Norisring: Mercedes race report

DTM Norisring: Bruno Spengler Takes First DTM Victory Like Dario Franchitti and Jan Mugnussen, Spengler won his first DTM race at the age of 22. Franchitti was 22 years and two days when he won his first DTM race at Mugello 1995, Magnussen won...

DTM Norisring: Bruno Spengler Takes First DTM Victory

Like Dario Franchitti and Jan Mugnussen, Spengler won his first DTM race at the age of 22. Franchitti was 22 years and two days when he won his first DTM race at Mugello 1995, Magnussen won in Estoril at the age of 22 years and 33 days for the first time; today Spengler is 22 years and 334 days old.

This demonstrates that the Mercedes-Benz concept of promoting young talents is successful for many years. After five out of ten races Schneider is the overall leader with 38 points ahead of Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM) with 30 points. Spengler moved up to third with 24 points. 147,000 spectators attended the event during the weekend.

Green started from his fifth DTM pole position and accelerated into the lead, with Schneider, Spengler and Häkkinen immediately behind him. Jean Alesi who had qualified the 2005 stern AMG-Mercedes C-Class in fourth place, was hit by Christian Abt (Audi A4 DTM). Alesi's right rear suspension broke, he came into the pits and retired.

On lap 13, Häkkinen made his first stop, followed by Schneider, Green and Spengler on laps 17, 18 and 24 respectively. At the end of the first round of pit stops Green held the lead again; Schneider was second ahead of Häkkinen and Spengler.

Entering the Esses on lap 34, Green was hit from behind by Abt. In the following lefthander Green slid into the wall. He pitted immediately; however, two laps later he spun into the tyre barrier due to a broken right rear suspension and retired.

On lap 37 Häkkinen made his second pit stop. Schneider pitted on lap 38 whilst Spengler put in several fast laps with personal best times and came in from the lead for his second stop on lap 52. He resumed ahead of Schneider and Häkkinen with only 1.6sec separating the three Mercedes-Benz drivers.

On lap 57 Daniel la Rosa (TrekStor AMG-Mercedes C-Class) had a brake problem at the Grundig hairpin and hit Susie Stoddart's AutoScout24 AMG-Mercedes C-Class sideways. The Safety Car was deployed.

At the re-start on lap 64 Spengler maintained the lead ahead of Schneider whilst Häkkinen got stuck behind Jeroen Bleekemolen's Audi. Five laps later Spengler won with Schneider and Häkkinen finishing second and third.

Stefan Mücke, 19th on the grid, improved to eighth on lap 10 and was among the points positions. After an exciting fight with Kristensen Mücke improved to fourth, his best DTM result so far.

Bruno Spengler, DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2006, winner: "This is like a dream come true. I'm really happy to achieve my first DTM victory here at the Norisring, because the atmosphere here is the best of the entire season. My team did a great job, our strategy and pit stops were perfect. When I resumed as the leader after my second stop I didn't feel the heat in the car anymore. I want to thank everybody in my team."

Bernd Schneider, Vodafone AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2006, second: "It is a good result with regard to the championship; however, I'm not quite satisfied. When I had my fight with Mika I had to concentrate on him for many laps. Bruno gained his decisive advantage. He deserved his first DTM victory -- congratulations."

Mika Häkkinen, AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2006, third: "It was an incredibly tough race, but when you achieve a good result you just enjoy it. It's good that the fight for the lead was among the Mercedes-Benz drivers and I'm happy to finish on the podium after two races without points. I thank Mercedes-Benz and our team, everybody did a great job and you could see today how well our team works."

Stefan Mücke, TV-Spielfilm AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2005, fourth: "A great race. I am really happy and I can't believe I improved from second-to-last on the grid to fourth place. Our strategy worked well and I managed to avoid all incidents today."

Daniel la Rosa, TrekStor AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2005, retired: "When I braked for the Grundig hairpin suddenly the brake pressure faded. I managed to turn the car around; however, I couldn't avoid hitting Susie. I am very sorry and I'm glad that she's not seriously injured."

Susie Stoddart, AutoScout24 AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2004, retired. She was hospitalised at Nuremberg's Klinikum Süd (south hospital) with bruises at her ribs and elbow, but she is OK.

Alexandros Margaritis, Easy Rent AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2005, retired: "I had a good race and I moved up to the points positions. Unfortunately I had a damaged radiator probably because of an incident with another car at the start. The engine overheated and stalled due to the overheating protection."

Jamie Green, Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2006, retired: "Christian Abt hit me a couple of times when I lapped him. On lap 24 he pushed me from behind entering the Esses and when I turned into the lefthander I lacked grip and hit the wall. Therefore, my right rear suspension was damaged. We were not able to repair it in the pits. I tried to resume but then the suspension broke and I retired."

Mathias Lauda, Second Hand AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2004, retired: "I had a good start, but in the third corner I was hit from behind. I slid into the wall and lost my rear wing. The car was undriveable and my race was over on lap five."

Jean Alesi, stern AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2005, retired: "Qualifying fourth it was a great weekend -- until the race. I started well, although I lost one place to Mika. Then I was hit hard by Christian Abt and my rear suspension broke. This was the end of my race."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "The most important first: Susie Stoddart was at Nuremberg's Klinikum Süd and she was cared for professionally. She suffered from bruises at her ribs and elbow and is back with us now."

"Congratulations to Bruno Spengler, he showed a great performance and deserved this victory. His success demonstrates that our promotion of young talents works. Congratulations to the HWA team with Gerhard Ungar and Hans-Jürgen Mattheis, who achieved podium positions also with Bernd Schneider and Mika Häkkinen."

"A sportsmanlike decision on the race track was important to us and therefore we had no team order today, like in Brands Hatch three weeks ago. All in all it was a fantastic weekend, great weather, great fans and great atmosphere."


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Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Mika Hakkinen , Tom Kristensen , Dario Franchitti , Bernd Schneider , Norbert Haug , Christian Abt , Bruno Spengler , Jeroen Bleekemolen , Alexandros Margaritis , Mathias Lauda , Stefan Mücke , Daniel la Rosa , Jamie Green , Gerhard Ungar