by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

DTM 2012 Finale at Hockenheim: Preview

• Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) comes as championship leader with a three-point advantage to the DTM finale at Hockenheim, Jamie Green (Mercedes-Benz AMG C-Coupé) is in third place on 109 points and is also still in with a chance of taking the title himself

• In the opening race of the 2012 DTM season at the Hockenheimring, Paffett and Green secured a one-two victory in the new DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé’s very first race

• The DTM finale around the 4.574km Hockenheimring consists of 42 laps (two more than in the season opener) and is over a total race distance of 192.108km. The pit stop window is open between lap eleven and lap 32

• The section of track from the Parabolica to the hairpin is taken at 270km/h, making it the fastest on the DTM calendar with a full-throttle percentage of 64%. Seven turns are taken at more than 100km/h, and only four at less than 100km/h

Comments on the final race of the season at Hockenheim from:

Gary Paffett (31, England, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):
- has led the championship standings without a break since his first win in Hockenheim
- has achieved four wins (2004, 2009, 2010, 2012) and seven podium finishes in Hockenheim

“In the past, Hockenheim has always been a good stomping ground for me – at no other track have I won more DTM races and finished so frequently on the podium as at the Hockenheimring. At the season opener in Hockenheim five and a half months ago, Jamie and I secured a one-two win. I would like to be in contention for another win in the finale at Hockenheim and hopefully secure the championship. We looked carefully at the race weekend in Valencia, and yes, whilst we had a tough race there, I’m full of confidence as the season finale approaches. I don’t think we will be all conquering as at the season opener, but our DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé should be extremely competitive. I feel no particular pressure as championship leader. I’m well acquainted with this situation from earlier years, from 2005, for example, my championship season. Every race is equally important to me, no matter whether it’s the first or the last of the year.”

Jamie Green (30, England, Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):
- won in 2007 and 2011 at Hockenheim and has finished on the podium seven times at this track,
- finished the first race of 2012 in second position behind winner Gary Paffett and posted the fastest race lap, his sixth at this circuit

“I still have a chance of winning the championship in our home race at the season finale in Hockenheim. It’s possible to make up an 18-point deficit with the new system of scoring, but of course, I will have to wait and see what results Gary and Bruno Spengler achieve this weekend before I dare look at the standings. Nothing has changed as regards my approach. I will do my best in order to qualify as far up the field as possible and win the finale as in the previous year. We will then have to see what impact that has on the championship. The Hockenheimring should suit our DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé better than Valencia, where we last raced. Gary and I demonstrated precisely that at this year’s season opener in Hockenheim with the 100th one-two victory for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM.”

Christian Vietoris (23, Germany, Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé):
- was placed fourth in the 2012 season opener
- was one of the top ten in the line-up in his 2011 DTM debut at Hockenheim

“I really enjoy racing at Hockenheim and know the track well from competing in various junior racing series and have already gained further experience at this circuit in three DTM races. The Hockenheimring demands that you make the right compromise between downforce through the turns and high top speed on the straights, which presents us with a tricky challenge where setup is concerned. Fourth place in the season opener has been my best result so far in the DTM, and I would love to build on that finish in the final and go into the winter break with a decent result under my belt.”

Ralf Schumacher (37, Germany, Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):
- started from third place in the opening race of 2011 at Hockenheim
- secured his first DTM podium in the 2011 season opener at Hockenheim

“The season finale at Hockenheim is always a fantastic race weekend, where the fans in the Motodrom and in the Mercedes grandstand make for an impressive backdrop, cheering us on loudly. The fast passages in the middle sector and the rather slow section at the end of the lap make the track technically very challenging, so it’s important to have the right compromise for setup to meet the different demands. Personally, I associate Hockenheim with fond memories of my first podium in the DTM last year and, of course, my Formula 1 grand prix victory in 2001. I want to round off the season with a great performance this weekend and a decent result.”

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“The DTM at Hockenheim is a classic, no matter whether it's the opening race of the season or the grand finale. We are expecting a pretty full house for the weekend, just as we were delighted to welcome to the opening race of the 2012 season.

“The main focus will be the title decider with three potential winners: Gary Paffett, who has led the standings since the opening race in the THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé; Bruno Spengler, who is three points behind Paffett heading into the final race; and Jamie Green, who has an 18 point deficit in his Mercedes AMG C-Coupé.

“So far, Gary has won four times at Hockenheim, including the 2012 season opener. Jamie Green took victory in last season's Hockenheim finale and Mercedes has won its last six consecutive home races in Hockenheim. Jamie Green took two of those wins for Mercedes, and two more went to Bruno Spengler, who moved to BMW for 2012 and, like Gary and Jamie, will be aiming to seize his title opportunity.

“So far, Hockenheim has been a happy hunting ground for us: since 2000 in the 'new' DTM, Mercedes has won 20 of the 27 races. We are all working hard, with complete focus, on continuing this form at the 2012 DTM season finale.”

Facts about the season finale

- Mercedes-Benz has won the last six home races (opener and finale) in succession – Mercedes-Benz drivers have won a total of 32 out of 65 races in Hockenheim

- For the eleventh time in the history of the DTM, the title decider will be resolved at Hockenheim – in nine of those seasons, a Mercedes-Benz drivers has been represented in the title fight to the very end

- In the 1992 season, there was a title duel between Mercedes-Benz and BMW Team Schnitzer in Hockenheim: Klaus Ludwig took the title from fellow Mercedes-Benz drivers Kurt Thiim and Bernd Schneider, Johnny Cecotto (BMW) was fourth

- Record-breaking DTM champion Bernd Schneider is the most successful DTM driver at Hockenheim with 13 victories

- At Hockenheim, championship leader Gary Paffett is the most successful of the drivers currently competing in the DTM with four wins (2004, 2009, 2010, 2012); apart from Gary, Jamie Green (2007, 2011), BMW driver Bruno Spengler (2006, 2011 – both with Mercedes-Benz) and Mattias Ekström (2007, 2008 with Audi) and Timo Scheider (2008 with Audi) have also achieved victories at this track

- Gary Paffett has posted the most wins of any current DTM driver, 19 victories in 91 DTM races (win percentage: 21%)

- Jamie Green won the 2011 DTM season finale at Hockenheim – the last race for the AMG Mercedes C-Class, the most successful vehicle in DTM history with 85 victories in 159 races

- The AMG Mercedes C-Class has also secured the greatest number of victories of any DTM car at Hockenheim – 18 wins from 28 races – Mercedes-Benz has achieved 32 victories at this track, more than half (56%) of them with the C-Class

- Since 2003, Gary Paffett has competed in 16 races to date at Hockenheim during his DTM career, covering 2,357.390 race kilometres

- Since 2005, Jamie Green has competed in 15 races so far at Hockenheim during his DTM career, covering 2,384.834km

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

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