The 'Ring' is gearing up for DTM round seven and the boxing match between world champion Markus Beyer and challenger Danny Green. This weekend, the Nürburgring will be the venue of a unique 'double bill' - with both events to be broadcast live on ARD. Naturally, the Opel drivers, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Peter Dumbreck, Alain Menu, Manuel Reuter, Timo Scheider and Joachim Winkelhock, are primarily focused on the fight for DTM points at the Nürburgring sprint track (41 laps 148.789 km), and the Opel squad have certainly set their sights on a podium finish.
Floodlight fighting: Immediately prior to the bell for the first round of boxing, the top ten of the qualifying will be fighting for super pole late Saturday night. For the first time ever, the DTM will be racing by floodlight, even on Friday - a novel experience for the drivers. Needless to say, the Opel squad will give their level best to join the action in this TV prime time super pole. Timo Scheider is convinced that qualifying will be tougher than ever.
Flashback: Peter Dumbreck, who last finished sixth at Donington, continues ranking fourth in the drivers standings. His OPC Team Phoenix, based at the Nürburgring, is third in the DTM team ranking. At the Nürburgring race in May, Dumbreck, after a collision in lap one, rendered a brilliant performance, fighting his way back to the front, from place 18 to five.
'Daily soap' star: Timo Scheider's red and black Opel Astra V8 Coupé will be starring briefly on ARD's 'Marienhof' early-evening daily soap. The 470-hp touring car promotes Marienhof's 'Sven' to the position of a racing driver, with the Nürburgring providing the setting for several takes of this particular episode.
Rock around the 'Ring': In addition to the DTM and boxing, 'Jeanette', 'No Angels' and 'Right said Fred' will be the musical highlights at the Nürburgring. Among the numerous guests to be hosted by Opel will be the Opel triathlon team headed by the winner of the Frankfurt Ironman competition, Stefan Holzner. The foursome will be keeping their fingers crossed primarily for Manuel Reuter, who successfully competed in a relay triathlon last weekend. Timo Scheider will be cheered by body builder Markus Rühl.
Opel scores seven wins: Of the ten rounds staged so far in the new Formula 3 Euro Series, the Opel engine finished seven victoriously. During the F3's first start at the Nürburgring, Opel Dallara driver Ryan Briscoe will be starting from the grid as the dominant leader of the drivers standings. During the prestigious Marlboro-Masters in Zandvoort (NL) last weekend, the Australian clinched a third-place finish.
Volker Strycek, Opel motorsport director on 'boxing meets DTM' at the Nürburgring:
"This will be a spectacular event, to which I'm looking forward with eager anticipation. Sports has never seen a 'double bill' of this kind before. For the DTM, this combination results in the novelty of staging the super pole late at night, with live prime-time TV coverage. I'm excited about the viewers' response. Thanks to our TV partners, ARD in this case, the DTM consistently makes new marks. This kind of innovation and the high calibre of our sport are the basis for the continuously positive development of the DTM."
Peter Dumbreck (OPC Team Phoenix) on the Nürburgring:
"In the race in May, a collision in the opening lap made me fall back to 18th place, and in the end I finished fifth. No doubt, it's possible to overtake on this circuit. There are several opportunities for this, like the end of the start-finish straight, prior to the short junction, before the chicane and before the last corner. If the car has optimum balance and good braking performance, you can attack. My favourite point, however, is the left-right combination after the short cut - I simply relish such fluid, fast corners."
Manuel Reuter (OPC Team Holzer) on boxing and the late-night sessions:
"A few weeks ago, I attended my first live boxing match in Magdeburg. I was truly impressed. The atmosphere in the crowded hall was super, to say the least. This is an extremely tough sport, incredible. You can see exactly who's in top physical shape. Of course, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Markus Beyer. I've met him personally and found him to be a great bloke. The two late-night DTM sessions on Friday and Saturday won't necessarily present a particular racing challenge. Of course, this means very long days for us, especially for the mechanics. But for the fans, it will be fantastic. The glow of the brake discs, the large flames from our tailpipes - some smashing images for spectators, to be sure."
Jeroen Bleekemolen (OPC Euroteam) on his year of learning and learning effects:
"The Nürburgring is the first circuit on which I'll be competing in a DTM race for the second time. I think I'll be able to benefit from my previous experience. I like the Nürburgring. Back in May, I managed to make it into the super pole session and was running on sixth place for a while during the race. For me, this whole year has been one of learning. Racing the Viper in the FIA GT Championship was all about driving fast for a long time. One or two tenths of a second didn't really matter. This is completely different in the DTM. My major task in the DTM has been to learn how to work with the engineers, to achieve a truly perfect setup for the car and to make optimum use of the tyres in the qualifying sessions. This is working out better and better. Data evaluation has been another major step for me. Everything, without exception, is being analysed. It's crucial to find out if a mistake was caused by the car or the driver's style of racing. In my opinion, my biggest learning potential remains in further reducing the time it takes me to achieve a good setup."