Catalunya: Mercedes-Benz preview

Spanish Suspense § In the ninth round of the 2007 DTM in Barcelona this coming weekend, the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class will start with its basic weight of 1,070 kilograms for the first time since the season opener in Hockenheim on 22nd April,...

Spanish Suspense

§ In the ninth round of the 2007 DTM in Barcelona this coming weekend, the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class will start with its basic weight of 1,070 kilograms for the first time since the season opener in Hockenheim on 22nd April, and so does the respective model of the competition. Prior to the championship showdown with the races at the Circuit de Catalunya and the finale in Hockenheim on 14th October, there is an equality of chances between the title contenders.

§ Mercedes-Benz C-Class drivers won five out of the 2007 season's eight races and started five times from pole position. Prior to the Barcelona race, Bruno Spengler is third overall with 34 points followed by Bernd Schneider (Original-Teile AMG Mercedes C-Class) with 27.5 points in fourth place. Mattias Ekstrom leads the ranking on 44 points; a driver can score a maximum of 20 points in the remaining two races.

§ With Paul di Resta (JAWA4U.de AMG Mercedes C-Class/25 points), Mika Hakkinen (AMG Mercedes C-Class/22), Gary Paffett (Laureus AMG Mercedes C-Class/16.5) and Jamie Green (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class/14.5) there are a total of six drivers of all three participating generations of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class among the top-ten of the championship.

§ Like last year, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes test driver Pedro de la Rosa will attend the DTM race in his hometown Barcelona. He will drive the DTM race taxi around the Circuit de Catalunya and he will be available for autograph sessions for his supporters.

What drivers and Motorsport chief say:

Bernd Schneider, start number 1

(2007 Genuine Parts AMG Mercedes C-Class): "I am confident for Barcelona, because I know the track from all different kinds of sports and touring car races. It is an interesting circuit and I like to race here -- I will give it my all to keep the championship open until Hockenheim."

Bruno Spengler, start number 2 (2007 DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG Mercedes C-Class): "The Circuit de Catalunya offers some overtaking opportunities and a good combination of different kinds of corners - that is fun. However, tyre wear here is significant so you have to conserve tyres during the race. I want to reduce the gap to the leaders of the overall ranking so that all spectators who already bought tickets for Hockenheim will experience an exciting final race of the season there."

Jamie Green, start number 5 (2007 Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class): "The upcoming race is very important for the championship. We will fight -- for us and for the benefit of the spectators, so that the title fight will be decided only in Hockenheim."

Mika Hakkinen, start number 6 (2007 AMG Mercedes C-Class): "In last year's race, I had a chance to definitely finish on the podium; however some aggressive overtaking manoeuvres from other drivers cost me this opportunity. This year, I hope to start at the front and to stay out of trouble, and then a podium finish in front of the Spanish crowd should be possible."

Gary Paffett, start number 9 (2006 Laureus AMG Mercedes C-Class): "I look forward to Barcelona, because I know the track very well from testing Formula 1 and DTM. I like also the short circuit, but it's tricky. We have a good speed, but it will be difficult against the 2007 cars; I expect them to be very fast on this difficult circuit."

Alexandros Margaritis, start number 10 (2006 stern AMG Mercedes C-Class): "The Circuit de Catalunya suits me. When we tested there prior to the season, we found a good set-up which should help me to score points again."

Susie Stoddart, start number 14 (2005 TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class): "In qualifying I want to end up as high as at the Nurburgring recently, and then I aim to score points in the race."

Daniel la Rosa, start number 15 (2006 TrekStor AMG Mercedes C-Class): "One year ago, I scored my first DTM points in Barcelona. I hope for a replay and hopefully I can achieve more than seventh place like in 2006."

Mathias Lauda, start number 18 (2006 Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class): "I live in Barcelona, so the Circuit de Catalunya is my home circuit. My performance in the previous race at the Nurburgring with good lap times and 11th place is an even stronger motivation. I want to set up the car as well as for the last race, and then I want to score points."

Paul di Resta, start number 19 (2005 JAWA4U.de AMG Mercedes C-Class): "At the end of the season I want to finish on the podium again. To achieve this, we need a better speed than at the Nurburgring, so we have some work to do prior to Barcelona."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "A ten-point disadvantage behind the leader with two races to go can be a big gap, but also one which can be made up. A zero on one side and full points on the other would lead to a showdown in the finale in Hockenheim. The chances exist, even if they are not really big and Audi are the favourites for the title with the points score as it is now. However, nothing has been decided yet."

-credit: m-b

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Series DTM
Drivers Pedro de la Rosa , Mika Hakkinen , Bernd Schneider , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Bruno Spengler , Gary Paffett , Paul di Resta , Alexandros Margaritis , Mathias Lauda , Daniel la Rosa , Jamie Green