DTM

Norisring: Round five preview

5th DTM race, Norisring, Nürnberg (GER), June 25 - 27, 2004 Battle for championship on Norisring half-way through DTM The DTM is celebrating one of the season's highlights this weekend from June 25 to 27. The street circuit "Norisring" in ...

5th DTM race, Norisring, Nürnberg (GER), June 25 - 27, 2004
Battle for championship on Norisring half-way through DTM

The DTM is celebrating one of the season's highlights this weekend from June 25 to 27. The street circuit "Norisring" in Nürnberg with its exceptional flair is playing host to the fifth race of the season. The battle for the "half-way championship" is being carried out under special circumstances this year. Audi shooting star Mattias Ekström leads the overall standings on 34 points after two victories together with Christijan Albers (Mercedes-Benz). Third-placed Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz), 19 points behind, will be looking to close the gap to the top in the 72 race laps (165.6 kilometres).

Jean Alesi is fourth (12 points, Mercedes-Benz) ahead of Audi driver Martin Tomczyk (11 points), Bernd Schneider (10 points, Mercedes-Benz) and Tom Kristensen (10 points, Audi). The Dane is heading to Nürnberg as the freshly-crowned six-times winner of the 24-hour Le Mans race. Laurent Aiello and Timo Scheider are Opel's best-ranked drivers in the overall standings.

Last year, Christijan Albers won the "Monaco of the DTM" race on the 2.3 kilometre-long circuit in front of a record crowd of 128,000 spectators. This year, more than 40,000 tickets have already been sold in advance, of which more than half are weekend tickets. The Audi squad are hoping for especially big support at their "home game", given that their headquarters in Ingolstadt are 70 kilometres from the Norisring. The circuit's eye-catcher is the famous 400-metre-long stone grandstand along the start-finish straight. It accommodates 30,000 spectators.

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Audi Motorsport Director:

"The DTM is heading for a terrific weekend. More spectators than ever before will probably be coming to the Norisring, additional stands are even being set up. The Norisring is our ^Âhome game', the interest among the Audi employees is therefore big. We will do our utmost to look good. At the same time, we are aware that this is particularly difficult to achieve in Nürnberg. But we have prepared well for the specific demands of the circuit."

Norbert Haug,Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director:

"The race on the Norisring marks the half-way point of the season. It is a matter of immense prestige for all DTM competitors. Never have as many tickets been sold there as in this year, which means we can expect to see a record amount of spectators. It's going to be closer than ever on the track and I wouldn't be surprised if the grid from qualifying will come within a total of less than three quarters of a second."

Volker Strycek, Opel Sport Director:

"The DTM race on the Norisring is certainly one of the season's highlights. The atmosphere is unique, the proximity to the fans even more pronounced than at any other race track. The backdrop of spectators is impressive: that many fans always motivate us even more. The entire Opel team is looking forward to the 'German Monaco'! The course is difficult: it's all down to finding the best compromise between top speed on the straights and traction out of the turns. That's a real balancing act. The brakes are also taxed a lot on the Norisring. The many bumps turn the set-up into a tricky affair."

Tom Kristensen (36, Audi A4 DTM):

"My telephone hasn't stopped ringing since Le Mans. An incredible amount of people have congratulated me on my sixth win, even Jacky Ickx. I was really pleased about that. But now it's back to the DTM - and it being the Norisring we're already faced with one of the most important races of the series. At last a DTM circuit I'm familiar with. But sadly that doesn't mean very much there as one gets used to the course quickly. It will definitely be a very special race for me because many Audi fans will be there - and also many Audi Sport employees who aren't otherwise at the races, but who are a key factor in our success."

Gary Paffett (23, AMG-Mercedes C-Class):

"This year will be my second start with the DTM on the Norisring; two times previously in the Formula 3. A city race like the one in Nürnberg with its particular layout of long straights and tight hairpin bends is an especially big challenge. It's a very interesting circuit and I'm expecting a thrilling qualifying as well as a tough race with much overtaking."

Manuel Reuter (42, Opel Vectra GTS V8):

"The Norisring exudes a quite unique flair with the spectators in the middle, the Dutzendteich, the paddock in the forest. The races are mostly very strenuous as it's usually hot there. That's when fitness plays an important part. There are two options as regards set-up: either very little downforce for higher speed on the straights or a lot of downforce for better traction out of the turns. Over the last few years we've tended more towards less downforce to enable one sooner to overtake on the straights. One has to find the right balance when braking before the bumps."

-dtm-

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Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Tom Kristensen , Laurent Aiello , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Manuel Reuter , Christijan Albers , Timo Scheider , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Jacky Ickx , Volker Strycek , Gary Paffett