by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

DTM Norisring 2012: Preview

• Starting in the 2003 season, Mercedes-Benz now has an uninterrupted sequence of nine DTM wins in Nuremberg, including three trebles (pole, victory, fastest race lap)
• In the ‘New DTM’ (i.e. since 2000), Mercedes-Benz drivers have won eleven out of 13 races at the Norisring (a win rate of 84.62%), making this the most successful track of the new DTM era for Mercedes-Benz
• Going into the fifth race of the 2012 season, Mercedes-Benz leads all three DTM championships – drivers’, team and constructors’
• At 2.3 kilometres in length, the Norisring is the second-shortest track on the 2012 DTM racing calendar (after Brands Hatch); the drivers complete 83 laps on this demanding street circuit, a total distance of 190.9 kilometres

Drivers’ comments on the fifth race of the season in Nuremberg:

Gary Paffett (31, England, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):

- has finished all four races so far this season on the podium
- won the Nuremberg race in 2004 and 2005

“The Norisring is a highly challenging street circuit, which makes it quite different from all the tracks we have competed on so far this season. There are no run-off areas – you’re driving between barriers the whole of the time. The track layout consists of long straights and four corners, which takes a lot out of the brakes. I like the track – it’s a bit of a one-off on the racing calendar. My favourite corner is the chicane. In theory, it’s a very slow turn, but we still take it at a sufficient speed so that the fun element isn’t lost.”

Jamie Green (29, England, Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):

- won three successive races (2008, 2009 and 2010) in one and the same AMG Mercedes C-Class at the Norisring
- came second in 2011 in a Mercedes-Benz one-two finish at Nuremberg, also setting the fastest race lap

“It’s hard to identify the reasons for my success in recent years at the Norisring and why I’ve had three wins there. The circuit is a real challenge and is exceptional by virtue of its layout. It’s a low-downforce track with long straights and hard braking zones. Also, the surface is very bumpy. To post a fast time, you have to hug the barriers as close as you dare. At the same time, you need to be ultra-accurate, otherwise you end up in the wall. On past occasions, this has seemed to suit my driving style.”

Christian Vietoris (23, Germany, Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé):

- is contesting his second DTM race at the Norisring
- won a Formula 3 Euro Series race in Nuremberg in both the 2008 and 2009 seasons

“The race weekend at the Norisring is one of the season highlights. At this time of year, we are usually blessed with perfect summer weather, and the atmosphere in the grandstands as well as in the Dutzendteich paddock is fantastic. There is always a lot going on here. Street circuits arouse a lot of special emotions. I’ve also been a winner on two occasions here in the Formula 3 Euro Series. One special factor this year is that the DTM race is on the same day as the final of the European Football Championship in Poland and Ukraine. First the DTM, then the EURO 2012 decider – the fans are in for a real treat on Sunday.”

Ralf Schumacher (36, Germany, Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):

- secured his first DTM pole position and his first fastest race lap at the Norisring in 2010
- celebrates his 37th birthday (30th June) on Saturday during the Norisring weekend

“The Norisring is one of my favourite tracks. For one thing, it’s just like the Monaco Grand Prix in Formula 1, with the track hemmed in by safety barriers. Secondly, the atmosphere generated by a street circuit setting is quite unique. I’m looking forward to the fifth race of the season, mainly because I have good memories of the year 2010 when I got my first ever pole position in the DTM at the Norisring. I’m aiming for an equally good qualifying result this year to lay down a solid foundation for the race. However, that’s going to be far from easy, as the field is so evenly matched this season, but of course, I’ll be doing my very best. “

David Coulthard (41, Scotland, DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):

- finished in the points at Nuremberg last year (P8)
- won the F1 Monaco Grand Prix - also on a street circuit - in 2000 and 2002

“The Norisring is quite straightforward to describe. The circuit consists of four corners which are connected by long straights. At first glance, it sounds like a simple layout, but that is absolutely not the case. The track is very demanding, both from a driver perspective and in terms of the engineering. Over the course of the 80-plus laps, the brakes come in for some heavy use. The Norisring is a real driver’s circuit and, for good reason, it is known as “the Monaco of the DTM”. The barriers are very close to the track. You can’t afford to make a single error or you’ll crash into them and be out of the race.”

Norbert Haug, Vice-President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“The Norisring is a classic DTM event and a new attendance record will be set this year as the fans turn out in numbers for this much-celebrated race at Nuremberg’s street circuit; spectator figures at the previous four DTM races have increased by 52 percent compared to last year – ​​from 190,000 in 2011 to 289,500 spectators in 2012.

Of 13 races contested so far in the new DTM at the Norisring, Mercedes-Benz has won eleven, equating to a win rate of nearly 85%, including the last nine consecutively. Jamie Green won three times in a row – 2008, 2009 and 2010 – at the wheel of the same C-Class, a unique DTM record that will probably never be beaten. Championship leader Gary Paffett has scored two victories at the Norisring. The Nuremberg circuit may be short – four corners, one long and two short straights – but it is nonetheless challenging. Qualifying this year will be closer than ever and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a dozen cars covered by just two tenths of a second.

But no matter how tough the competition, it’s particularly important that there is always respect and fairness between the drivers around this short, narrow, demanding circuit. Unfortunately, boundaries were crossed at the last race in Spielberg and we don’t want to see a repeat at the Norisring. Tough racing on the limit? Yes please. But crash as crash can? No thanks!”

* Official photo and details courtesy of Mercedes-AMG GmbH *

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