Ralf Schumacher, driver of the Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class, placed second in the third round of the 2011 DTM season in Spielberg. Placing second made Schumacher the best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver at the the race. After placing third place at the season opener in Hockenheim, it was Schumacher’s second podium finish in the DTM.
Six AMG Mercedes C-Class drivers finished in the Top 10: Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG Class) moved up from twelfth on the grid to take fourth place. Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class) climbed from ninth to sixth. Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Class), David Coulthard (Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class) and Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) took places eight to ten. This was the best result of his career so far for DTM rookie van der Zande. Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class), Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class) and Christian Vietoris (Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class) crossed the line in positions 13 to 15.
After three rounds out of ten, Bruno Spengler leads the drivers’ standings with 23 points, and THOMAS SABO / Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG tops the team rankings. This means Mercedes-Benz has led both the drivers’ and teams’ standings since the 2010 DTM season opener at Hockenheim.
Spengler also set the fastest lap of the race in 1:26.298, for the twelfth time in his career. A Mercedes-Benz driver has scored fastest lap in every one of the four races in Spielberg, while Mercedes-Benz drivers won three of the four races.
Across the race weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), 48,000 spectators in total visited Spielberg to watch the DTM. Sunday’s race was sold out.
The start: Ralf Schumacher defends his third place at the first corner. Jamie Green moves up from P9 to P6. Behind him, Gary Paffett, Bruno Spengler, Maro Engel and Renger van der Zande complete the first lap in positions seven to ten. Spengler has climbed four places – from twelfth to eighth.
Lap 5: Six C-Class drivers in the top 10: Schumacher in third place, Green, Paffett, Spengler, Engel and van der Zande in positions six to ten.
Lap 7 : Spengler overtakes Paffett for seventh place.
Lap 8: Engel completes a drive-through penalty for a collision with Edoardo Mortara (Audi) at the first corner.
Lap 10: The pit stop window is open, and Green, Vietoris, Stoddart are the first Mercedes-Benz drivers to come in for fresh tyres and fuel.
Lap 11: Van der Zande overtakes Paffett and moves into P6.
Lap 12: Van der Zande and David Coulthard complete their first mandatory pit stops.
Lap 14: Schumacher pits from the lead for his first stop and emerges ahead of Oliver Jarvis (Audi).
Lap 15: First mandatory pit stop for Engel.
Lap 18: Schumacher posts the fastest lap of the race so far.
Lap 21: Second pit stop for Coulthard.
Lap 22: Spengler is the last driver to complete his first mandatory stop and is in P4. Green comes in for his second stop.
Lap 23: Schumacher is the second driver to come in for his second stop.
Lap 27: Paffett makes his second stop.
Lap 28: Spengler pits from the lead to make his final stop and re-emerges in P4. Within 28 laps, he has moved up from P12 on the grid to P4.
Lap 30: Six C-Class drivers are in the top 10: Schumacher in second place, Spengler in fourth position, Green sixth and Paffett, Coulthard and van der Zande in positions eight to ten.
Final lap: After 38 laps and a total distance of 164.388 km, Ralf Schumacher finishes second, and is the best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver the third round of the 2011 DTM season in Spielberg. Bruno Spengler battles his way up eight places to finish fourth. Jamie Green and Gary Paffett secure P6 and P8 respectively.
Comments after the race:
Ralf Schumacher (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class) – Second:
“Second place and my second podium are a good result for me. I tried everything to get past Martin Tomczyk, but I couldn’t do it in the end. I was fast all weekend here in Spielberg and hope I can continue this form in the coming races.”
Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) – Fourth:
“This was a great race. After starting from twelfth, I am very satisfied with fourth place. The set-up on my C-Class perfect and the car was really quick. I was able to do consistently quick lap times – that was the key to the race. Thanks to my team for a great strategy and a great job!”
Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class) – Sixth:
“From my starting position, this wasn’t an easy race. I was stuck behind Mike Rockenfeller for a long time. I was faster in the corners and he was quicker down the straight, but I didn’t want to risk any dangerous manoeuvres. I was really happy with the speed and balance of the car.”
Gary Paffett (AMG Mercedes C THOMAS SABO-Class) – Eighth:
“I lost a lot of time at the start and then got stuck in traffic. When I was able to get into clear air, it was much better, but I couldn’t do better than eighth place. I am a bit disappointed, but that’s motor racing – DTM is always close and very hard-fought.”
David Coulthard (Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class) – Ninth:
“I’m pleased with ninth place in Spielberg – it’s just too bad that it wasn’t enough for me to score a point today. I nearly did it but after pitting, I hit traffic and was unable to gain any more positions.”
Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) – Tenth:
“The weekend was good for my confidence and I was just a whisker behind David at the finish, which is a positive result for me. The test day before the weekend really helped. I’m getting on better with the car and it would be great to secure my first championship points soon.”
Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 13th:
“Starting from 15th didn’t make for an easy race, but I had a great battle with Maro – I enjoyed that a lot! Unfortunately, we just weren’t quick enough this weekend. Now I’m focusing on the next race at the Lausitzring.”
Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 14th:
“My drive-through penalty cost me a good result. There was a car to my left on the run to the first corner, so I went right. I was up against the wall already and couldn’t go any wider. The car ran well, but my race was over after the penalty.”
Christian Vietoris (Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 15th:
“There was a communication problem at the beginning of the race, that’s why we made three pit stops. So that spoilt my afternoon early on. Naturally I’m disappointed, but at least my speed was good.”
Norbert Haug, Vice-President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“Ralf Schumacher’s car had the speed to win today and after his third place at Hockenheim, he was able to secure second place here; he was just 0.4 seconds behind winner Martin Tomczyk for Audi, to whom I offer my warmest congratulations.
For me, Bruno was today’s man of the race and drove from 12th place to fourth, only just missing out on the podium. Our performance here in Spielberg was very strong – our C-Class drivers set the five fastest race laps, with Bruno Spengler doing a very impressive lap of 1:26.298 and David Coulthard close behind him.
Bruno leads the championship after three races, and Ralf is third. We are first and second in the team rankings, and our pace was good enough to win in all three races: it’s a solid foundation for the rest of the season.”