Nurburgring: Mercedes preview

The second half of the 2006 DTM begins with the sixth round of the championship at the Nürburgring this coming weekend. After five out of 10 races, Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes C-Class) is the overall leader with 38 points; he has won...

The second half of the 2006 DTM begins with the sixth round of the championship at the Nürburgring this coming weekend. After five out of 10 races, Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes C-Class) is the overall leader with 38 points; he has won the first two races this year. Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM/30 points) is second overall ahead of Bruno Spengler (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes C-Class/24 points), who won the last race at Nuremberg's Norisring three weeks ago.

Facts and figures: The Nürburgring has been opened on 19 June 1927 and its history has been linked to the motor sport history of Mercedes-Benz ever since. Rudolf Caracciola won the opening race at the wheel of a Mercedes S. On 3 June 1934, Manfred von Brauchitsch won the Eifel race at the Nürburgring with a Mercedes W25 after the car's white paintwork had been sanded down to reduce weight. The Mercedes-Benz cars then appeared in the aluminium body's silver colour, which marked the Silver Arrow's birthday.

In 2002, 75 years after the legendary Nordschleife, the Mercedes Arena has been launched. This twisty section following the front straight, which often sees spectacular outbraking manoeuvres at the entrance, is also part of the 3.629-km short track of the Nürburging, which is used by the DTM.

Since 2000, Mercedes-Benz drivers have won five out of 11 DTM races at the Nürburgring. Audi drivers took four and Opel drivers two victories respectively. Last year, Gary Paffett started from pole position and ended up third after a drive-through penalty for crossing the white lane at the pit lane exit. Mattias Ekström (Audi) won the race. Paffett set a new DTM lap record with a 1:24.442 for this version of the circuit.

Since 1984, there have been a total of 61 DTM races at the Nürburgring. Since the brand's first appearance in 1986, Mercedes-Benz drivers took 27 victories; the first was Volker Weidler in a 190E of Dr. Helmut Marko's team winning in the debut year. Klaus Ludwig is the most successful DTM driver at the Nürburgring with 13 victories, 12 of which he achieved with Mercedes-Benz.

The new weight distribution in the DTM: 2006 AMG-Mercedes C-Class (Schneider, Green, Häkkinen, Spengler): 1,075 kilograms; 2006 Audi A4 DTM: 1,065 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 Norisring race:

Bruno Spengler, start number 9 (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes C-Class, winner):

"The Nürburgring is one of my favourite circuits and I really look forward to the race. After having achieved my first DTM race win at the Norisring I hope the penny has dropped and I aim for another top result to make the battle for the championship even more exciting."

Bernd Schneider, start number 2 (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes C-Class, second):

"I like racing at the Nürburgring, because there are always a lot of people from my home region, the Saarland, to cheer me on. I will appreciate that because it will be a tough race for us with a 10-kilo handicap compared to the Audis. However, we are well prepared and our technical package is really great."

Mika Häkkinen, start number 8 (AMG-Mercedes, third):

"The Norisring result was good to achieve but I want more and the target is to go higher on the podium. We should be in good shape for this weekend at the Nürburgring, it is a challenging track and the weather changes there could turn the situation upside down sometimes which add on some more spices in the race for the fans, teams and drivers. I am ready and can not wait to be there."

Stefan Mücke, start number 17 (TV Spielfilm AMG-Mercedes C-Class, fourth):

"At the Nürburgring, it will be difficult to score points with a last year's car. However, I will give it my all to manage it anyway."

Susie Stoddart, start number 22 (AutoScout24 AMG-Mercedes C-Class, retired after an accident with Daniel la Rosa):

"The Nürburgring is another new track for me. I heard a lot about the successful Mercedes-Benz history there and it would be really great to be the best driver with a 2004 car."

Daniel la Rosa, start number 18 (TrekStor AMG-Mercedes C-Class, retired with an accident due to loss of brake pressure):

"I achieved my first ever race win at the Nürburgring, in Formula König in 2001. In 2004, I scored my second best result in the Formula 3 Euro Series, fourth place, also at the Nürburgring. I don't expect a similar result with a last year's car, but a top-10 result should be possible."

Alexandros Margaritis, start number 11 (EasyRent AMG-Mercedes C-Class, retired due to a damaged radiator after a coming-together with another car):

"To retire from the Norisring race was disappointing; as I'm sure I would have scored points. I aim to make up for this at the Nürburging; it is my home track as I live in Bonn."

Jamie Green, start number 3 (Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes C-Class, retired with a broken rear suspension after being pushed by Christian Abt and hitting the wall):

"Following my retirement without my own fault at the Norisring I lost one position in the overall ranking. After three pole positions this year I aim for a top result at the Nürburgring and to regain third place in the championship."

Mathias Lauda, start number 21 (Second Hand AMG-Mercedes C-Class, lost his rear wing after being pushed and retired):

"I know the Nürburgring pretty well and I like this circuit. It would be great to qualify among the top-15 again like at the Norisring, and then finish the race."

Jean Alesi, start number 10 (stern AMG-Mercedes C-Class, retired with a broken rear suspension after being pushed by Christian Abt):

"After I had retired from the Norisring race just after the start without my own fault, I was really disappointed because starting fourth with a 2005 car I had a great basis for the race. But now I look forward to the Nürburgring and want to score points again -- I know we have the potential to achieve this."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"The last race at the Norisring was just great and set new records. The grandstands were completely packed and never before there have been more spectators at Nuremberg's traditional circuit. The number of ARD TV viewers during the live broadcast peaked at 2.8 million. This trend can be continued at the Nürburgring; it looks as if there will be a new record attendance.

Concerning the sport, I expect the meanwhile well-known close and exciting fights. After our third victory in five races, we have a weight handicap of 10 kilograms compared to our competitor Audi. They will be extremely strong at the Nürburgring, but not unbeatable."

-credit: mercedes

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Mika Hakkinen , Tom Kristensen , Bernd Schneider , Norbert Haug , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Klaus Ludwig , Bruno Spengler , Gary Paffett , Alexandros Margaritis , Mathias Lauda , Volker Weidler , Stefan Mücke , Daniel la Rosa , Jamie Green