Mercedes-Benz DTM drivers comment on the fourth race of the season at Spielberg
Of the four DTM races staged in Spielberg, Mercedes-Benz drivers have won three and set the fastest lap every time
Going into the fourth race of the season, Mercedes-Benz tops the table in all three DTM championships – drivers, teams and constructors
Next weekend’s race will be the fifth time that the DTM has been staged on the 4.326km circuit; the number of laps at the former Formula 1 venue has been increased from 38 to 47 for 2012, which corresponds to a race distance of 203.322 kilometres, i.e. the longest on the calendar
Drivers’ comments on the fourth race of the season at Spielberg:
Gary Paffett (31, England, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):
“Three races, two wins and one second place – the season could hardly have started better for me. Everything about our new DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé is first-class, and it has shown itself to be fast on all types of track. In Spielberg, though, we’re expecting some new challenges. The circuit has a very different character to Brands Hatch where we raced a fortnight ago. There are some long straights, and it’s certain that the field will be tightly matched once again. I drove at Spielberg when I was still competing in Formula 3 and actually won a race there in 2002. I’ve also raced in Austria twice in the DTM, but I haven’t made it onto the podium yet. I’d like to correct that this year.”
Jamie Green (29, England, Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):
“The track at Spielberg is still a relatively new experience for me. I’ve only driven one race there so far; that was last year when I finished sixth. I like the track and it’s fun to drive. There are some long straights, and it’s really impressive driving in the Austrian Alps – you don’t find these big elevation changes and such a fantastic atmosphere at many other venues. So far this year, the field has been evenly matched on all types of track, and I’m expecting it to be very tight in Spielberg too. But we’ve proved that our Mercedes AMG C-Coupé can be competitive on all circuits, and we’re intending to demonstrate that again in Spielberg.”
Christian Vietoris (23, Germany, Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé):
“Spielberg is a fabulous track; there are a number of long straights and it goes up and down all the way round. This circuit represents a major challenge that demands a lot from the driver and the car. It’s crucially important to get the right balance between maximum downforce for the twisty section and a high top speed for the relatively long straights. I’ve only driven on this track once before, but things went pretty well for me in the rain last year, so I’ll be coming to Austria in a positive frame of mind.”
Ralf Schumacher (36, Germany, Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):
“I’m coming to Spielberg with very good memories of finishing second in last year’s race. Having relocated some time ago to Salzburg, Spielberg now counts as my home race. The track is situated in this glorious Alpine setting, and it offers some excellent overtaking opportunities; the fans can certainly look forward to another exciting race. After a difficult weekend at Brands Hatch, I intend to be back in the mix with the front-runners at Spielberg.”
David Coulthard (41, Scotland, DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):
“Spielberg is a fantastic circuit in a beautiful part of Austria. From a driver’s perspective, the track is hugely enjoyable, but it’s quite difficult to extract every last ounce of performance from the car. It’s great that the DTM has been staged at Spielberg again since 2011, because the Austrian fans packed the stands last year and really motivated us. I’m very familiar with this track from my Formula 1 days, of course, and particularly from winning the 2001 Grand Prix when I was driving for McLaren Mercedes.”
It has been every bit as difficult to reliably predict pre-race favourites in the DTM as it has been in Formula 1.
Norbert Haug, Vice-President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“The Spielberg weekend signals the beginning of the second third of the 2012 DTM season. The new technical regulations have seen the development of some spectacular coupés that, in terms of performance and competitiveness, are the equal of cars racing in any series on the planet. In the qualifying sessions, the best lap times of the top dozen drivers are generally within half a second of each other, and the field is just as tight in the races themselves.
Given that the three manufacturers are so evenly matched, high-octane excitement is guaranteed at the demanding Red Bull Ring at Spielberg in Austria. Especially because so far in the 2012 season, it has been every bit as difficult to reliably predict pre-race favourites in the DTM as it has been in Formula 1.
Thanks to two wins from Gary Paffett in the first three races, Mercedes AMG has made a great start in this hard-fought season. We are up against tough competition from Audi and BMW, but we are clearly focused on defending – and as far as possible increasing – our lead in all three championships as we prepare for the second of four race weekends to be staged outside Germany this year.”