Lausitz: Mercedes preview

Simple Mathematics: Plus 5 Minus 5 Makes 10 The new AMG-Mercedes C-Class will start the second round of the 2006 DTM at the Lausitzring this coming weekend with an additional weight of five kilograms. Following Bernd Schneider's victory with the...

Simple Mathematics: Plus 5 Minus 5 Makes 10

The new AMG-Mercedes C-Class will start the second round of the 2006 DTM at the Lausitzring this coming weekend with an additional weight of five kilograms. Following Bernd Schneider's victory with the Vodafone AMG-Mercedes C-Class in the season opener at Hockenheim, he and his HWA team mates Jamie Green, Mika Häkkinen and Bruno Spengler have to add five kilograms each to their 2006 cars. The 2006 Audis' weight, however, will be reduced by five kilograms which provides an advantage of ten kilograms.

In Hockenheim, two Mercedes-Benz from last year finished in the points positions: Alexandros Margaritis (EasyRent AMG-Mercedes C-Class) was fifth and the best driver of a 2005 car ahead of his Persson team mate Jean Alesi (stern AMG-Mercedes C-Class); Daniel la Rosa (TrekStor AMG-Mercedes C-Class) retired from eight place, the last point position, due to a fuel pressure problem.

The new weight distribution in the DTM: 2006 AMG-Mercedes C-Class (Schneider, Green, Häkkinen, Spengler): 1,075 kilograms; 2006 Audi A4 DTM: 1,065 kilograms; last year's cars like the AMG-Mercedes C-Class of Alesi, Daniel la Rosa, Margaritis, Stefan Mücke: 1,060 kilograms; 2004 cars like the AMG-Mercedes C-Class of Mathias Lauda and Susie Stoddart: 1,020 kilograms.

Facts and figures:

The shortening of the Lausitzring DTM track from 4.534 to 3.442 kilometres last year made racing there even more exciting. In the second Lausitzring race of 2005, which took place in September, the fastest lap times of all 20 drivers were within one second. On the longer track a year previously the gap was more than two seconds.

Seven DTM races have been held at the Lausitzring so far. The first race in 2000 was cancelled after eight laps behind the Saftey Car due to heavy rain. Mercedes-Benz drivers won four of the other six events: Bernd Schneider in 2002 and 2003, Peter Dumbreck in 2001 and Gary Paffett in May 2005. The Englishman was also first in 2004 but was disqualified afterwards and Mattias Ekström (Audi) was declared the winner. The Swede also won in September 2005, 0.4sec ahead of Paffett.

The Lausitzring was built in a lignite open-cast mining area between Berlin and Dresden. Construction commenced in June 1998 and the circuit was launched two years and two months later. The centre of the facilities is a two-mile tri-oval super speedway which includes a further six track variations from 3.4 to 4.5 kilometres.

Comments from the ten Mercedes drivers, in the order of the result from the first race in Hockenheim:

Bernd Schneider, start number 2 (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes C-Class, winner of the season opener in Hockenheim):

"After two race wins at the Lausitzring I aim for victory number three; however, the weight handicap will make it quite a challenge."

Mika Häkkinen, start number 8 (AMG-Mercedes C-Class, fourth in Hockenheim; holds the DTM lap record at the Lausitzring):

"One year ago, I claimed my first DTM podium finish here. This time I want more, but to achieve this I have to qualify better than in Hockenheim."

Alexandros Margaritis, start number 11 (EasyRent AMG-Mercedes C-Class, fifth):

"We knew we had a good basis with last year's car, and the Hockenheim result confirmed this. I want to conserve this level."

Jean Alesi, start number 10 (stern AMG-Mercedes C-Class, sixth):

"From 16th on the grid to sixth at the chequered flag -- this shows the potential of my car and my team. If I manage a better qualifying position a podium finish should be possible."

Bruno Spengler, start number 9 (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes C-Class, ninth):

"After the messy season opener with a damaged tyre I don't want to miss another top position. So my aim is clear."

Susie Stoddart, start number 22 (AutoScout24 AMG-Mercedes C-Class, 10th):

"The backdrop with the huge grand stand is really impressing. It must be great to race here in front of a big crowd."

Mathias Lauda, start number 21 (Second Hand AMG-Mercedes C-Class, 11th):

"It's important for me to drive as many laps as possible to gain experience with the DTM touring car. If I can manage a better result than in Hockenheim, I'm on the right track."

Daniel la Rosa, start number 18 (TrekStor AMG-Mercedes C-Class, retired from eighth place on the final lap due to a fuel pressure problem):

"It's hard to retire after such a good race. However, Hockenheim was a good debut for me and at the Lausitzring I want to finish and finish in the points."

Stefan Mücke, start number 17 (TV Spielfilm AMG-Mercedes C-Class, retired due to a broken suspension after a collision):

"Lausitzring is my home race and a home race for our team. Therefore a slip-up like in Hockenheim should not happen again."

Jamie Green, start number 3 (Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes C-Class, retired due to a problem with the engine electronics):

"I have already three pole positions, but no victory. Maybe I should try a different grid position."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"After the season opener more than two weeks ago in Hockenheim we can hope for a very exciting year and we expect not only this year's cars in the top-three positions. Including pre- and reviews, the Hockenheim race had a cumulated figure of about 50 million TV contacts in Germany alone.

On that Sunday, only three programmes of first channel ARD, including the evening news 'Tagesschau', had a bigger market share than the DTM live broadcast. This is a good precondition for the Lausitzring, where it will be more difficult for us than in Hockenheim due to the handicap weight. However, last year we won here with the same weight gap and nothing but winning is our target again."


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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Mika Hakkinen , Peter Dumbreck , Bernd Schneider , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Bruno Spengler , Gary Paffett , Alexandros Margaritis , Mathias Lauda , Stefan Mücke , Daniel la Rosa , Jamie Green