DTM 2012 event in Munich: Ralf Schumacher and Jamie Green win premiere of team relay competition
The DTM is running a Show Event in Munich's Olympic Stadium for the second year in succession. Bruno Spengler in the Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class was overall winner of last year’s inaugural event. The drivers will compete this weekend against each other on two 614-metre-long tracks that are mirror images of each other, thus allowing the fans to see which driver is running in the lead. New run-off areas on the outside of the track have been provided to increase safety. On Sunday (starting at about 14:15, live on ARD), drivers will compete against each other individually in knockout format in order to determine the overall winner.
The Format: On Saturday, all DTM drivers first take part in a qualifying session for that particular make of car. The starting order of the manufacturers is then reversed depending on the position held in the Manufacturers' Championship, which Mercedes-Benz currently leads after five of ten races. The top four drivers from each manufacturer go through to the quarter-finals. For each brand, there are two relay teams: the fastest and the fourth-fastest driver in qualifying make up Team 1, the second-and third-fastest drivers Team 2. In the quarter-finals, the teams go head to head over 2 x 3 laps. The winners of the first three matches are joined by the fastest losers in the semi-final which is then contested over 2 x 4 laps. In the finals, the top two teams race four times over three laps.
Qualifying: Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé) secured the fastest time, 2:22.751 minutes, of the eight Mercedes-Benz DTM drivers. Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 2:23.579) was his relay team-mate. The second Mercedes-Benz relay team was made up of Jamie Green (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 2:22.755) and Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 2:23.084). Robert Wickens (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 2:24.227), Roberto Merhi (Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 2:25.058), David Coulthard (DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 2:26.499) and Susie Wolff (TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 2:27.820) will not be racing again until Sunday in the individual competition.
Quarter-finals: In the second quarter-final, Green and Schumacher were up against the Audi pair of Mattias Ekström/Miguel Molina. The two Mercedes AMG C-Coupé drivers won after two times three laps with a three-second lead. Mercedes-Benz Team 1, composed of Vietoris and Paffett, was victorious in the last quarter-final against Joey Hand and Dirk Werner (both BMW) with a lead of 2.7 seconds.
Semi-finals: The two Mercedes-Benz teams went head-to-head in the semi-finals. In a thrilling race, Schumacher and Green won by nine-tenths of a second against Paffett and Vietoris and so progressed on to the final.
Third Place: Vietoris and Paffett have won the race for third place against the BMW team of Joey Hand/Dirk Werner with a lead of seven-tenths of a second.
Final: After twelve heats and three rounds, Schumacher and Green beat Audi’s Adrien Tambay and Timo Scheider in a thrilling final.
Comments on Saturday:
Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Winner:
“It was a perfect day for us. The starts went particularly well for me today and the race at the stadium was a lot of fun. The organisers have done an excellent job with the new circuit layout. It is clearly an improvement on last year – the grip level is very good and I think the new relay competition is a great idea.”
Jamie Green (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Winner:
“It was really fun today. After my first victory of the season in the last points-scoring event at the Norisring in Nuremberg, my win in the relay competition here in Munich's Olympic Stadium is the perfect follow-up. Ralf and I made a good Mercedes AMG team – I hope we can continue in the same way tomorrow in the individual timed competition.”
Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé), Third:
“It was a great feeling to race here under the canopy of Munich's Olympic Stadium and win one of the final showdowns. Of course, I would have liked to be in the final itself and bag a win, but unfortunately, it was not to be. I feel very much at ease on this track where it is particularly important to properly assess every risk. Tomorrow, I’ll be back on the offensive in the individual timed competition.”
Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Third:
“Third place is a decent result, although my aim is always to be first, of course. We were on excellent form today, even though driving on this track is completely different to a normal circuit – well actually, you need a very different technique. The day was great fun and I'm looking forward to Sunday’s individual timed competition.”
Robert Wickens (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Preliminary Round:
“Driving in Munich's Olympic Stadium is a new and exciting experience for me. You sit waiting on the start/finish line and it feels like an eternity until the race finally gets underway, then the adrenaline starts pumping and the tension rises. My run was great fun, even though my time was not good enough to go through to the next round. I’ll do my level best tomorrow, however, to progress further.”
Roberto Merhi (Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Preliminary Round:
“The preliminary round was disappointing for me. My start was not brilliant, but that was not the main reason for retiring, no, it was down to an unfortunate lack of traction. Whilst no championship points are awarded for the show event in Munich, I naturally still wanted to put on a good show for the fans and post a fair few number of laps. Fortunately, I can have another shot at it tomorrow.”
David Coulthard (DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Preliminary Round:
“The atmosphere in Munich’s Olympic Stadium is unique. Of course, I would like to have been in the relay phase of the competition, but unfortunately my time was not good enough to progress through to the next round. It’s disappointing, but tomorrow is another day and I’ve got another chance.”
Susie Wolff (TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Preliminary Round:
“The start at the Olympic Stadium is completely different compared to a normal race track, since tyres and brakes are relatively cold, but I got away quite well, nevertheless. Unfortunately, I could not maintain my level of performance until the end of the round, so my time was not good enough to make the Top Four. I hope that I can do more tomorrow.”
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“The perfect result for our four drivers and their HWA team. Gerhard Ungar and his team of engineers and mechanics prepared our Mercedes AMG C-Coupés brilliantly for the challenges presented by this prestigious race in the stadium of Munich’s Olympic Park – just a stone’s throw from the factory gates of our competitors, BMW.
“Ralf Schumacher and Jamie Green were simply the best, winning Saturday’s team competition. Championship leader Gary Paffett and Christian Vietoris secured third place for Mercedes, the best possible result that a manufacturer can achieve in this competition because, according to the regulations, a single manufacturer cannot compete for first and second place, so that all three brands have a chance of winning for as long as possible. Timo Scheider and Adrien Tambay lost out in the finals by just less than three tenths of a second in their Audi. The best BMW pairing of Dirk Werner and Joey Hand finished fourth. Four positions and three different manufacturers, which shows how close and how hard-fought the racing in the stadium is, so it’s not really what you would call a ‘show’ event. Here, there is the cut and thrust of real competition, which is just as tough as at the Norisring and the Nürburgring.
“Congratulations to Ralf Schumacher and Jamie Green on their convincing win – it’s obvious, walls are all that’s needed and Ralf is terrifically fast and almost unbeatable – remember the Norisring 14 days ago, when he was in the lead, only to be slowed down by a very rare technical problem.
“Gary Paffett and Christian Vietoris made our dream come true for Mercedes and HWA by achieving results that are just perfect: All four HWA drivers achieved the best four places possible.
“This gives an added incentive for tomorrow, and I think we are in a good position for the individual competition, and yet we do not underestimate our rivals.
“Thanks to everyone who has worked so hard for this competition in Munich’s Olympic Park, to the ITR and DMSB, and to the operators of the Olympic Park, who work so hard and are really innovative in their thinking. This DTM competition fits well with a city that wants to be competitive.”
* Official photos and details courtesy of Mercedes-AMG GmbH *
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