The Nürburgring as seen by Rinaldo Capello
The DTM event at the Nürburgring promises to turn into a veritable popular festival: 100,000 fans are expected in the "Eifel” this weekend as the season’s seventh round will definitely mark the beginning of the hot phase in the fight for the title. Championship defender Mattias Ekström is merely three points behind his strongest rival, Gary Paffett. The Nürburgring is a good venue for Audi: three of the last five races ended victoriously for the "four rings”. Rinaldo Capello also has very good memories of the Nürburgring. The 41-year-old Audi works driver comments on the 3.629-kilometre circuit.
How would you describe the Nürburgring?
Rinaldo Capello: "I like the Nürburgring very much. This is where in the 2000 season I clinched my first pole position in the Audi R8 sportscar. The ‘ring’ offers a combination of semi-fast corners, slow and quick sectors. It has quite a few interesting places, particularly the exit from the arena is tricky.”
What are the crucial places for you at the Nürburgring?
Rinaldo Capello: "The gaps in the DTM are so small that even one or two tenths of a second can amount to several positions. And these minimal gaps may result from a minute mistake you make in what appears to be a ‘harmless’ corner. So I’d say that the whole Nürburgring is a ‘crucial place’, really."
Where do you see the best opportunities for overtaking?
Rinaldo Capello: "There are two good positions. One of them is at the end of the start-finish straight where there is a sharp right-hand bend. And then, certainly, as you brake into the NGK chicane on the opposite straight. However, at both of these places you need to be very close to the guy in front to have a realistic chance."
The first corner after the start is a sharp right-hand bend. Is this a dangerous turn?
Rinaldo Capello: "Such a tricky corner right after the start is, no doubt, very thrilling. But, fortunately, the track is very wide there, which means that several cars can drive through side by side without getting into each other’s way or losing too many positions. Still, you have to be very careful to avoid someone else bumping into you when 20 cars are braking to enter this turn."
The weather forecast has promised typical "Eifel” weather. What conditions are you hoping for?
Rinaldo Capello: "For the many spectators, I’d be happy to see dry and sunny conditions prevailing. But in any event, I hope that the weather will be stable – in other words, either completely wet or completely dry. This would assure a thrilling race for the spectators without the weather god directing the race too much.”