MONTVALE, N.J., (Oct. 30, 2000) -- Newly-crowned DTM 2000 German Touring Car Championship Series Champion Bernd Schneider's second-place finish in the first of two races in the season finale at Hockenheim, Germany, secured the team championship for Team D2 AMG Mercedes. Each of the nine DTM 2000 events feature two heat races, and Schneider posted the fastest lap of the second race but was forced to retire from the competition after his CLK suffered suspension damage as a result of his contact with the curbs during his charge through the field. Schneider, 35, wrapped up the drivers' crown three weeks ago at the Nürburgring. The German pilot won the final championship of the prior DTM series in 1995 in a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and also took the 1995 International Touring Car Series championship (ITC) and the 1997 FIA-GT Championship. He finished the DTM 2000 season with six race wins and a total of 221 points, ahead of Opel's Manuel Reuter (162) and Mercedes' Klaus Ludwig (122). In the team championship, Team D2 AMG Mercedes (273 points) triumphed over Opel Team Phoenix (249) and Warsteiner AMG Mercedes (230). "I was happy with my second place in the first race," said Schneider. "The last race was my first retirement (DNF) of the season. I want to thank my whole team for their efforts this year." Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director Norbert Haug was pleased with Schneider's performance in the popular sports car series, which featured fast and spectacular competition on tracks throughout Germany. "This was a great final," Haug commented. "Bernd deserved this championship title. He is in the best form of his life." In total, 530,000 fans attended the nine race meets of the new DTM series, which is Germany's road-racing version of NASCAR Winston Cup. An estimated 30 million viewers watched the television broadcasts of the new championship in Germany, and DTM races were broadcast in 134 additional countries. The DTM 2000 German Touring Car Championship Series is based on a set of low-cost technical regulations which specifies production-type two-door cars and requires that a single 4.0-liter V8 engine be used in all nine events. Safety is an important factor in the future-oriented engineering of the DTM cars. In the Mercedes-Benz CLK, the driver is protected by a sophisticated airbag system and the Head and Neck Support (HANS) device. In addition to its use in sports car racing, the HANS has been further developed by Mercedes-Benz for use in open-wheel racing, including the Formula One World Championship. <pre> DTM Drivers' Championship DTM Team Championship Bernd Schneider 221 Team D2 AMG Mercedes 273 Manuel Reuter 162 Opel Team Phoenix 249 Klaus Ludwig 122 Warsteiner AMG Mercedes 230