Hockenheimring II: Mercedes-Benz preview

Jubilee: 300th Race for Mercedes-Benz in front of a Record Crowd § The 10th and final round of the 2007 DTM in Hockenheim this coming weekend will be the 300th race for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM and in the ITC since the brand has officially ...

Jubilee: 300th Race for Mercedes-Benz in front of a Record Crowd

§ The 10th and final round of the 2007 DTM in Hockenheim this coming weekend will be the 300th race for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM and in the ITC since the brand has officially returned to touring car racing in 1988.

§ Bruno Spengler (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG Mercedes C-Class) has a chance to win the DTM Drivers' title in the jubilee race; it would be the 10th for Mercedes-Benz. After nine races, the Canadian is second overall, two points behind the leader.

§ 1991 was the last year when there were more than two drivers with chances to win the title prior to the finale; two Audi (Frank Biela and Hans-Joachim Stuck), one BMW (Johnny Cecotto) and one Mercedes-Benz driver - Klaus Ludwig. He who arrived in Hockenheim as the overall leader with an advantage of nine points, was beaten in the rain by the four-wheel driven Audis and Frank Biela clinched the championship.

§ For the ninth time in 21 years of DTM and ITC the championship will be decided in the final race; the most recent year this was the case was in 2005 between Gary Paffett and Mattias Ekstrom. Paffett won in the AMG Mercedes C-Class.

§ One week prior to the event 63,000 tickets have been sold -- a new record number. Last year, it were 62,500 tickets at the same time.

Mercedes-Benz drivers won 140 (about 47 per cent) out of the 299 races so far against the competition of Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Ford and Opel, which participated in these years. Bernd Schneider won 42 races, he is the DTM record holder, clinching five DTM championship titles, which he all achieved with Mercedes-Benz. 22 drivers won DTM or ITC races for Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes-Benz won on 29 out of the 32 race circuits used by DTM and ITC since 1988; only in Helsinki, São Paulo and Silverstone they did not win. Most of these victories Mercedes-Benz drivers took on the traditional circuits Nurburgring (28) and Hockenheim (25).

The 2007 season so far (nine races):

Victories: Mercedes-Benz six (Mika Hakkinen at the Lausitzring and in Mugello; Gary Paffett in Oschersleben; Bernd Schneider in Brands Hatch; Bruno Spengler at the Norisring; Jamie Green in Barcelona).

1-2 victories: Mercedes-Benz three (Gary Paffett/Paul di Resta in Oschersleben; Mika Hakkinen/Paul di Resta at the Lausitzring; Bruno Spengler/Bernd Schneider at the Norisring; Jamie Green/Bruno Spengler in Barcelona).

Pole Positions: Mercedes-Benz five (Bruno Spengler in Hockenheim, at the Lausitzring and at the Norisring; Mika Hakkinen in Oschersleben and in Brands Hatch).

1-2 qualifyings: Mercedes-Benz three (Bruno Spengler/Mika Hakkinen at the Lausitzring; Mika Hakkinen/Bruno Spengler in Brands Hatch; Bruno Spengler/Mika Hakkinen at the Norisring).

Fastest laps: Mercedes-Benz five (Jamie Green in Oschersleben and Zandvoort; Bruno Spengler at the Norisring, at the Nurburgring and in Barcelona).

The 2007 season finale will be the 60th DTM/ITC race in Hockenheim since 1984. Mercedes-Benz drivers won 25 of these races; Bruno Spengler (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG Mercedes C-Class) took the most recent victory for Mercedes-Benz one year ago. Mercedes-Benz drivers won nine out of the last ten races in Hockenheim.

What drivers and Motorsport chief say:

Bernd Schneider, start number 1 (Genuine Parts AMG Mercedes C-Class 2007): "Hockenheim offers a great scenery and the many Mercedes fans support us as much as possible. I like the circuit and I will fight for a positive end of the season."

Bruno Spengler, start number 2 (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG Mercedes C-Class 2007): "The championship is open in the final race. I hope for an exciting and fair battle with the other two title contenders and in the end I want one more point than them."

Jamie Green, start number 5 (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class 2007): "In my five races on this track so far, I started from pole positions twice and posted three fastest race laps. Good pre-conditions to repeat my victory from the previous race, and that's what I'm aiming for."

Mika Hakkinen, start number 6 (AMG Mercedes C-Class 2007): "With two race wins and two pole positions, my personal balance of this season is better than my overall ranking. Despite my penalty, which will put me down the grid by 10 places, I want to demonstrate also in Hockenheim how good our team perform. I consider inappropriate the fine of 20,000 Euro for the race accident with Martin Tomczyk in Barcelona. However, I look ahead relaxed; during my Formula 1 career with 162 Grands Prix and in 29 DTM races I never had the reputation of an unfair driver and it will remain like it is."

Gary Paffett, start number 9 (Laureus AMG Mercedes C-Class 2006): "In 2004, I won my first DTM race in Hockenheim, and two years ago, I clinched the DTM title here. Is there any better motivation for the finale?"

Alexandros Margaritis, start number 10 (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class 2006): "Five times this year I scored points with the last year's C-Class. It is my target for Hockenheim to achieve another points position."

Susie Stoddart, start number 14 (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class 2005): "A track that I like. A little more than one and a half years ago, I started my DTM career in Hockenheim with a 10th place. I aim for my first point in the championship in the finale."

Daniel la Rosa, start number 15 (TrekStor AMG Mercedes C-Class 2006): "In the season opener at this circuit, I took the chequered flag fourth and improved to third after a time penalty for Bruno Spengler. I want to tie up to that with another good result at the end of the season. My penalty in Barcelona, after being pushed off the track, is incomprehensible not only for me."

Mathias Lauda, start number 18 (Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class 2006): "I scored points on two occasions this season and of course I will try to achieve a similar result in the finale in Hockenheim."

Paul di Resta, start number 19 (JAWA4U.de AMG Mercedes C-Class 2005): "Four podium positions in my first nine DTM races and fourth place overall are a good balance for my team and me. I would like to confirm this with another podium finish."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "The 300th race in the DTM including 50 DTM/ITC races in 1995 and 1996 are a memorable stage for our involvement in touring car racing. I experienced most of these races at site and have best memories of most of the 140 victories in total and of all nine championship titles we won; however, I have the very best memories of the enthusiastic crowds and the fan culture. If we would clinch our 10th title in Hockenheim, it would be a nice reward for all our team members after such a tough, eventful and particularly busy season and two consecutive championships in 2005 and 2006 and a total of five within the seven previous years since the re-launch of the DTM. However, it is even more important for us, that everybody in the finale in Hockenheim keeps calm, and that the pressure to be anxious to win does not get out of hand. All spectators and all participants deserve a hard but fair finale -- the faster and the better one should win the race and the title in Hockenheim, on the track alone and without team order."

-credit: daimler.com

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Series DTM
Drivers Mika Hakkinen , Frank Biela , Hans-Joachim Stuck , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Klaus Ludwig , Johnny Cecotto , Bruno Spengler , Gary Paffett , Paul di Resta , Alexandros Margaritis , Mathias Lauda , Daniel la Rosa , Jamie Green