Zandvoort: Mercedes-Benz Motorsport preview

Duel in the dunes: three to three equal on wins * The seventh round of the 2007 DTM in Zandvoort, Netherlands this coming weekend is also the seventh DTM race at this track located 25 kilometres west of Amsterdam. In the six races in...

Duel in the dunes: three to three equal on wins

* The seventh round of the 2007 DTM in Zandvoort, Netherlands this coming weekend is also the seventh DTM race at this track located 25 kilometres west of Amsterdam. In the six races in Zandvoort so far after the DTM premiere in 2001, Mercedes-Benz and Audi took turns winning the event -- regarding their victories they are equal on wins three to three .

* Prior to the race at the North Sea shore, Bernd Schneider (2007 Genuine Parts AMG Mercedes C-Class) is second overall with 25.5 points, 6.5 points behind Mattias Ekstrom (Audi). Following an early incident which was not his fault, Schneider ended the previous race in Mugello in 11th place. Before that, he had scored points in 17 consecutive races, beginning in Istanbul 2005; he won four of these races. The last driver to score points 17 times in a row, was Gary Paffett between Norsiring 2004 and the 2005 finale in Hockenheim when he won the championship title.

* Four C-Class drivers are among the top-six in the championship: Schneider is followed by Bruno Spengler (2007 DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG Mercedes C-Class) and Paul di Resta (2005 JAWA4U.de AMG Mercedes C-Class) in third and fourth positions with 22 points each, and Mika Hakkinen (2007 AMG Mercedes C-Class) in fifth place with 20 points. Hakkinen took victories at the Lausitzring and in Mugello, and he is the only driver so far this year to win twice.

* The Zandvoort race will be started at 13:00 h CET instead of 14:00 h; it will be broadcast LIVE as usual by German channel ARD.

* Zandvoort has the fastest spot of all DTM circuits. At the end of the front straight, before braking for the Tarzan corner, the DTM cars reach a top speed of about 265 kph.

* Mika Hakkinen, 19 years old at that time, won a race of the Opel Lotus Euro Series here in 1988 -- 19 years ago. Later that year he also clinched the championship.

What drivers and Motorsport chief say:

Bernd Schneider, start number 1 (2007 Genuine Parts AMG Mercedes C-Class): "For me, Zandvoort is one of the highlights on the DTM calendar. The track next to the North Sea beach looks like a great place for vacations; however, for us there is no time to rest. With a 20-kilogram weight handicap compared to the 2007 Audis we have to fight hard for a good result. Under the same preconditions, I improved from seventh on the grid to second at the finish line, 0.7sec behind winner Tom Kristensen."

Bruno Spengler, start number 2 (2007 DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG Mercedes C-Class): "I look forward to Zandvoort, an interesting and demanding circuit, and to the fans and the great atmosphere. It is crucial to perform well in qualifying, because overtaking is very difficult at this track with so many fast and sweeping corners."

Jamie Green, start number 5 (2007 Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class): "Zandvoort is a challenging circuit with many fast corners. I like to driver here, also because I won the 2004 Formula 3 Euro Series championship title here with a race win three years ago."

Mika Hakkinen, start number 6 (2007 AMG Mercedes C-Class): "After my second win of the season in Mugello -- starting 15th on the grid -- my team is more motivated than ever as we managed to reduce the gap to the leaders of the championship. As every year, the sand in Zandvoort makes the track a bit trickier than it should be, but it is the same for everybody and we will try again to launch a massive attack."

Gary Paffett, start number 9 (2006 Laureus AMG Mercedes C-Class): "I won my last race in Zandvoort in 2005, I hold the lap record here and I want to achieve similar results again. In Mugello, we performed well until my accident without my own fault and I aim for a finish among the top-five."

Alexandros Margaritis, start number 10 (2006 stern AMG Mercedes C-Class): "Zandvoort is my favourite circuit and it has many interesting parts. The enthusiasm of the Dutch supporters is great and I want to score points here."

Susie Stoddart, start number 14 (2005 TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class): "After my 10th place in Italy a week ago I am optimistic for Zandvoort. I like to race here and I want to finish again among the top-ten."

Daniel la Rosa, start number 15 (2006 TrekStor AMG Mercedes C-Class 2006): "The entire year I have been looking forward to Zandvoort, the race there is my personal highlight of the season. Following my fifth place in Mugello our team is in a great mood and I would like to repeat this result in the Netherlands."

Mathias Lauda, start number 18 (2006 Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class): "Last year I did not know Zandvoort, but qualified 12th. Not a bad result for that time; however, this year I expect more."

Paul di Resta, start number 19 (2005 JAWA4U.de AMG Mercedes C-Class): "I look forward to Zandvoort. Last year, I won Saturday's race of the Formula 3 Euro Series there. This time, it would be great to end up on the podium like in Italy recently."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "Zandvoort was the race on the DTM calendar which had the biggest crowd outside Germany. In 2006, 78,500 spectators meant a new record attendance. One of the reasons for this is certainly the fact that we have always had great races here. The atmosphere is first class; no wonder that Zandvoort is one of the DTM's favourite venues. From the sportive point of view, we face a difficult challenge with a 20-kilogram weight handicap. Following its recent four victories in a row, two of them by Mika Hakkinen, the new C-Class is the heaviest car in the field with 1,080 kilograms. However, the 2006 C-Class weighs just five kilograms less -- after Gary Paffett's win in Oschersleben and good results like a third and a fifth place by Daniel la Rosa. The 2007 C-Class will arrive with a handicap of 20 kilograms, which converts to almost half a second per lap. With the 2006 car, we are even 25 kilograms heavier and with the 2005 model 20 kilograms. For us, this is no reason to give up, but we will fight as we have done it in Mugello recently."

-credit: m-benz

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Mika Hakkinen , Tom Kristensen , Bernd Schneider , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Bruno Spengler , Gary Paffett , Paul di Resta , Alexandros Margaritis , Mathias Lauda , Daniel la Rosa , Jamie Green