Hockenheim: Mercedes preview

Racing Premiere for the new AMG Mercedes C-Class *Bernd Schneider (Original-Teile AMG Mercedes), five-time and reigning DTM Champion, Mika Häkkinen (AMG Mercedes), double Formula One World Champion, Bruno Spengler (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG ...

Racing Premiere for the new AMG Mercedes C-Class

*Bernd Schneider (Original-Teile AMG Mercedes), five-time and reigning DTM Champion, Mika Häkkinen (AMG Mercedes), double Formula One World Champion, Bruno Spengler (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG Mercedes), 2006 DTM runner-up and Jamie Green (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes), 2004 Formula 3 Euro Series Champion, will race in Hockenheim with the new C-Class for the first time.

*At the wheel of last year's AMG Mercedes C-Class: Gary Paffett (Laureus AMG Mercedes), 2005 DTM Champion and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes test driver in Formula One, Alexandros Margaritis (stern AMG Mercedes), Daniel la Rosa (TrekStor AMG Mercedes) and Mathias Lauda (Trilux AMG Mercedes).

*In the 2005 C-Class: Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes), who is one of two ladies in the DTM and Paul di Resta (JAWA4U.de AMG Mercedes), 2006 Formula 3 Euro Series Champion.

*Until now, more than 40,000 grandstand tickets have been sold. The Mercedes grandstand with 6,521 seats is sold out already; however, there are still plenty of seats in the Motodrom. In October 2006, a DTM record crowd of 149,000 attended the season finale.

Statistics: Bernd Schneider will start in his 40th DTM race in Hockenheim. He won 13 races there; his most recent victory was in last year's season opener on 9th April 2006. Additionally, he achieved six podium positions, which means he has finished almost every other race in Hockenheim on the podium.

Since 1984, 58 DTM and ITC races have been staged in Hockenheim. Mercedes-Benz drivers won 25 of these events. Bruno Spengler achieved the most recent Mercedes-Benz victory when he won the 2006 season finale -- his fourth race win last year. Audi achieved five victories at Hockenheim so far. Mercedes-Benz drivers have won 13 out of the 16 Hockenheim DTM races since 2000, which is more than 80 percent. Since the last race of the 2002 season, Mercedes-Benz remained unbeaten in Hockenheim with nine victories in a row.

Weight distribution: In the 2007 season, the new DTM cars like the new AMG Mercedes C-Class of Bernd Schneider, Bruno Spengler, Jamie Green and Mika Häkkinen will start with a weight of 1,070 kilograms. The 2006 AMG Mercedes C-Class 2006 of Gary Paffett, Alexandros Margaritis, Daniel la Rosa and Mathias Lauda will have 1,060 kilograms and the 2005 cars like the AMG Mercedes C-Class of Paul di Resta and Susie Stoddart will weigh 1,040 kilograms.

Bernd Schneider (42 years/Germany), Original-Teile AMG Mercedes C-Class 2007: "13 victories in Hockenheim so far turned into five championship titles. The enthusiastic crowd on the Mercedes grandstand and in the Motodrom will motivate me again and I will fight for win number 14."

Bruno Spengler (23/Canada), DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG Mercedes C-Class 2007: "My target is clear: I want to start this season in Hockenheim like I ended the last one here -- with a race win."

Jamie Green (24/England), Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class 2007: "After six pole positions I finally want to win races."

Mika Häkkinen (38/Finland), AMG Mercedes C-Class 2007: "I completed an intensive testing programme like never before in DTM to prepare for the new season. I am looking forward to start to fight for the title."

Gary Paffett (26/England), Laureus AMG Mercedes C-Class 2006: "After my one-year break I am excited to experience the first competition with my former and new competitors."

Alexandros Margaritis (22/Greece), stern AMG Mercedes C-Class 2006: "The gap between the last year's C-Class and the new model isn't very big -- and I want to prove this with good results right from the beginning."

Daniel la Rosa (21/Germany), TrekStor AMG Mercedes C-Class 2006: "In my first DTM year in 2006 I scored points in one race -- this season I want more."

Mathias Lauda (26/Austria), Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class 2006: "I want to score my first DTM points with the 2006 AMG-Mercedes C-Class, and I want to start scoring already in Hockenheim."

Paul di Resta (20/Scotland), JAWA4U.de AMG Mercedes C-Class 2005: "I know Hockenheim from the Formula 3 and I clinched the Formula 3 Euro Series title here last October. The tests have shown that I manage to get used to the still unfamiliar touring car."

Susie Stoddart (24/Scotland), TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class 2005: "In Hockenheim one year ago, I achieved my best result of the DTM season. This year I want to improve further and fight for points."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "The racing premiere of the DTM version of the new C-Class takes place only three weeks after the successful market launch of our new C-Class. With respect to the sport, the use of the new model is a challenge, as at the beginning a newly developed car is not on the same aerodynamic level as a car which has been successfully developed for three or four years."

"Never before have the cars been assigned to more capable drivers, never before have the teams been in better shape, so that the field will be even closer. I believe it might be possible that the gap between first and last on the grid will not be much more than one second. All DTM spectators, be it at the race tracks or at home in front of their TV sets, can look forward to even more excitement."

-credit: mercedes

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