Spa: Mercedes race report

Mika Häkkinen's Maiden DTM Victory Mika Häkkinen (Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes) won the third round of the 2005 DTM at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium and scored his maiden victory in the DTM. Starting from pole position, he won after 24 laps with ...

Mika Häkkinen's Maiden DTM Victory

Mika Häkkinen (Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes) won the third round of the 2005 DTM at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium and scored his maiden victory in the DTM. Starting from pole position, he won after 24 laps with 4.2sec ahead of Mattias Ekström (Audi A4 DTM).

Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) ended up fourth behind Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM). With eighth place, Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes) maintained the overall lead in the drivers' ranking with 19 points. Häkkinen, Alesi and Ekström are second overall with 17 points each.

Häkkinen started from his first pole position in the DTM, but lost the lead to Ekström on the run the La Source hairpin. Häkkinen was second after the opening lap and subsequently reduced the gap from two to 1.4sec. When Ekström pitted on lap 10 (8.7sec) Mika took the lead.

Mika came in one lap later. His team sent him out again after only 4.5sec so that Mika rejoined the race immediately ahead of Ekström. The Swede tried to pass him into Eau Rouge, however, the double Formula One World Champion maintained his position. Häkkinen made his second pit stop on lap 17 (5.2sec) without losing the lead. After 24 laps he crossed the finish line to win his first DTM race.

Alesi passed Christian Abt (Audi A4 DTM) on lap four entering the Bus Stop chicane and improved to fifth. The Frenchman made his pit stops on laps 12 (4.7sec) and 18 (4.6sec). Alesi came home fourth. Schneider moved up from 12th to seventh at the start and pitted on laps six (7.2sec) and 18 (5.0sec) respectively.

He had an exciting battle with Laurent Aiello (Opel Vectra GTS V8) which ended on the penultimate lap, when they had a coming-together. Schneider and Aiello touched at Eau Rouge and Schneider hit the tyre barrier heavily. He escaped unhurt.

Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes) received a drive-through penalty after a fight with Pierre Kaffer (Audi A4 DTM) in which both cars had a coming-together. He ended up eighth. His fellow Englishman Jamie Green (Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes) retired on lap 20 due to a damaged left front tyre.

Mika Häkkinen:

"I'm very happy about this victory. The entire team did a perfect job to make this success possible and the whole weekend couldn't have been any better. I was a bit cautious at the start to avoid wheel spin, afterwards the car ran very well and I set the fastest lap of the race. This victory was the culmination of a fantastic week after our daughter was born on Thursday and I achieved my first DTM pole position yesterday."

Jean Alesi:

"Today the car ran perfectly. It's a shame that I wasn't able to score a better result following my mistake in qualifying and my eighth grid position. Congratulations to Mika, like me he won in the third DTM race."

Gary Paffett:

"It's good to score one point despite my drive-through penalty to defend the championship lead. In my opinion, the penalty wasn't necessary, because I drove side-by-side with Pierre Kaffer when we touched. Without it a fourth or third place would have been possible."

Bernd Schneider:

"I had a good race until the penultimate lap. I was able to improve at the start by five positions. The accident was caused by a misunderstanding between Laurent and me. I'm happy that I was not injured."

Jamie Green:

"At the start I stalled the engine and I dropped to the end of the field. The damaged tyre was the consequence of a coming together with Alexandros at La Source short before."

Alexandros Margaritis, Mücke Motorsport AMG-Mercedes, finished ninth and was the best driver of a last year's car. Stefan Mücke, Mücke Motorsport, lost valuable time during his second pit stop and ended up 12th. Bruno Spengler, Mercedes Second Hand Cars, resumed after his first pit stop when the air filler for the pneumatic jacks was stuck in the car. He retired on lap 13 after the hood had come off.

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"Mika showed an impressive performance and accomplished a real master piece. Congratulations to him and the entire HWA team. Everybody did a great job. This is a result which exceeds our expectations."

"Fortunately, Bernd got off unharmed from his high speed accident at about 240 kph. The high DTM safety standards prevented a bad outcome. The championship remains as exciting as never before. Gary, Mika, Jean and Mattias Ekström are at the top of the ranking within two points."

Mika Häkkinen
Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes

Jean Alesi

Gary Paffett
DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes

Bernd Schneider
Vodafone AMG-Mercedes

Jamie Green
Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes


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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Mika Hakkinen , Tom Kristensen , Laurent Aiello , Bernd Schneider , Norbert Haug , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Gary Paffett , Alexandros Margaritis , Pierre Kaffer , Stefan Mücke , Jamie Green
Teams Mücke Motorsport