Zandvoort: Mercedes race report

Audi's Kristensen wins 0.7sec ahead of Schneider who had started seventh Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes C-Class) finished the seventh round of the 2006 DTM at Zandvoort in second place. After 38 laps, he came home 0.7sec behind winner...

Audi's Kristensen wins 0.7sec ahead of Schneider who had started seventh

Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes C-Class) finished the seventh round of the 2006 DTM at Zandvoort in second place. After 38 laps, he came home 0.7sec behind winner Tom Kristensen (Audi). Bruno Spengler (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes C-Class) ended up fourth.

Jamie Green (Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes C-Class) finished eighth and Mika Häkkinen (AMG-Mercedes C-Class) 11th; both had to go through the pits a third time because of drive-through penalties. Schneider maintained his overall lead after seven out of ten races with 54 points ahead of Tom Kristensen Audi A4 DTM), with 44 and Spengler with 39 points. 78,500 spectators attended the event during the weekend.

Green started from pole position for the fourth time this year. He dropped to fifth before the first corner; however, he passed Heinz-Harald Frentzen on lap two and was fourth. Spengler dropped from fifth to eighth at the start and was behind Schneider who had qualified seventh.

At the beginning of lap six, Schneider passed Pierre Kaffer's Audi and moved up to sixth. At the end of this lap, Green came in for his first pit stop and dropped from fourth to 15th.

Häkkinen wanted to overtake Christian Abt (Audi A4 DTM) on lap seven; both cars tangled and Häkkinen spun. Consequently, Häkkinen received a drive-through penalty, which he served on lap 11; he dropped to 14th. On the same lap, Schneider came in for his first pit stop, followed by Spengler one lap later. Häkkinen made his first regular stop on lap 14.

After the first round of pit stops Green was in fourth place ahead of Schneider; Spengler was seventh. Green pitted for the second time on lap 18, Spengler on lap 20 and Schneider on 23.

Afterwards Schneider was third and began to attack Martin Tomczyk ahead of him. At the beginning of lap 36 he overtook the Audi and closed the gap behind leader Kristensen; however, it was not possible for him to pass. Schneider came home second; Spengler was in fourth place. Stefan Mücke in the 2005 TV-Spielfilm AMG-Mercedes C-Class, 14th on the grid, improved to seventh at the chequered flag.

At the first corner of lap 28, Mattias Ekström made a mistake under braking and Green passed him. Both cars touched and the English driver also received a drive-through penalty which he served on lap 29. Green ended up eighth.

Daniel la Rosa (TrekStor AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2005) finished 10th ahead of Mika Häkkinen. The Finn posted the fastest lap of the race on lap 28 with a 1:34.888 and ended up 11th. Susie Stoddart (AutoScout24 AMG Mercedes C-Class 2004) achieved her best DTM result with a 12th-place finish.

Bernd Schneider, Vodafone AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2006, second: "This was more than I had expected after my seventh grid position, because overtaking is very difficult here. I thank my team for a great car, a perfect strategy and perfect pit stops. I was able to push throughout and the fight with Martin Tomczyk was fun. Now I look forward to the last three races of the season."

Bruno Spengler, DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2006, fourth: "I had a poor start but our strategy helped me to move up. Fourth place is quite OK. It's important that the gap to the front is not too big."

Stefan Mücke, TV-Spielfilm AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2005, seventh: "To improve from 14th on the grid to seventh is OK. We wanted to score points and we achieved that. Maybe an earlier second pit stop would have been better."

Jamie Green, Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2006, eighth: "My start was really bad and I dropped to fifth, because I had wheel spin. It's a pity because I would have been able to drive faster than the Audis in front of me. When I was behind Mattias Ekström, he made a mistake under braking and then moved to the inside. That's why we touched. Where should I go -- when I make a mistake I admit it, but this was none."

Daniel la Rosa, TrekStor AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2005, 10th: "I started well, but I had to make an early first pit stop because my tyres faded. An incident with Heinz-Harald Frentzen affected the balance of my car, so I have to be satisfied with 10th place."

Mika Häkkinen, AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2006, 11th: "The start was not as good as I had planned, but I wanted to avoid Bernd. I apologise to Christian Abt, my overtaking manoeuvre was a bit too much and it destroyed both our races as it affected the balance of my car. Our team did a great job and worked really hard throughout the weekend. My fastest race lap shows that a better result was possible. Now I look forward to the race in Barcelona in three week's time."

Susie Stoddart, AutoScout24 AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2004, 12th: "A great race. Our team did a good job and the pit stops and strategy were perfect. I thank everybody -- I'm overwhelmed."

Mathias Lauda, Second Hand AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2004, 15th: "Yesterday's qualifying was great, but not the race today."

Alexandros Margaritis, Easy Rent AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2005, retired: "On the first lap I was hit hard by Nicolas Kiesa four times, afterwards it was difficult to control the car. In the second half of the race the vibrations became stronger and stronger and on lap 24 I drove into the pits and retired."

Jean Alesi, stern AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2005, retired due to a power steering failure: "I suffered from a loss of pressure in the power steering system, so I was not able to continue. It's a pity."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "Bernd Schneider drove a great race. The HWA team's strategy and pit stops were a real masterpiece, thanks to the entire team under Gerhard Ungar and Hans-Jürgen Mattheis. With his second place, Bernd lost two points compared to his pursuer Tom Kristensen -- he started seventh and thanks to his performance, we all saw a great and exciting race. Jamie was on pole position but lost four positions at the start, what cost him the race. Congratulations to Tom Kristensen and Abt-Audi -- even when you win with 0.7sec you deserve the victory."

-credit: mercedes

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Series DTM
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Jean Alesi , Mika Hakkinen , Nicolas Kiesa , Tom Kristensen , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Norbert Haug , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Bruno Spengler , Alexandros Margaritis , Pierre Kaffer , Mathias Lauda , Stefan Mücke , Daniel la Rosa , Jamie Green , Gerhard Ungar