Nürburgring analysis, part 2 | DTM
2005-08-11 18:27:03

Nürburgring analysis, part 2

Nürburgring analysis, part 2

Following the seventh round of the 2005 DTM season, held at the Nürburgring, the battle for the title is closer than ever, with the two chief characters, reigning DTM Champion Mattias Ekström and his closest rival, Gary Paffett, being split by just one point, following the thrilling race at the Eifel circuit. While Ekström secured his second win in the season, Paffett had to settle for third place. Following two fluffed races, Tom Kristensen redeemed himself and finished third to consolidate his third championship position. Rain, wind, sunshine - the changeable conditions at the Eifel turned the seventh round of the season into a true tyre gamble for teams and drivers. www.dtm.de has taken a close look at the performance of teams and drivers throughout the entire Nürburgring weekend:

Martin Tomczyk: Having finished fourth in the qualifying session, Tomczyk wasn’t happy with his seventh grid position secured in the Super Pole, as he had set himself the goal to repeat his qualifying performance. After the controversial start, he was sixth at the end of lap two although he couldn’t quite match the pace of the leaders. After his second pit stop, he made the same mistake as Paffett and crossed the white line at the pit-lane exit. Due to the Drive-Thru penalty for this mistake, he dropped back from sixth to eleventh position.
Grade: 4

Heinz-Harald Frentzen: The Mönchengladbacher was the second fastest Opel driver in the qualifying session, the Super Pole and the race. Like many others, Frentzen made an extremely poor start behind the Safety-Car. At the end of lap one, the gap to the driver in front of him was huge. Hence, he focused on defending his top-ten position. Following a braking mistake in lap 20, he was passed by Green for ninth place, and he lost more ground during the pit stops. At the end of the day, he finished twelfth.
Grade: 3

Marcel Fässler: The quickest in Saturday morning’s free practice session, but the joy didn’t last very long: only twelfth in the qualifying session. Although the Swiss contested the qualifying without any changes on his car, he was 0.347 seconds slower than in the morning and couldn’t hide his disappointment. In the race, he destroyed his chances of securing a top result before the race had really begun. During the first lap behind the Safety-Car, Fässler passed an opponent and had to come in for a Drive-Thru penalty. At the end of the day, he had to settle for 13th place.
Grade: 4

RFrank Stippler: Quite obviously, DTM rookie Stippler had hoped to experience a better home race. And indeed, the beginning of the weekend was promising, for the German. In the Friday test sessions, he took fourth and second places respectively. In the free practice session, ‘Stippi’ finished tenth, and in the warm-up, he came eighth. But once, just in the all important qualifying session, things didn’t run that well for him and he had to settle for 14th grid position. With a nervously handling car – the rear axle set-up wasn’t perfect – Stippler drove an unobtrusive race and finished 14th. After all, he was the second fastest of the 2004-spec car drivers.
Grade: 3

Bruno Spengler: The Franco-Canadian delivered in fine style throughout the weekend, yet, he couldn’t gain the well deserved reward. The DTM rookie made it to the top ten in all the practice session, thus underlining his competitiveness. On Friday, he secured sixths and tenths places respectively, and in the free practice session, on Saturday morning, he came third. In the qualifying session, however, he struggled: 15th on the grid. In the warm-up, Spengler even took second place. In the race, he had to fend off only few attacks and had no problems to defend his 15th position.
Grade: 3

Stefan Mücke: For the Berliner, the race day began in promising style. With his AMG-Mercedes C-Class, he was the quickest in the warm-up. In the qualifying session, however, he had to settle for 18th position on the grid. During the start behind the Safety-Car, he passed an opponent before having crossed the start-finish line, hence, he had to come in for a Drive-Thru penalty, on lap six. But already prior to coming in for his penalty, Mücke damaged his car in a collision with Reuter. In these conditions, a better result than 18th place wasn’t possible.
Grade: 4

Pierre Kaffer: His home race didn’t run as he had hoped it would. Just as his Joest team-mates, Abt, Stippler and Capello, he made a poor start, and due to the courageous but wrong decision to start the race on slicks, he had no chance of closing the gap. Yet, the times he set on the drying track proved to be competitive.
Grade: 4

Rinaldo Capello: “You know better with hindsight.” For the seventh time, Capello had to leave a DTM venue empty-handed. The Italian was 17th on the grid and realised soon after the start that it had been a mistake to opt for slicks. When the track was dry, his set-up worked fine and he was able to match the pace of the front runners. Yet, it was too late to secure a better result.
Grade: 4

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