Analysis: the performances of the DTM rookies
The crowds that came to watch the season opener of the 2005 DTM season, held at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, witnessed a turbulent start, a thrilling race and several truly surprising results. Therefore, it seems appropriate to check out the performances of the DTM rookies.
Jamie Green was third on the grid and lost just one position on his way to turn one. Afterwards, he succeeded in defending his fourth position for a long time – thus proving that his great qualifying result had been anything but an incident. Yet, with seven laps to go, the young Briton got under pressure. After a thrilling battle with reigning DTM Champion Mattias Ekström – with both involved drivers passing one another several times – Green went off in the ‘Sachskurve’ and skidded across the gravel. “It was a race with many incidents,” said Green, “and I’ve learned a lot for the forthcoming rounds. His result: sixth place.
Mika Häkkinen cleverly avoided the first-corner turmoil and even benefited from the pile-up. From his 15th grid position, the Finn was already eleventh, at the end of lap one. He dropped back due to a drive-thru penalty for speeding in the pit-lane during his first pit stop (lap eleven) but consistently worked his way back up to score his maiden DTM point. Result: eighth place.
Frank Stippler – 13th on the grid – was one of the drivers who lost out during the first-corner turmoil. Afterwards, he was hampered by understeer in right-handers and delivered an inconspicuous race, behind the wheel of his Audi A4 DTM. His conclusion: “I have made nearly no mistakes, therefore, I’m rather pleased when it comes to my driving performance.” Result: tenth place.
Allan McNish explained to have experienced “An entertaining race.” The experienced racer succeeded in avoiding the first-corner pile-up, thus working his way up from 14th to ninth position. In the race, the Scotsman delivered in style, but in the closing stages, he lost some positions. “My last set of tyres delivered nearly no grip at all,” said McNish, “therefore, I couldn’t brake as late into the corners as I had done before.” Result: eleventh place.
Bruno Spengler experienced a setback right at the start: a drive-thru penalty for a jump start. A start that had turned out to be that good that the young guns was already seventh at the end of lap one. In lap 20, he collided with Opel’s Marcel Fässler who spun following this collision with the Franco-Canadian. Result: 12th place.
Pierre Kaffer was 18th on the grid, but after the chaos in turn one he continued in 14th position. In laps ten and twenty respectively, the German, who resides in Switzerland, completed two problem-free pit stops. In lap 28 he was involved in a battle with Stefan Mücke and the two cars made contact, resulting in a damaged suspension (front left) of Kaffer’s Audi A4 DTM. “The battles in DTM are really tough, sometimes even a touch too tough,” said Kaffer after the race. Result: 13th place.
Alexandros Margaritis’ DTM debut was rather short. In lap seven, Heinz-Harald Frentzen hit the Greek’s AMG-Mercedes C-Class from behind, but in spite of his massively damaged rear, the driver of independent team Mücke Motorsport continued for several laps before returning to the pits to retire. “The car was massively damaged, it just didn’t make sense to continue,” explained Margaritis. Result: 15th place.