Spa-Francorchamps – the analysis, part 2
Last weekend, DTM made its Spa-Francorchamps debut. For the first time in the history of the rich in tradition Belgian GP circuit, DTM car chased in anger through its world famous bends and corners such as ‘Eau Rouge’ or ‘Bus Stop Chicane’. And the race at the 6.976-kilometre Ardennes rollercoaster turned out to also be a premier for Mika Häkkinen. DTM’s newest idol of the public grabbed the pole on Saturday and secured his maiden DTM win on Sunday – a perfect weekend for the ‘Flying Finn’. While reigning DTM Champion Mattias Ekström (Sweden) and Denmark’s Tom Kristensen finished second and third respectively, thus making it an all Scandinavian podium. dtm.de has taken a close look at the performances of teams and drivers.
L Frank Stippler: in the second round of the season, held at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, the rookie succeeded in scoring his maiden DTM points – in a 2004 spec car! At Spa-Francorchamps, ‘Stippi’ finished eleventh. But he had been 20th on the grid and gained nine positions. A solid performance.
Stefan Mücke: wasn’t quite as fast at Spa as he had been in the first two rounds of the season. Just missed the Super Pole by setting the eleventh fastest time in the qualifying session. In the race, the Berliner was hampered by a failed pit stop and had to settle for twelfth place.
Rinaldo Capello: the Italian qualified for only 18th position on the grid. After two slight collisions on lap one, he had to struggle with a massively understeering car. On the straights, ‘Dindo’ was slower than in the practice sessions, yet, he worked his way up to 13th.
Pierre Kaffer: while his team-mate, Frank Stippler, gained nine positions, during the course of the race, Kaffer dropped back by nine places. He had been fifth on the grid but was only 14th when crossing the line. Yet, it has to be admitted that he suffered some bad luck in lap two when being turned around by Gary Paffett in the ‘Bus Stop Chicane’. Without this incident, a better result might have been possible.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen: the driver from Mönchengladbach is under huge pressure, particularly with Mika Häkkinen being that successful at the beginning of his DTM career. In the qualifying session, he finished a disappointing 16th, in the race, he gained just one position to come 15th. Poor!
Manuel Reuter: the German who resides in Austria was 17th on the grid and finished 16th. After Reuter had succeeded in fighting his way out of a bunch of cars, things ran quite well for him. But during his second pit stop, the tank can got twisted and some five kilos of fuel didn’t run into his tank. With one more lap to go, Reuter broke down without fuel. A poor team effort.
R Bernd Schneider: DTM’s record champion, didn’t suffer more than a shock. After having made contact with Laurent Aiello while battling for seventh place, he went off in Eau rouge and crashed heavily into the tyre walls. Yet, he was able to get out of his massively damaged AMG-Mercedes C-Class virtually unharmed. After the race, he proved to be a fair sportsman. “Just a misunderstanding…”
Allan McNish: disappointing qualifying, disappointing race. Having qualified 13th, the Scotsman had worked his way up to sixth place when his Audi A4 DTM suffered a puncture, thus forcing McNish into early retirement. From his promising sixth positions, a point-finish would have been possible.
Jamie Green: because of a failed start – Green stalled the engine – the young gun dropped back to the last position, on lap one. And in 21 he retired due to a puncture.
Bruno Spengler: a weekend to forget for the Franco-Canadian. 19th on the grid. After his first pit stop, on lap eleven, he accelerated when his car was still connected with the air tube for the pneumatic car jacks. And two laps later, he had to retire when his car lost its bonnet.