Mugello: Mercedes preview

Sixth race -- sixth winner? The sixth round of the 2007 DTM will be staged at Mugello, Italy, 30 kilometres north of Florence this coming weekend. Five different drivers won the five races so far, among them were four Mercedes-Benz C-Class...

Sixth race -- sixth winner?

The sixth round of the 2007 DTM will be staged at Mugello, Italy, 30 kilometres north of Florence this coming weekend. Five different drivers won the five races so far, among them were four Mercedes-Benz C-Class drivers -- the most recent one was Bruno Spengler (2007 DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG Mercedes C-Class) who won at the Norisring two and a half weeks ago.

Prior to the race in Tuscany, Bernd Schneider (2007 Genuine Parts AMG Mercedes C-Class) who ended up second in the last race in Nuremberg, leads the overall ranking with 25.5 points. He is followed by Mattias Ekstrom (24 points) and Martin Tomczyk (20 points, both Audi) in second and third positions respectively whilst Bruno Spengler had moved up to fourth with 17 points following his first victory of the year in Nuremberg.

For their fans in Italy, the DTM offer an attractive activity programme: Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer will drive demonstration runs with this year's Formula 1 Ferrari F2007. Four-times 250-cc motorbike World Champion Max Biaggi will show his riding skills with a Suzuki superbike.

Due to the broadcast of the Tour de France, the race will be started only at 17:35 h (instead of 14:00 h), as German TV station ARD will broadcast both events LIVE.

After the first half of the season, the top six drivers in the championship are within 9.5 points, including two more Mercedes-Benz drivers behind Bernd and Bruno: Gary Paffett (2006 Laureus AMG Mercedes C-Class) is fifth with 16.5 points followed by Paul di Resta (2005 JAWA4U.de AMG Mercedes C-Class) with 16 points in sixth place.

Since the point scoring in the DTM has been adjusted to that of Formula 1 in 2002, the top six after the first five races have never been closer together than now. The closest gaps so far have been 19 points between leader Christijan Albers (36 points) and Mattias Ekstrom (17), who had been sixth at that point of the 2003 championship.

Not only saw the 2007 DTM five different race winners, there have also been four different leaders of the championship. Mattias Ekstrom (Audi) who was first of the ranking after Hockenheim and Oschersleben (tied on points with Paul di Resta and Martin Tomczyk) was followed by di Resta (Lausitzring), Tomczyk (Brands Hatch) and now Bernd Schneider.

Mercedes-Benz drivers have won six out of the eight DTM/ITC races in Italy.

Nicola Larini (Alfa) holds the official DTM lap record in Mugello, established in 1996 with 1min47.732. During the DTM tests in Mugello from 8th to 11th March 2005, Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Opel) posted the best lap with 1min43.242, almost four and a half seconds faster.

What drivers and Motorsport chief say

Bernd Schneider, start number 1 (2007 Genuine Parts AMG Mercedes C-Class): "I won twice in Mugello and therefore have good memories of the circuit. For the more than kilometre long front straight you need an optimum top speed to be able to slipstream and overtake at the end. The many medium-fast corners require downforce for a good lap time. It will not be easy to find the best set-up."

Bruno Spengler, start number 2 (2007 DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG Mercedes C-Class): "I like Mugello and it is fun to race there. This time, Friday's tests are even more important because everybody has to learn the track. It will probably take a couple of laps until we will have adjusted to the circuit. After winning at the Norisring I will give it my all again in Mugello to close the gap to the top fighting for the championship."

Jamie Green, start number 5 (2007 Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class): "The Mugello layout promises an interesting race for drivers and spectators. I know the track from testing here two years ago. I like it and here I finally want to achieve a top result."

Mika Hakkinen, start number 6 (2007 AMG Mercedes C-Class): "With my last race and its potential result shattered for the third time this season, my ambition to close the gap in the Championship at Mugello is higher than ever. The track creates an engineering challenge for setting up the car but so far, with four front row starts on different track layouts, the new C-Class has demonstrated its potential and I am confident. I hope the so enthusiastic Italian motor racing fans will be there in numbers. Start boiling the pasta and put the pizza in the oven. I am coming.

Gary Paffett, start number 9 (2006 Laureus AMG Mercedes C-Class): "Although the DTM test at Mugello was more than two years ago, I still remember this beautiful circuit. With our experience of 2005 our team should have a good basic set-up, with which we can start the weekend."

Alexandros Margaritis, start number 10 (2006 stern AMG Mercedes C-Class): "When I came to Mugello in March 2005, it was my second time in a DTM car after testing for the Mucke Motorsport team short before. On that occasion I was the second fastest Mercedes-Benz driver; a result, I would like to achieve again this time"

Susie Stoddart, start number 14 (2005 TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class): "It is always exciting to learn a new track. I look forward to this and I hope the second half of the season will turn out better for me than the first races."

Daniel la Rosa, start number 15 (2006 TrekStor AMG Mercedes C-Class): "I have an Italian father, so Mugello is kind of a home race for me which I look forward to. It will be a good occasion to score points again."

Mathias Lauda, start number 18 (2006 Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class): "For me, Mugello is a new track, but this is a challenge I like. I guess on the long straight overtaking is possible and this is what I want to do to achieve another good result."

Paul di Resta, start number 19 (2005 JAWA4U.de AMG Mercedes C-Class): "I don't know Mugello; however, the track layout looks very interesting. I have a lot of relatives in Italy and I hope they will all come to support me, so I will be able to do better after two races without points recently."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "The 5.2-kilometre circuit in the Tuscany hills is the longest on the DTM calendar and one of the most demanding. The 1.1-kilometre front straight is the longest one of all tracks in use by the DTM. At its end, the cars reach more than 260 kph, almost as much as before the first corner in Zandvoort which is the fastest spot of all DTM circuits. Mugello has everything which makes a race track interesting -- slow and medium-fast corners as well as fast corner combinations. It is a challenge for both technicians and drivers to find the set-up which is the best compromise for all sectors. This DTM season has been very close so far, never before since the DTM has adjusted the point scoring to Formula 1 five years ago, the top-ranked drivers have been as close as now. At the halfway point of the season, half a dozen drivers is able to fight fort he title and it is our target to be up front not only at halftime but also in the end."

-credit: motorsport.daimlerchrysler

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Luca Badoer , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Mika Hakkinen , Max Biaggi , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Christijan Albers , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Bruno Spengler , Gary Paffett , Paul di Resta , Alexandros Margaritis , Mathias Lauda , Nicola Larini , Daniel la Rosa , Jamie Green
Teams Mücke Motorsport