DTM

Nurburgring: Mercedes preview

The DTM gets more and more exciting and more and more popular as well. Three weeks prior to the seventh round of the 2005 DTM at the Nürburgring this coming weekend, ticket sale was up by 15 percent compared to last year when a total of 103,000...

The DTM gets more and more exciting and more and more popular as well. Three weeks prior to the seventh round of the 2005 DTM at the Nürburgring this coming weekend, ticket sale was up by 15 percent compared to last year when a total of 103,000 attended the three-day event. That was an all-time record for DTM races at the Nürburgring since the championship was launched. The last race at Nuremberg's Norisring two weeks ago attracted a crowd of 143,000 - a record in DTM history.

Exciting championship: The battle between Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes), who won three races so far this year and defending champion Mattias Ekström (Audi) is in the centre of interest. After six out of 11 races, Paffett is the overall leader with 44 points ahead of Ekström with 41 points. They are followed by Tom Kristensen (Audi) with 28 points and Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) and Mika Häkkinen (Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes) with 17 points each.

Spectators: An average of 81,250 spectors attended the 2005 DTM races so far (as of Norisring), last year it have been 76,900 per event. Except for the season opener at Hockenheim, there have been record crowds at every other circuit this year. The race at Oschersleben was the event with the most spectators since the circuit exists.

The circuit: The DTM uses the Nürburgring's short track which is 3.629 kilometres long. Mercedes-Benz drivers won five out of the new DTM's ten races here so far. Three victories went to Audi and two to Opel. Last year, it was a clean sweep for Gary Paffett who won from pole position and posted the fastest lap of the race.

Mercedes drivers' comments prior to the race:

Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes, winner of the last race at Nuremberg):

"I like the Nürburgring. It offers three good possibilities for overtaking: at the end of the front straight, at the hairpin of the short track, and at the chicane. My goal is to extend my three-points lead."

Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes, tenth at Nuremberg):

"At the Norisring, my upswing was slowed only by incidents which were not my fault and by a drive-through penalty. Hopefully, I will be able to achieve a strong result at the Nürburgring where I scored my first six DTM points almost 14 years ago."

Mika Häkkinen (Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes, retired at Nuremberg due to an accident without own fault):

"I always liked to race the Nürburgring. I won here in Formula One in 1998 laying the foundation stone for my first title win and I hope to succeed again in DTM after I retired due to a damaged tyre at Brno, an off in Oschersleben and an accident without my own fault at Nuremberg."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"It's good to see the positive development of the DTM this year. We know already that there will be a new record attendance at the Nürburgring, the third in a row after Oschersleben and the Norisring. All the more, our team wants to perform well and continue our trend of the first six races. Starting with the maximum additional weight of 20 kilograms this will not be an easy challenge. Like at the Norisring, the three manufacturers' lap times will for sure be close together again and there are at least half a dozen drivers capable of winning which is good for the spectators."

-mercedes-

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Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Mika Hakkinen , Tom Kristensen , Bernd Schneider , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Gary Paffett