Donington: Opel preview

Setting sails for the British Isles Rüsselsheim. After the five-week break in the DTM season, Opel drivers Jeroen Bleekemolen, Peter Dumbreck, Alain Menu, Manuel Reuter, Timo Scheider and Joachim Winkelhock are setting sails for the British...

Setting sails for the British Isles

Rüsselsheim. After the five-week break in the DTM season, Opel drivers Jeroen Bleekemolen, Peter Dumbreck, Alain Menu, Manuel Reuter, Timo Scheider and Joachim Winkelhock are setting sails for the British Isles. The race at Donington Park - broadcast live on ZDF at 12.45 am on Sunday, 27 July - will mark the sixth event as well as the start to the second half of this year's DTM season. As Donington Park will be a home match for Scotsman Peter Dumbreck and Swiss driver Alain Menu, who lives in the UK, these two are particularly motivated and prepared to the max.

Roller-coaster: The Donington GP circuit near Nottingham is an undulating track offering the fascination of breath-taking, mostly high-speed corners. A veritable driver circuit, which requires true courage. The race will feature 36 laps (144.828 km).

No break for testing: Opel used the mid-season break for several test sessions. Alain Menu did a day of testing in Dijon after the Norisring race, Peter Dumbreck went to the Lausitz-Ring on two occasions for a day of testing, and on the Tuesday before Donington, Alain Menu and test driver Marcel Tieman took the wheel of the two Astra V8 Coupés fielded by OPC Team Holzer in Croft, UK.

What a 'holiday': The drivers' schedules, however, were not only filled with testing commitments during the mid-season break. Joachim Winkelhock contested the Silvretta Classics in a 1973 Ascona A, Manuel Reuter raced the 96 ITC Calibra before an audience of 150,000 at the Goodwood Festival in the UK, Timo Scheider did his laps in a DTM Opel at the Opel IronmanTriathlon in Frankfurt, OPC Team Holzer and Jeroen Bleekemolen won a pit stop competition on "ZDF Fernsehgarten", a popular German TV show. And last but not least: On 21 July, Timo Scheider became a daddy. His fianceé, Jasmin Rubatto, gave birth to a baby son, Loris Romeo. The healthy baby tipped the scales at 3,220 grams, with a "height" of 51 centimetres, and Mom and Dad are elated.

Flashback: Dumbreck has scored 23 points, advancing to fourth place in the drivers' standings. His team, OPC Team Phoenix, is third. Only the unfortunate manoeuvre of a backmarker frustrated Dumbreck's ascension to the podium at the Norisring; he finished fourth. Winkelhock scored his first point of the season.

Without Formula 3: After the Norisring race, the Formula 3 Euro Series moved on to France. In Le Mans, Opel-Dallara driver Nico Rosberg (Team Rosberg) celebrated his first victory. It was Opel's seventh in ten races so far. Clinching his sixth podium position, Ryan Briscoe (Opel-Dallara/Prema-Powerteam) defended his lead in the standings. F3 will not be along in Donington, preparing instead for the Masters in Zandvoort (8/9 August).


Opel motorsport director Volker Strycek before the second half of the season:
"The five-week mid-season break has been good for everyone, especially the mechanics and engineers, who have been shouldering an enormous workload. Despite this breather, we certainly didn't just sit back, but meticulously prepared for the second half of the season. We launched various developments and performed a number of test drives. I feel that we're well set to achieve our goal of winning races. Donington is a fantastic track, which should suit our Astra very well. In 1994, Manuel clinched the first Calibra victory there; last year he started from pole position, and until his unfortunate tyre damage, Alain Menu was in second place."

Peter Dumbreck (OPC Team Phoenix) on his home match
"I'm now fourth in the Championship standings, and I wish for the second half of the season to go off as well, or even better, than the first. I did two days of testing at the Lausitz-Ring; that was good for me. Now, I'm well set for Donington, where I won races in the former Formula Opel in 1994 and 1996. This circuit mainly features interesting, fast corners, the only thing I don't like are the two hairpins. There are some tricky corners you'll likely never perfectly master, such as the left-right combination from the Schwantz-Curve into McLeans-Corner. Donington is a fast track. The Redgate-Curve after the start is fast, Craner-Curves is full throttle, the uphill stretch to McLeans is fast, Coppice, too. I'm really excited about this race, because I like the track, and many of my friends will be there, my parents, my two brothers, my two sisters, and all my nieces and nephews."

Alain Menu (OPC Team Holzer) on his greatest fan and his parents
"Donington fits the DTM perfectly, because it's a spacious, open circuit, a nice change from a street circuit, or a slow, narrow track like Adria. In case it should rain, Donington will be a grand challenge. Of course, Donington is my home race. I'll certainly be meeting some of the marshals and stewards there, whom I know from my days in the BTCC. My greatest fan is Alan. He's the son of a marshal, and I first met him in 1994 or 1995, when he was four or five years old. Since then, we've been in constant contact, and I'll be happy to see him in the drivers' paddock on Thursday. And there's another thrill I'm looking forward to: In Donington, I'll be taking my Mom and Dad for a ride in an Opel racing taxi for the very first time. They've never been in a racing car before."

Joachim Winkelhock (OPC Euroteam) on British racing fans
"During my days in the British Touring Car Championship, I've learnt to really appreciate British trackside audiences. They usually have a lot of racing expertise, and they are reserved, pleasant and friendly. But Donington is also good driving fun. It's a "natural" circuit that simply belongs on the DTM calendar ."

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Marcel Tiemann , Peter Dumbreck , Joachim Winkelhock , Manuel Reuter , Timo Scheider , Ryan Briscoe , Nico Rosberg , Volker Strycek , Jeroen Bleekemolen , Jasmin Rubatto , Alain Menu