit complex has been completely rebuilt. The layout offers some good overtaking opportunities, so we can expect some wheel-to-wheel battles and overtaking, especially through the first few corners.”
Gary Paffett (30, England, Thomas Sabo AMG Mercedes C-Class):
• The only current Mercedes-Benz DTM driver to have competed in the last DTM race at Spielberg in 2003, achieving his best result of that season with a sixth-place finish
• Won the first round of the 2002 German Formula 3 Championship in Spielberg
“I have good memories of Spielberg from Formula 3 and from DTM. In 2003, which was my DTM debut season, I drove my best race of the year in Austria and finished in sixth place with a year-old car. That was a great result at the time. Spielberg is a track I really enjoy driving: the circuit is very close to the mountains and features lots of elevation changes. It also has a good mix of fast and slow corners, and the tight hairpins should offer overtaking opportunities. After a difficult start to the season, I would like to build on my good results from previous years and get on the podium for the first time this season – hopefully on the top step.”
David Coulthard (40, Scotland, Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class):
• Won the 2001 Austrian Grand Prix with McLaren-Mercedes and finished in second place on four other occasions (1997 – 2000)
• Posted three fastest race laps at Spielberg (1998, 2000, 2001) in Formula One with McLaren-Mercedes
“I’m very familiar with Spielberg from my time in Formula One. I competed in all seven Grands Prix there between 1997 and 2003, and I won the race in 2001 with McLaren-Mercedes. Because of my connections to Red Bull and the Wings for Life charity, the DTM race at the Red Bull ring is a sort of home race for me, which I’m really excited about. The test day on Thursday before the race is my chance to get the setup of my C-Class right for the track conditions, so that I can achieve the best possible result.”
Vice-President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug:
“It’s wonderful to see this circuit available for use again and to have it back on the DTM calendar.
The entire field is closer together than ever before
Following the renovation work, the whole venue is much improved, so the Red Bull Ring is certain to make its return to racing in front of a packed house. The races are more competitive in the 2011 DTM season, and the entire field is closer together than ever before. In the curtain-raiser at Hockenheim, the fastest laps posted by 17 of the 18 starters were within one second of each other - you won’t find that in any other racing series in the world, and it will be an equally close contest at the Red Bull Ring. We want to finish the first race at this modernised circuit in the same way that we finished the last DTM race staged at Spielberg in 2003 – with a win.”