Preview: DTM, heat 2: Zolder (Belgium) Back to the Roots In March 1984, DTM history started at Zolder with the first ever race of the then called "Production Car Championship". Four years later, in 1988, again at Zolder, some 80,000 spectators...
Preview: DTM, heat 2: Zolder (Belgium) Back to the Roots
In March 1984, DTM history started at Zolder with the first ever race of the then called "Production Car Championship". Four years later, in 1988, again at Zolder, some 80,000 spectators saw the first race after the series' re-launch under the name DTM. The Belgian track was the DTM's season opening venue until 1994.
The track: Today, the Terlamen Circuit is 3.977km long, 187m shorter than in 1994 when the last DTM race took place here. The front straight is wider now, and the chicanes have been redesigned and are faster now. The Zolder lap record was set by René Arnoux in a F1 Ferrari in 1984: 1min19.294sec. In 1994, Nicola Larini (Alfa Romeo) posted the fastest lap in a DTM car with a time of 1min38.050sec.
The drivers: Of today's Mercedes-Benz DTM contestants, only Uwe Alzen (Warsteiner AMG-Mercedes) and Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) know Zolder from the last race in 1994. Alzen was a private Mercedes driver for the Persson team, and Schneider an AMG-Mercedes works driver. Opel drivers Michael Bartels and Manuel Reuter, too, raced already in the DTM eight years ago.
"I'm really happy to return to Zolder with the DTM. The crowd here has always been very enthusiastic, and I'm sure that with the many overtaking opportunities at all four chicanes and at the first left-hander after start and finish, they will see an exciting race again after eight years."
The Zolder event is this year's first DTM race for Bernd Mayländer (Oase AMG-Mercedes). The 30-year-old had missed the season opener at Hockenheim due to a lung operation following a pneumothorax. Last weekend during the Spanish Grand Prix, Bernd was already back at the wheel of the Formula One Safety Car.