Hockenheim II: Round ten preview

10th DTM race 2004, Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, 1.-3.10.2004 Motorsports festival in front of sell-out crowd - DTM finale 2004 It will be a very special weekend: the DTM finale 2004 will be staged this weekend on the Hockenheimring ...

10th DTM race 2004, Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, 1.-3.10.2004
Motorsports festival in front of sell-out crowd - DTM finale 2004

It will be a very special weekend: the DTM finale 2004 will be staged this weekend on the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. It is more than likely that the stands will be sold out given that over 64,000 tickets have already been sold. Spectators can look forward to a motorsports jamboree from October 1 to 3.

Mattias Ekström, 26, heads to the finale as the freshly-crowned champion with an advantage of 20 points following his triumph in the ninth of 10 races in Brno. The two Mercedes-Benz youngsters, Gary Paffett, 23, and Christijan Albers, 25, are battling it out for the vice-champion's title on 51 and 48 points, respectively.

This situation augurs well for a race devoid of tactics in which all drivers will once again give their utmost in a bid to take leave of an excellent season with a brilliant personal performance.

Opel star Heinz-Harald Frentzen will compete twice on the weekend. He will compete against SWR3-Morningshow presenter Volker Janitz in "Germany's craziest race" on Saturday afternoon. The SWR3 opted for a lawnmower one can sit on. On race Sunday, Frentzen will be bent on crowning his first DTM season in an Opel Vectra GTS V8 with a podium finish. The 1997 Formula 1 vice-champion made it into the points in Brno with a sixth place.

Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt, overall leader, 71 points):

"It's a great feeling to come into the packed Hockenheim Motodrom as champion. But it won't be an exhibition race for me as it's my big aim to beat the Mercedes lads in their home game. We didn't have the chance at the season-opener - now I'd like to, together with my team mates, show who has since taken the biggest step forward. I'm looking forward to the race because I'll be able to drive without any tactical demands and for the first time will be able to take a few more risks."

Gary Paffett (C-class AMG-Mercedes, second, 51 points):

"I'm full of anticipation of Hockenheim. I still remember well the results from the season-opener in April. I won my first DTM race there. I kept alive my good chances of taking the vice-champion's title with my third place in Brno. But Christijan certainly won't make it easy for me. The spectators at the Hockenheimring will definitely witness an interesting race weekend and will have a lot of fun."

Christijan Albers (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes, third, 48 points):

"I'm now completely concentrating on the finale in Hockenheim. I'm going to give my utmost there in order to get a good result for our make in front of the many spectators and especially in front of the employees and fans in the Mercedes stands."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen (OPC Team Holzer, 14th overall, 3 points):

"It's difficult to say what I'm looking more forward to: the DTM race or the lawnmower duel on Saturday afternoon. It would be nice if I could wrap up both races successfully! In the meantime I've managed to leap into the points, now I want to make the podium to end off the season!"

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich Audi Motorsport Director:

"We're heading into the finale fully motivated now that we've won the driver's title as well as the team standings. What we'd still like to do is to secure the maker's championship. We do however know that the course in Hockenheim does not suit our A4 as well as that in Brno due to its characteristics. Nevertheless, we will do out utmost in order to end the season with another good result in front of an expected great backdrop."

Norbert Haug Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director:

"We are looking forward to a grand finale after a thrilling season in front of what will most likely be a sell-out crowd. The title has already been decided in favour of Mattias Ekström and Abt Audi in the last race and naturally the Mercedes drivers will want to beat the freshly-crowned champion. Gary Paffett and Christijan Albers are vying for the vice-champion's title."

"Bernd Schneider and Jean Alesi want to end the season, if possible, right there at the front of the field as they were in the season-opener. Our drivers will be supported by the roughly 14,000 Mercedes employees, fans and friends of the company who have bought tickets for seats on the Mercedes stand and in the Motodrom."

Volker Strycek Opel Motorsport Director:

"A clear upward trend has been evident with us in the last races. Just recently in Brno we had four cars in the top 10, Manuel Reuter drove the fastest race lap and three drivers scored points. A podium place would certainly be nice as a conclusion."


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Series DTM
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Jean Alesi , Bernd Schneider , Manuel Reuter , Christijan Albers , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Volker Strycek , Gary Paffett
Teams Team Abt