Jamie Green wins DTM race at Norisring
DTM weekend at the only street circuit on the calendar. Ralf Schumacher retired with only five laps to go due to a technical problem while running ninth. The Norisring lived up to its reputation. At the only 2.3 kilometers short track, the DTM drivers staged fascinating battles and maneuvers. The key point was the Grundig hairpin, which was the scene for almost all the exciting situations in the race. Green won the battle at the start from Spengler and took the lead. He managed to withstand the pressure from his rivals and thus went on to score the 145th race win for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM and the sixth win in a row for the brand from Stuttgart at the Norisring. There was only one frightening moment during Green’s second pit stop, when the tank can got stuck on his car, but then fell off in the next corner. Up to lap 21, another Mercedes-Benz driver completed the top three.
However, Scot Paul di Resta spun and had to let Audi drivers, Tom Kristensen (DK), Mattias Ekström (S) and Scheider as well as Gary Paffett (GB) with the AMG Mercedes C-Class through. During the race, reigning champion Ekström and points leader Scheider moved up into third and fourth place. Scheider put the pressure up and forced Ekström into a driver’s error on the final lap. Then, he crossed the line in third place, retaining the lead in the points’ standings. The Mercedes-Benz trio of Paffett as the best-placed driver with a year-old car, di Resta and DTM record champion Bernd Schneider followed in fifth to seventh place. Kristensen was the last driver to score a point for the championship by finishing eighth with his Audi A4 DTM.
After a rather poor start, Ralf Schumacher thrilled his fans. With the AMG Mercedes C-Class, the former Formula 1 driver made it all the way up from 17th to ninth place and eve came close to scoring his first championship points. With five laps to go, the driver from Kerpen had to park his car with a technical problem. The two Audi drivers, Martin Tomczyk and Christijan Albers (NL) also didn’t make it to the finish. On Tomczyk’s car, the throttle pedal was stuck, Albers had steering problems.
In the DTM points’ standings, Scheider is leading with 32 points from Green (31) and di Resta (26). The sixth DTM round will be taking place at Zandvoort in The Netherlands on July 13th.
Jamie Green (winner, Salzgitter AMG Mercedes): “That was a tough race. At some points, Bruno came really close. I had some trouble with the balance of my car and made two slight mistakes in the chicane. Probably, that was motivating for Bruno. Two years ago, I already had a chance of winning here, but back then, it didn’t happen. I am proud that I now have the strength to get it all right. I have probably beaten my demons and have won four of the seven races. Today, my car was very good.“
Bruno Spengler (2nd place, Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG Mercedes): “I am happy with second place, after all, it means eight points for the championship. Once, I briefly had overtaken Jamie, but then I had to get off the line myself and he was in front again. My start wasn’t very good, which allowed Jamie to get through.“
Timo Scheider (3rd place, Audi Sport Team Abt): “A good day for us, after all, we are on the podium. Now, we are able to attack Mercedes-Benz here at the Norisring as well. Somehow, I still managed to overtake Mattias (Ekström) in the final corner. I just messed up the start, but in the race, the car was great.”
Mercedes-Benz motorsport director Norbert Haug: “It was a thrilling race. In the early stages, Jamie pulled a gap, but in the end, hardly anything of it was left. Jamie and Bruno were our pupils once, but now it seems that they want to get their masters degree. I am happy that Ralf managed to do several fastest lap times during the race. Only the start is still not quite his piece of cake. Today, it was a great battle with the Audis that were very strong. It can only be topped by a victory for Germany in this evening’s final of the football Eurocup.”
Audi motorsport director Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: “Congratulations to Jamie (Green) and Bruno (Spengler). However, it was clear for everybody to see that we have shown a good performance today as well. From halfway through the race, we were there. I am happy with all the fair fights we have seen today. I think that every spectator who was here at the Norisring today will come back in 2009. That really was a great race in front of a great crowd.”
Norisring (D), DTM round 5
1 Jamie Green (Mercedes) 74 laps in 1h 01m 27.700s
2 Bruno Spengler (Mercedes) + 0.467s
3 Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM) + 2.191s
4 Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM) + 2.536s
5 Paul di Resta (Mercedes) + 18.026s
7 Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM) + 23.040s
11 Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM) + 43.684s
12 Oliver Jarvis (Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM) + 47.264s
13 Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM) - 1 lap
14 Alexandre Prémat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM) - 1 lap
15 Katherine Legge (Audi A4 DTM) - 2 laps
Positions after 5 of 11 rounds: 1 Scheider, 32 points; 2 Green, 31; 3 di Resta, 27; 4 Ekström, 25; 5 Spengler, 22; 6 Tomczyk, 17; 7 Kristensen, 14; ... 9 Jarvis and Winkelhock, 5; 11 Rockenfeller, 2; 13 Prémat, 1.
Next race: Zandvoort (NL), 13 August