DTM Nürburgring: 1-2-3-4 Success for the AMG Mercedes C-Class
Bernd Schneider (Genuine Parts AMG Mercedes C-Class) won the seventh round of the 2008 DTM at the Nürburgring. After 43 laps in changeable weather conditions, Schneider – starting sixth - crossed the finish line 5.7sec ahead of Paul Di Resta (AMG Mercedes C-Class) who had qualified 12th. Jamie Green (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class) in third and Gary Paffett with last year's stern AMG Mercedes C-Class completed the quadruple success for the AMG Mercedes C-Class.
After the opening lap and a tyre change during the formation lap, Mathias Ekström was 4.6sec and Timo Scheider 5.8sec behind Bernd Schneider. At the chequered flag, Schneider's advantage ahead of Ekström was 21sec and ahead of Scheider 19.5sec. Clearly, Bernd showed the better performance.
One week after his 44th anniversary, Bernd Schneider celebrated his 43th victory in DTM and ITC. After seven out of 11 races of the season, Mercedes-Benz leads with 4:3 on race wins. Jamie Green is second overall with 40 points, four points behind leader Timo Scheider (Audi). Paul Di Resta (AMG Mercedes C-Class) is fourth overall with 37 points, followed by Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) who was seventh today on 28 points.
In the teams' ranking, Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG (Paul Di Resta/Bruno Spengler) lead with 65 points. Ralf Schumacher (Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class) came home eighth and scored his first DTM point. Mathias Lauda (Pixum AMG Mercedes C-Class) ended up 10th and Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) finished 12th despite a spin. Maro Engel (JungeSterne AMG Mercedes C-Class) retired after being hit by Katherine Legge (Audi).
A total of 85,000 spectators attended the seventh round of the 2008 DTM at the Nürburgring during the weekend.
The start: The qualifying had been red-flagged in the second part due to heavy rain and aquaplaning and was not re-started. According to the stewards' decision, the ranking of part one formed the grid. Therefore, Gary Paffett started fourth; Bernd Schneider was sixth on the gird followed by Ralf Schumacher and Maro Engel. After the start, Gary Paffett overtook Audi drivers Mike Rockenfeller and Tom Kristensen at the Mercedes-Arena and was first after the opening lap, followd by six C-Class drivers: Paul Di Resta –started 12th on the grid - , Bernd Schneider, Ralf Schumacher, Jamie Green, Bruno Spengler –started 16th – and Susie Stoddart.
Lap 5: Bruno Spengler overtook Ralf Schumacher at the chicane and improved to fifth. Lap 8: Paul Di Resta overtook Gary Paffett for the lead. Lap 10: Also Bernd Schneider passed Gary Paffett and was now second. Respective first pit stops of Bruno Spengler and Susie Stoddart. Lap 11: Bernd Schneider pitted, followed by Gary Paffett and Jamie Green one lap later. Lap 13: First pit stop of Ralf Schumacher, followed by Mathias Lauda one lap later. Lap 19: Second stop of Bruno Spengler. Lap 21: Paul Di Resta came in for his first stop and Bernd Schneider took the lead. Also Maro Engel pitted for the first time; Mathias Lauda came in for his second stop. Lap 22: Respective second pit stops of Gary Paffett and Susie Stoddart; Ralf Schumacher followed one lap later. Lap 24: Leader Bernd Schneider came in for the second time; Jamie Green on lap 25. Lap 26: Maro Engel was hit by Katherine Legge (Audi) before the final corner, spun into the gravel and retired. Lap 27: Second pitstop of Paul Di Resta. Lap 28: After the second round of mandatory pit stops, Bernd Schneider was in the lead ahead of Paul Di Resta, Jamie Green, Gary Paffett, Mattias Ekström, Timo Scheider, Bruno Spengler and Ralf Schumacher. Lap 32: Rain began to fall. Lap 35: Gary Paffett fought against Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider for fourth place. Lap 36: Susie Stoddart spun. Lap 37: Paul Di Resta and Ralf Schumacher pitted for wet tyres. Lap 38: Bernd Schneider led Jamie Green with almost 10sec; Gary Paffett was third ahead of Mattias Ekström. Lap 40: Paul Di Resta overtook Mattias Ekström and Gary Paffett and improved to third place. Two laps later, the Scotsman passed Jamie Green and was second. Finish (lap 43): Bernd Schneider took the chequered flag for his 43rd DTM win ahead of Paul Di Resta, Jamie Green and Gary Paffett. Bruno Spengler came home seventh ahead of Ralf Schumacher who scored his first DTM point.
Bernd Schneider (2008 Genuine Parts AMG Mercedes C-Class), winner: "I am really happy. One week after my anniversary this is my best birthday present. I thank my team for their great efforts and for the right tyre choice. This was the key to success. I had a perfect car and a perfect team throughout the weekend – and the driver wasn't bad, too."
Paul Di Resta (2008 AMG Mercedes C-Class), second: "We made the right tyre choice in difficult conditions and I improved from 12th on the grid to second place on the opening lap. It was tricky to keep the car on the track in the rain and in the end we decided to change to wet tyres because we didn't want to take chances with respect to the championship. Second place and eight points are a very good result after yesterday's qualifying."
Jamie Green (2008 Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class), third: "It rained almost throughout the entire race and it was tricky to push the car to the limit. In the end it was difficult not to go off and I am happy that I didn't make a mistake."
Gary Paffett (2007 stern AMG Mercedes C-Class), fourth: "A tough race in very difficult conditions. It is really great that I finished fourth under these circumstances. In the beginning I was able to lead, but the 2008 C-Class cars were faster and I wasn't able to go their speed. The fight with Ekström and Scheider was fun, and I am glad that I could stay in front of them."
Bruno Spengler (2008 Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class), seventh: "Maybe it would have been better to change to wet tyres towards the end of the race; however, it was a difficult decision, and I don't complain. To improve from 16th on the grid to seventh is still a good result."
Ralf Schumacher (2007 Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class), eighth: "A great result. I am really happy that I scored my first DTM point and this in such difficult conditions. It was an exciting race and everything was possible today. I thank my team – everybody did a great job."
Mathias Lauda (2007 Pixum AMG Mercedes C-Class), 10th: "I started well; however, at the first corner I was hit from behind and lost a couple of places. The car was great and with less rain in the end points would have been possible even with slick tyres."
Susie Stoddart (2007 TV-Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class), 12th: "I made a good start, however we opted for a wet set-up so when the track was completely dry we struggled. Overall I'm happy and I thank my team for a great job under difficult circumstances."
Maro Engel (2007 JungeSterne AMG Mercedes C-Class), retired: "I got stuck behind Katherine Legge for awhile and when I wanted to pass her, she pulled over to the right and pushed me towards the pit lane entry. Our cars touched, I spun and got stuck in the gravel."
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "A great race – good for the sport and the DTM. Thanks to the teams HWA, Mücke and Persson for the right tyre choice, a great strategy and good pit stops. Today we ended up in the points with six C-Class cars. Bernd was perfect, one week after his 44th anniversary and after 43 laps he achieved his 43rd DTM victory. Gary posted outstanding lap times with the 2007 C-Class, and also our "DTM apprentice" Ralf showed an awesome race, which was rewarded with his first DTM point. Today, the tyre choice was certainly key, but in the end the drivers are the ones to battle it out on the track. We now won four out of seven races and the championship remains open with four races to go. Prior to the next round in Brands Hatch on 31st August, we want to and have to further improve – however, tonight we will celebrate this special quadruple win."