Jean Alesi Wins -- 1-2-3 Victory for Mercedes-Benz Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) won the first round of the 2005 DTM at Hockenheim. After 37 laps and a turbulent race, Alesi came home ahead of his HWA team mates Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank ...
Jean Alesi Wins -- 1-2-3 Victory for Mercedes-Benz
Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) won the first round of the 2005 DTM at Hockenheim. After 37 laps and a turbulent race, Alesi came home ahead of his HWA team mates Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes) and Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes). In his DTM debut, Mika Häkkinen (Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes) improved from 15th on the grid to eighth place at the finish line. 116,000 spectators attended the event during the weekend.
Alesi had qualified fifth and was sixth after the opening lap. Following a first-corner incident the Safety Car was deployed until the end of lap six. Then the pit stops began and on lap eight, Alesi was in the lead for the first time. He made his first compulsory pit stop on lap 15 (5.7sec) and rejoined ahead of his main rivals. Seven laps later Alesi pitted for the second time (4.9sec) and retained the lead again. After 37 laps he crossed the finish line 5.6sec ahead of Paffett and Schneider.
Paffett started second but passed pole sitter Mattias Ekström (Audi A4 DTM) at the start and maintained the lead also after the re-start. He pitted on laps seven (6.9sec) and 16 (4.2sec). On these occasions, his team also tried to fix the left door which they were not able to lock anymore. Paffett ended up second.
Schneider was fined for a jump start and therefore drove through the pitlane on lap 10. He made his planned pit stops on laps 17 (5.5sec) and 20 (5.4sec) and improved from eighth on the grid to third at the chequered flag.
Green who had qualified third, lost one position to Marcel Fässler (Opel Vectra GTS V8) at the start. He pitted on laps nine (5.2sec) and 21 (5.3sec). The DTM rookie ran wide several times but also set the fastest lap of the race (1.35.262). He finally came home sixth.
Häkkinen came into the pits at the end of lap six right behind the Safety Car (4.6sec). He exceeded the 80-kph pit lane speed limit and received a drive through penalty. He made his second scheduled stop on lap 22 (5.4sec). On the final lap, he attacked Mücke who drove ahead of him but he ran wide and ended up eighth.
Jean Alesi, AMG-Mercedes:
"To win the season's first race is a great experience particularly because I didn't win any race last year. I'm really happy. This success has been made possible only by perfect team work. It was a difficult race due to the Safety Car period and the many incidents, however we made the best out of it."
Gary Paffett, DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes:
"I made a very good start, but unfortunately after the re-start I wasn't able to close the door anymore. Therefore I lost downforce in the fast corners and the car suffered from oversteer. Today the car was fast enough for victory."
Bernd Schneider, Vodafone AMG-Mercedes:
"Following my eighth place on the grid and the drive-through penalty the third place is still a success. We had a very good strategy and I was still able to attack in the end. At the start, the car moved a little bit, therefore the penalty is OK."
Jamie Green, Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes:
"It was a race with many incidents -- I learnt a lot for the next DTM races."
Mika Häkkinen, Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes:
"A fantastic weekend. I enjoyed my first DTM race very much and I'm happy about my first point. The fans were great and my team did a perfect job. A big thank you to everyone."
Stefan Mücke, Mücke Motorsport AMG-Mercedes came home seventh with a last year's car. Bruno Spengler, Mercedes Second Hand Cars received a drive-through penalty for jump start ended up 12th. Alexandros Margaritis, Mücke Motorsport AMG-Mercedes retired on lap 15 because his car's rear end was severely damaged after several incidents.
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
"The performance of our drivers and team today deserves a triple A. With the 1-2-3 victory and six cars within the points positions after a turbulent race, they achieved a great result. Congratulations to Jean Alesi and his team headed by Gerhard Ungar and Hans-Jürgen Mattheis; they had the right strategy and carried it out perfectly."
"Bernd Schneider also showed a good performance finishing third after his drive-through penalty. Gary drove a great race, but was handicapped by an open door. Mika made a good DTM debut. Without his drive-through penalty he could have finished among the front runners. The season opener was best entertainment for the spectators here at the track and for the TV viewers."