Norisring: Mercedes preview

High Noon in the Afternoon: The DTM race at the Norisring will be started at 17:35 h in the afternoon -- it will be hot anyway Bernd Schneider will arrive at the DTM season's highlight as the overall leader. Just before the fifth round of the...

High Noon in the Afternoon: The DTM race at the Norisring will be started at 17:35 h in the afternoon -- it will be hot anyway

Bernd Schneider will arrive at the DTM season's highlight as the overall leader. Just before the fifth round of the 2006 championship at Nuremberg this coming weekend, the Vodafone AMG-Mercedes C-Class driver, winner of the year's first two races, has re-gained the lead with 30 points ahead of Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM/26 points). Like last year the race will be started only at 17:35 h, following the TV broadcast of the Tour de France final.

2.54 million TV viewers in Germany watched the live broadcast with a market share of 18.9 percent; both were the best ratings for DTM races last year. Then the race had been started also at 17:35 h.

Circuit: With a length of 2.3 kms the Norisring is the second shortest circuit on the DTM calendar after Brands Hatch with 1.929 kms. The drivers will pass the huge grandstand at start and finish 74 times. One lap is shorter than 50 seconds. The race distance of 170.200 kms is the second longest of the year; at Barcelona on 24 September the race will be 999 metres longer.

Facts and Figures: The Norisring is the DTM's only temporary street circuit and is considered the highlight of the season due to its unique atmosphere. Apart from 1985 and 1986 and from 1997 to 1999 after the end of the old DTM, the race has been on the DTM calendar every year. Mercedes-Benz drivers won five of the seven races since 2000 (two races per event in that year) and took three consecutive victories since 2003, one with Christijan Albers (2003) and two with Gary Paffett (2004 and 2005). Opel and Audi both scored one win each. Mercedes-Benz won eight of 27 races in 17 events at the Norisring and is the most successful brand here.

Technology: Among the circuits on the DTM calendar, the Norisring is the most challenging for the brakes. Whilst braking at the Grundig hairpin, brake temperature raises to 800 degrees Celsius. Decelerating here from about 260 kph to 45 kph, the drivers have to endure forces of 2G. To maintain this brake performance for 74 laps even at high ambient temperatures, the brakes are equipped with biggest possible air ducts.

The new weight distribution in the DTM: 2006 AMG-Mercedes C-Class (Schneider, Green, Häkkinen, Spengler): 1,070 kilograms; 2006 Audi A4 DTM: 1,070 kilograms; last year's cars like the AMG-Mercedes C-Class of Jean Alesi, Daniel la Rosa, Alexandros Margaritis, Stefan Mücke: 1,060 kilograms; 2004 cars like the AMG-Mercedes C-Class of Mathias Lauda and Susie Stoddart: 1,020 kilograms.

Comments from the Mercedes drivers, in the order of the result from the Brands Hatch race:

Jamie Green, start number 3 (Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes C-Class, second): "The race at the Norisring will be even tougher than at Brands Hatch. After I missed victory in my home race after an off I want to win this time with a flawless drive."

Bernd Schneider, start number 2 (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes C-Class, third): "I look forward to the season's highlight at the Norisring. I have won two races there. The track suits us and I want to use the opportunity to maintain the overall lead."

Jean Alesi, start number 10 (stern AMG-Mercedes C-Class, sixth): "The Norisring layout looks simple, but the circuit is tricky. 74 laps in usually hot conditions require top shape and maximum concentration. I am well prepared."

Bruno Spengler, start number 9 (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes C-Class, seventh): "At the Norisring in 2003 I drove my first ever Formula 3 race and I like the track ever since. However, I expect a difficult race and it will be crucial not to make the smallest mistake. I want to finish on the podium."

Alexandros Margaritis, start number 11 (EasyRent AMG-Mercedes C-Class, eighth): "At the Norisring, the respective last year's cars have always achieved good results. I want to finish among the top-five, like in the season opener at Hockenheim."

Mika Häkkinen, start number 8 (AMG-Mercedes C-Class, 11th): "The Norisring is an interesting track and the atmosphere with the fans is great. Here you'll see good overtaking opportunities, exciting duels and this is what I and the spectators like. It's clear what I'm aiming for; after two races without points I want to finish on the podium again and reel in the Championship leader."

Daniel la Rosa, start number 18 (TrekStor AMG-Mercedes C-Class, 12th): "The great atmosphere at the Norisring is very motivating. Here I want to score my first DTM championship points."

Stefan Mücke, start number 17 (TV Spielfilm AMG-Mercedes C-Class, 13th): "The Norisring offers us a good chance to score points with our 2005 car and this is what I'm aiming for. The circuit suits me and our car."

Mathias Lauda, start number 21 (Second Hand AMG-Mercedes C-Class, 15th): "I don't know the Norisring yet; however, I've been told that the chances for the 2004 cars are not bad there. Particularly the long straights should be to our liking."

Susie Stoddart, start umber 22 (AutoScout24 AMG-Mercedes C-Class, 16th): "My team mates told me a lot about the Norisring and the great atmosphere there. I'm sure I will learn the track quickly and I look forward to a great race."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "It will be no surprise if the gap from the first to the 20th will be no bigger than half a second after the first part of qualifying. This demonstrates how difficult it is to perform well in this competitive field. The Norisring has only four corners; however, it's a big challenge.

A small mistake, a minor error under braking and you end up in the wall, in the barrier or in your rival's rear. Whilst the circuit is one of the shortest with most narrow sectors, it disproves the myth that there is no more overtaking in the DTM, we all remember well last year. The Norisring is one or probably the highlight on the DTM calendar and it seems we will have a new record attendance there this year. With five race wins in the last six races there we have a good balance in Nuremberg and we are all focused to continue this in 2006."


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