DTM

Hockenheim: Mercedes preview

Ten drivers -- one female and nine males -- will drive the AMG-Mercedes C-Class in the 2006 DTM. The new season will start at Hockenheim this coming weekend. Facts and Figures For the second time in DTM history there will be two female drivers...

Ten drivers -- one female and nine males -- will drive the AMG-Mercedes C-Class in the 2006 DTM. The new season will start at Hockenheim this coming weekend.

Facts and Figures

For the second time in DTM history there will be two female drivers at the same time in the championship: Susie Stoddart, Mercedes-Benz and Vanina Ickx, Audi. This was the case the last time in 1991 with Ellen Lohr in a Mercedes and Annette Meeuvissen in a BMW.

The oldest and the youngest driver of the 2006 DTM field are Mercedes-Benz drivers: 41-year-old Jean Alesi, who participated in 201 Grands Prix before his DTM career, and 20-year-old newcomer Daniel la Rosa. Alesi won last year's season opener at Hockenheim.

In the 2006 DTM Bernd Schneider is the driver with the longest history in the championship. He took part in 200 out of the 319 DTM-/ITC races since 1984. 24 times he started from pole position and he won 39 races. Schneider won 12 races in Hockenheim, the last was the season finale in October 2005.

In every year Schneider won the season opener, he later also clinched the championship title: 1995, 2000, 2001 and 2003.

New qualifying format

Similar to Formula One, the DTM qualifying will be held in three parts. After the first 14 minutes the six slowest drivers will be eliminated and take positions 15 to 20 on the grid. After the second part over ten minutes with the remaining 14 drivers again the sixth slowest will be eliminated and take grid positions nine to 14.

In the third part of qualifying with only seven minutes, the eight fastest drivers will fight for pole position and grid positions two to eight. This tight schedule guarantees action.

The Mercedes-Benz drivers' comments on the first race at Hockenheim, in the order of their starting numbers:

Bernd Schneider, 2 (winner of the 2006 season finale at Hockenheim):

"My aim? It would be the best if I could repeat the result of last year's season finale."

Jamie Green, 3 (holds the lap record in Hockenheim):

"I posted the fastest laps in both of last year's DTM races here. This time I want to achieve this throughout the race."

Mika Häkkinen, 8 (one win and fifth overall in his debut DTM season):

"I'm really keen on racing again. I look forward to the first real comparison with our competition."

Bruno Spengler, 9:

"Being a member of the HWA team after only one year with a last year's car is the biggest possible motivation."

Jean Alesi, 10:

"I like the Hockenheimring. Here I achieved my first DTM podium finish in my very first start, and here I won last year's season opener."

Alexandros Margaritis, 11:

"With my 2005 Mercedes C-Class and with the new regulations for the weight I should be in good shape. The first race will show what's possible."

Stefan Mücke, 17:

"After my father's team's learning year in the DTM I aim at finishing in the points regularly. It would be a dream start if I could manage that in Hockenheim."

Daniel la Rosa, 18:

"I'm really excited to participate in my first DTM race. My target is to be competitive and to make my mark with good results."

Mathias Lauda, 21:

"The DTM is the greatest challenge in my career. My tests ran well and I look forward to the first race."

Susie Stoddart, 22:

"After the tests I want to know where I am in the race compared to the competition. My team mates gave me a nice welcome; however I know that will be completely different in the race."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz motorsport director:

"With our team of young talents and experienced drivers it is our target to participate in the DTM as successfully as in previous years and to promote young talents to the top, ideally beyond the DTM and on to Formula One. I expect a very competitive field with the closest gaps and the most exciting races motor sport can offer today."

-mercedes-

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Mika Hakkinen , Bernd Schneider , Norbert Haug , Ellen Lohr , Bruno Spengler , Alexandros Margaritis , Mathias Lauda , Stefan Mücke , Daniel la Rosa , Jamie Green