Norisring: Opel preview

Russelsheim. Rush hour in Nuernberg: The fifth race of the season on 22 June -- broadcast live on ARD -- will be the first DTM event at the Norisring to be run over 72 laps. The roughly one-hour race on the difficult street circuit will be a new...

Russelsheim. Rush hour in Nuernberg: The fifth race of the season on 22 June -- broadcast live on ARD -- will be the first DTM event at the Norisring to be run over 72 laps. The roughly one-hour race on the difficult street circuit will be a new challenge to the Opel works drivers, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Peter Dumbreck, Alain Menu, Manuel Reuter, Timo Scheider and Joachim Winkelhock, as well. Inspired by their most recent exploits, the victory of the 24-hour race at the Nurburgring and the second-place finish of the DTM race at the EuroSpeedway, Opel are intensively preparing for the pinnacle of the season.

If you brake, you lose: This saying does not apply to this track! At no other DTM circuit will drivers brake longer than at the Norisring. They keep their foot on the brake pedal for approximately twelve seconds, with a lap time of 50 seconds at that. The cars slow down extremely before the two hairpins, like from 260 to 50 kph before the Grundig-Kehre.

Brake test: Extremely high temperatures transferred from the carbon fibre brake discs (600 degrees C) to the brake callipers and thus to the brake fluid are the major problem. At Opel's test track in Pferdsfeld, OPC Team Phoenix, with Timo Scheider, simulated the demands imposed by the Norisring. No doubt: It's also up to the driver to use his braking power with proper discretion to make it last over the whole distance.

In concert: Timo Scheider was enchanted by a lap in an Opel Astra convertible with the top down with Jeanette. Now, the pop starlet -- together with Bro'Sis -- will make another DTM show time appearance, including a rendition of the DTM song "Right Now".

Flashback: With 18 points, Peter Dumbreck has moved up to fifth place in the standings; his OPC Team Phoenix is ranking third in the team standings. At the EuroSpeedway, the Scotsman clinched second place, thus giving Opel their best result since their dual victory in the 2000 finale. Scheider finishing fourth and Menu sixth complemented Opel's strong performance. Moreover, Menu and Dumbreck drove the fastest laps in the race.

Formula 3 returns to DTM: After two DTM runs without Formula 3, the new Euro Series will rejoin the DTM at the Norisring. With four wins, Opel-Dallara driver Ryan Briscoe (Prema-Powerteam) has become the high flyer of the season. The fifth exploit of the Opel powerpack was achieved by Timo Glock (Opel Team KMS). A particularly motivated contender at the Norisring: "Rookie" Nico Rosberg (Opel-Dallara/Team Rosberg), who, despite leading the race in Pau, saw his first F3 victory slipping right through his fingers.


Opel motorsport director Volker Strycek on Opel's progress since the season opener

"At the opening race in Hockenheim we entered a completely new Astra V8 Coupe, saying that we'd need several races to fully exploit its potential. Since then, we've made constant progress. Peter Dumbreck's second place at the EuroSpeedway documents this progress. We're continuing our strategy with a strong focus on improving every aspect of the car. We certainly feel that there's even more potential to increase our performance. Since our victory of the 24-hour race at the Nurburgring, the entire team has developed a real craving for this wonderful feeling."

Peter Dumbreck (OPC Team Phoenix) on his prospects

"Wow, what a great feeling it was to be on the podium again. And the thrill felt by the whole Opel fraternity was simply sensational. Our strong performance, with three Opel drivers among the top six, was celebrated like a victory. It's bloody good for everyone. Being fifth in the DTM standings, with merely a small distance between myself and the guys in front, I'm in a promising position. However, the circuit with its hairpins is not a particular favourite of mine. You need a good suspension, which effectively handles the many bumps while braking and accelerating out of corners."

Manuel Reuter (OPC Team Holzer) on "stop & go" in Nuernberg

"Norisring -- that's a synonym for accelerating and braking, with the basic ability to decelerate being one aspect and reliability another. From the driver's perspective, constant pedal pressure is crucial. You must be able to trust your brakes, and if you can, that's half the battle. Especially before the two hairpins, the brakes are subjected to extreme stress. While the carbon fibre discs can handle a lot, the brake callipers present a much greater problem. They generate extremely high temperatures, which heat up the brake fluid. At least, water cooling alleviates this problem to some extent. As a driver, you have to use your brakes carefully to have enough power for the whole racing distance. Good preparation is crucial. We're certainly doing that and, what's more, this year's Astra has generally been delivering very good brake performance."

Joachim Winkelhock (OPC Euroteam) on the Norisring

"Whether Macao, Monaco or the Norisring -- I've always enjoyed racing on street circuits. I like looking back on my victory with Opel in the 2000 DTM. The Norisring is really unique: The large crowds of fans, the open paddock, the picturesque scenery around the "Dutzendteich", even the makeshift pit lane -- I really enjoy all this. Everything is very basic and original. It makes you feel very close to the fans. However, this is also one of the toughest races on the DTM calendar. There are only a few places where you can either gain or lose time. Slipstream chases and late braking -- these are the elements for overtaking. I enjoy racing through a "channel of guard-rails", although such a line doesn't forgive any mistakes. In any event, 72 laps will be quite an ordeal, for both the drivers and the cars."


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Series DTM
Drivers Peter Dumbreck , Joachim Winkelhock , Manuel Reuter , Timo Scheider , Ryan Briscoe , Nico Rosberg , Volker Strycek , Jeroen Bleekemolen , Timo Glock , Alain Menu