DTM

Spa: Mercedes preview

DTM at Spa-Francorchamps: Premiere in the Ardennes For the first time, the DTM will race on the Grand Prix circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. The championship's third race will take place on the traditional race track, which has been...

DTM at Spa-Francorchamps: Premiere in the Ardennes

For the first time, the DTM will race on the Grand Prix circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. The championship's third race will take place on the traditional race track, which has been opened 81 years ago, on 14 and 15 May.

Six drivers, six countries: The top six drivers in the championship have six different nationalities. Briton Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes) leads after a second place and one win with 18 points ahead of Frenchman Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) with 12 points. They are followed by Audi drivers Mattias Ekström (Sweden, 9) and Tom Kristensen (Denmark, 8). Mika Häkkinen from Finland (Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes) is fifth overall with seven points ahead of Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) with six points.

Classical and modern age: Spa is one of the last circuits incorporating also public roads. The track in the Ardennes was opened in 1924 with a length of 14.863 kilometres. Today's track with 6.973 kilometres is in use since 1985. There is no longer race lap on the DTM calendar.

Famous corner: The Eau Rouge corner, a steep and fast uphill left-right combination is one of the most demanding corners of all circuits. The DTM cars will pass it at a speed of approximately 230 kph. They will reach their top speed of about 255 kph before braking into Les Combes at the end of the long straight after Eau Rouge, and before the Bus Stop chicane short before start and finish.

Facts and Figures: Belgium saw 15 DTM events so far, however, they were all held at Zolder. The last DTM race there was in 2002. Three of the eight Mercedes-Benz drivers have already raced at Spa: Jean Alesi and Mika Häkkinen in Formula One, Bernd Schneider in Formula One, sports and touring cars. Like the Grand Prix, the DTM race will be started before the La Source hairpin.

The top-two Mercedes-Benz drivers of the last race at the Lausitzring and their comments on the upcoming event at Spa:

Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes, winner at the Lausitzring):

"The first time I drove at Spa was during the DTM test at the beginning of April. The track is a great challenge for every driver and I enjoy it a lot. However, when it's raining like it did during the test it is difficult to control the car in some parts of the circuit. My target is to maintain the DTM lead despite a 20-kilogram additional weight."

Mika Häkkinen (AMG-Mercedes, third):

"I look forward to racing again at Spa as I have some good memories of this circuit, particularly of my Grand Prix victory in 2000. The fast and climbing corner of Eau Rouge demands not only total commitment, but also an optimum set-up of the car to carry enough speed onto the following long straight."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"The layout of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit with its medium fast and very fast corners is extremely demanding for the drivers and the teams in terms of set up work. On the 2005 DTM calendar, Spa is one of the very difficult challenges, particularly for our teams with 2005 C-Class cars who will come to Spa with a ballast weight of 20 kilograms. We will see what they still can do."

-mercedes-

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