DTM expects 100,000 enthusiasts | DTM
2005-08-04 15:36:39

DTM expects 100,000 enthusiasts

DTM expects 100,000 enthusiasts

The grandstands are expected to be packed, during the DTM weekend at the Nürburgring, taking place this weekend (5th to 7th August). Following the advance booking result that was even better than last year’s, the organisers expect more than 100,000 motor racing enthusiasts to travel to the Nürburgring for the DTM round. Because of the massive popularity of the 2005 season’s seventh round of Europe’s most popular touring car series, the 65th ‘Eifelrennen’ will be the first with the same traffic control system in action that is usually used only for Grand Prix weekends. After the race on Sunday, all the country roads around the Nürburgring will be transformed into one way roads to make the crowds’ departure as trouble-free as possible.

BILD 2 It’s not just by chance that the interest in DTM increased once again, compared to recent years. Never before, the battle between the drivers with their 500bhp racers entered by Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Opel was as close as it is this year. Following an extremely thrilling clash at Nuremberg’s Norisring, Gary Paffett (AMG-Mercedes C-Class) succeeded in regaining the championship lead. Yet, his lead over the runner-up, Mattias Ekström (Audi A4 DTM), adds up to just three points. Hence, this year’s Nürburgring round could represent the resumption of last year’s Nürburgring clash when Paffett and Ekström also battled it out for the lead. It was a close battle in both the qualifying session and the race, but at the end of the day, the Mercedes-Benz driver succeeded in just defeating his Audi opponent twice. Quite obviously, Ekström would like to get the upper hand, this year. Back in 2003, already, the reigning champion took the Nürburgring pole, thus proving that the Eifel circuit suits him well.

Thrilling start into the second half of the season

It’s obvious that the other drivers on the DTM grid won’t content themselves with watching the leaders but will try to make it to the top themselves. Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM), currently third in the championship, just has to make up ground if he wants to keep his championship hopes alive. So far, he scored 28 points and lies 16 points behind Paffett. By securing the poles for the Oschersleben and Norisring rounds he underlined his ambitions, yet, a poor start (Oschersleben) and a turbulent course of the race (Norisring) destroyed the hopes of the seven-time Le Mans winner. Just as the ones of the Opel squad: Marcel Fässler (Opel Vectra GTS V8) was on the way to win the Norisring round when he had to retire due to a accident that wasn’t caused through his own fault. The Swiss driver has set himself ambitious goals for the Nürburgring, particularly as he finished fourth in last year’s DTM round at the Eifel circuit, thus being the best of the Opel drivers.


Home race for Frentzen, Schneider, Stippler, Kaffer and Margaritis

Following Fässler’s retirement at the Norisring, Heinz-Harald Frentzen took over as Opel’s spearhead. And for his home race, the former Formula One driver announced: “It’s my goal to secure a podium finish.” A driver, who has a special relationship to the Nürburgring had to settle for tenth place, in Nuremberg: Bernd Schneider (AMG-Mercedes C-Class). For the native Saarlander, the Nürburgring round also represents his home race at it is organised by the ADAC Saarland. “The Nürburgring round is always one of the DTM season highlights,” says the 41-year old. “This is one of my home races, and a lot of motor racing enthusiasts from the Saarland region use to travel to the Eifel for this race. I’m truly looking forward to the DTM race and the fantastic atmosphere here at the Nürburgring, with the numerous Mercedes supporters sitting on the Mercedes Arena making for a particularly great atmosphere.” And there are two Audi drivers who also call the ‘Eifelrennen’ there home race: Frank Stippler resides in Bad Münstereifel, while his brand-mate Pierre Kaffer has moved to Switzerland but comes from Burgbrohl. Alexandros Margaritis (AMG-Mercedes C-Class) completes the bunch of local heroes.

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