2008 DTM Season : Hockenheim -- The Race


§ Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) finished the 2008 DTM season opener in fourth place and was the best C-Class driver.
§ Jamie Green (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class), winner of the previous DTM race here in Hockenheim in October 2007, ended up sixth ahead of Gary Paffett (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) and Bernd Schneider (Genuine Parts AMG Mercedes C-Class). Paffett was the best driver with a last year’s car. Thus, four Audis and four Mercedes-Benz C-Class cars finished in the points.
§ Debuting as HWA driver Paul di Resta (AMG Mercedes C-Class) posted the fastest lap of the race, about three tenths better than Jamie Green’s lap record from October 2007. Paul came home 13th after a clutch problem in his second pit stop. He was followed by Ralf Schumacher (Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class), who finished his first ever DTM race in 14th position. His fastest lap of 1m35.265 was 77 thousandths of a second slower than the fastest race lap in last year’s season opener.
§ The results of the other C-Class drivers: Mathias Lauda (Pixum AMG Mercedes C-Class) ended up 15th ahead of Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) and DTM rookie Maro Engel (JungeSterne AMG Mercedes C-Class).
§ A crowd of 93,000 attended the season opener during the weekend.
The start: Bruno Spengler had qualified third whilst Paul di Resta lined beside him also on the second row. They maintained their positions on the opening lap whilst Gary Paffett improved from 10th on the grid to seventh. Ralf Schumacher started his first ever DTM race from 15th on the grid.

Lap 2: Gary Paffett overtook Oliver Jarvis (Audi A4 DTM) and was sixth; Jamie Green followed in eighth place.
Lap 7: Bruno Spengler was 1.9sec behind leader Ekström; Paul di Resta‘s gap was 2.8sec.
Lap 12: Bruno Spengler, Gary Paffett and Ralf Schumacher made their respective first pit stops.
Lap 13: Paul di Resta, Jamie Green, Mathias Lauda and Maro Engel pitted for the first time.
Lap 14: Bernd Schneider and Susie Stoddart came in for fuel and tyres.
Lap 15: After the first round of pit stops, Paul di Resta was third ahead of Bruno Spengler. Jamie Green was seventh ahead of Gary Paffett and Bernd Schneider. Ralf Schumacher was 14th. Paul posted the fastest lap of the race with a 1m34.104.
Lap 17: Gary Paffett and Bernd Schneider came in for their second pit stops.
Lap 18: Bruno Spengler, Susie Stoddart and Maro Engel followed.
Lap 19: Paul di Resta, Jamie Green, Ralf Schumacher and Mathias Lauda came in for their respective second stops. When di Resta wanted to rejoin the race, the engine stalled due to a clutch problem and Paul lost about 30 seconds.
Lap 22: All drivers had completed their two compulsory pit stops. Bruno Spengler was now fourth; Jamie Green, Gary Paffett and Bernd Schneider were in sixth, seventh and eighth positions. Paul di Resta was13th ahead of Ralf Schumacher.
Finish (lap 37): Bruno Spengler was the best Mercedes-Benz driver and came home fourth. Jamie Green ended up sixth ahead of Gary Paffett and Bernd Schneider. Paul di Resta finished 13th ahead of Ralf Schumacher, Mathias Lauda, Susie Stoddart and Maro Engel.

Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class 2008), 4th: “I am disappointed, because I had aimed for a podium finish. I lacked grip and therefore it was difficult to catch up with the Audis. In these circumstances, fourth place is still ok. One year ago I didn’t have any points after the season opener, today I scored five. This was the first out of 11 races, so there are many opportunities to improve.”

Jamie Green (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class 2008), 6th: “A tough race. On the opening lap, I had a coming-together with Martin Tomczyk and afterwards I struggled with the rear of my car, which was difficult to control. In these conditions sixth place is the best possible result.”

Gary Paffett (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class 2007), 7th:
“I am quite happy, because I was able to match the pace of the 2008 cars quite well. Seventh place and two points are a good start to the season.”

Bernd Schneider (Genuine Parts AMG Mercedes C-Class 2008), 8th:
“I tried a bit too hard at the first two corners and lost one position. Our speed was not good enough today, to fight with the front runners, therefore a better result was not possible.”
Paul di Resta (AMG Mercedes C-Class 2008), 13th: “I am disappointed. In the beginning I had a very good race; I posted the fastest lap and a podium finish was possible. Unfortunately, the engine stalled after my second pit stop, because the clutch was not working properly. That was it.”

Ralf Schumacher (Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class 2007), 14th: “My start could have been better, but then I had a reasonable first DTM race. Our strategy was good and our team did a great job. I enjoyed my first DTM weekend a lot and I am quite happy with my premiere. Now we will see what will happen in Oschersleben next weekend. I look forward to it.”

Mathias Lauda (Pixum AMG Mercedes C-Class 2007), 15th:
“I started well and improved by several positions. However, during my first pit stop I lost some places. Towards the end I suffered from understeer and was not able to improve.”
Susie Stoddart (TV-Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class 2007), 16th: “In the Warm-Up short before the race I struggled with the power steering. Our team solved the problem, but they didn’t finish the repairs in time, so I had to start from the pitlane. 16th place is not what I had expected.”

Maro Engel (JungeSterne AMG Mercedes C-Class 2007), 17th: “My car suffered from understeer throughout the race, but I still enjoyed my first DTM race a lot – just the result was not ok.”

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “With Paul’s speed the race at the front might have become even more interesting towards the end. He posted the fastest race lap and being third prior to his second pit stop he closed the gap behind the leader by three tenths of a second. During his second pit stop, his car had a problem with the clutch, which did not work properly so that Paul stalled the engine when he started. In his DTM premiere, Ralf Schumacher showed a good race and his fastest lap with last year’s car today was less than a tenth slower than the one a year ago here in Hockenheim. Congratulations to Mattias Ekstrom and Abt-Audi on their first win and on three podium positions in the first race of the new season. Without podium positions this was like a little cold shower for us, but cold water keeps everybody in the team wide awake.”

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