Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) crossed the finish line in the second race of the DTM season at Zandvoort as best-performing Mercedes-Benz driver in second place and 1.4 seconds behind winner Mike Rockenfeller (Audi). This was the second podium of the 2011 season for Spengler after his victory in the opening race and the 24th of his DTM career.
Joining Spengler in the points today were Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class) and Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class) who finished fourth and seventh respectively. Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Class) came ninth, while Ralf Schumacher (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class), Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) and Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) took positions eleven to thirteen. Christian Vietoris (Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class) completed his second DTM race in P15 while David Coulthard (Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class) came 16th. Across the race weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), a total of 29,000 spectators visited Zandvoort to watch the DTM season opener.
The start: Bruno Spengler starts from pole position for the ninth time in his DTM career and successfully defends his lead. At the end of the first lap, Jamie Green, Gary Paffett and Ralf Schumacher are running third, sixth and seventh respectively.
Lap 5: Spengler has a lead of 0.7 seconds over Mike Rockenfeller (Audi). Renger van der Zande and Maro Engel, who started from eleventh and 13th on the grid, have moved up the field to ninth and tenth.
Lap 10: Spengler now leads Rockenfeller by 1.3 seconds and Green by 2.1 seconds.
Lap 11: The pit stop window opens (Lap 11 to Lap 31). David Coulthard and Susie Stoddart are the first Mercedes-Benz drivers to pit. Stoddart overtakes Coulthard as a result of the stop.
Lap 13 : Spengler makes his first pit stop as race leader, re-emerging in second place. Meanwhile Green turns into the pit lane.
Lap 14: Paffett and Schumacher enter the pit lane together. In a tight race between crews, Paffett manages to retain the lead over his team-mate.
Lap 18: Mattias Ekström (Audi) is the only driver not yet to have taken his compulsory pit stop and now leads the race. He is pursued by Rockenfeller, Spengler and Green in positions two to four.
Lap 20: Paffett and Stoddart pit for the second time.
Lap 21: Second pit stop for Schumacher and Vietoris. When Schumacher comes back onto the track, he is still behind Paffett.
Lap 22: Spengler and Green enter and leave the pit lane together, retaining their second and third positions.
Lap 23: Coulthard given drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
Lap 26: It starts to drizzle. Second pit stop for Engel who emerges in eighth position ahead of Paffett and Schumacher.
Lap 30: After completing the second of his two compulsory pit stops, Rockenfeller holds a 2.2 second lead over Spengler and Green. Engel is back in seventh, followed by Paffett and Schumacher in eighth and ninth.
Lap 34: In a battle for third place, Martin Tomczyk (Audi) prevails over Jamie Green who briefly runs off track.
Final lap: After 41 laps (total distance: 176.58 km), Bruno Spengler is the best of the Mercedes-Benz drivers, crossing the line in second position. Jamie Green takes fourth place while Maro Engel collects two championship points for finishing seventh.
Comments after the race:
Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) – Second:
“Today just wasn’t our day. The race started well. I got off the line all right and my pace in the first stint was fast enough. I managed to shake Mike Rockenfeller off, but then at the first pit stop, there was a bit of confusion on the radio about whether I should come in or not, and that’s when Mike got past me. But hey, that’s motor racing. Even so, second is still a good result.”
Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class) – Fourth:
“I’m a bit disappointed because my AMG Mercedes C-Class has been consistently fast all weekend. In the end, I had to settle for fourth, but at least I’ll be taking a few points away with me. It’s a step in the right direction”
Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class) – Seventh:
“I have to say a big thank you to the team. Both the car and the strategy were fantastic today. That meant we were able to move up from 13th to seventh. Not bad considering this is a track where overtaking is virtually impossible”
Gary Paffett (AMG Mercedes C THOMAS SABO-Class) – Ninth:
“I am very disappointed because from P5 I was hoping to be in the points. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the speed today. I kept on pushing, but still couldn’t defend my position.”
Ralf Schumacher (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class) – Eleventh:
“We had balance problems unfortunately – I slid around a lot and just couldn’t find any grip. We now need to look into why before the next race. My first pit stop was a close-run thing, but fortunately it went well. What ‘s important is that Bruno took valuable championship points.”
Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) – Twelfth:
“It was a good race from my point of view. Our strategy was sound and I got away well. In the end, it was a tight situation with Ralf. I tried to pass him but it didn’t work out.”
Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 13th:
“I’m delighted with all the support I received from my fans today. There were lots of flags and baseball caps with my name on. I’m satisfied with my result. I had a minor bump at the start of the race, but fortunately it didn’t damage the car.”
Christian Vietoris (Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 15th:
“Zandvoort is a track where overtaking is practically impossible – the race proved that. That makes qualifying doubly important. Unfortunately for me, starting from 17th place, I was totally out of contention. Anyway: My two pit stops were great – so many thanks to the guys!”
David Coulthard (Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 16th:
“After a disappointing qualifying, I started from way back on the grid and immediately lost two positions. Also, the drive-through penalty cost me valuable time. The weekend didn’t exactly go to plan, but at least I have the opportunity to make up for it in two weeks’ time at Spielberg.”
Norbert Haug, Vice-President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“Congratulations to Audi and to Mike Rockenfeller on his first DTM victory which was well deserved. Bruno’s car was having radio problems throughout the race, so he didn’t hear the call from the team in time for his first pit stop. If he’d stopped one lap earlier, he would have kept the lead, though we might have lost this on the second stop anyway. All in all, our race speed wasn’t quite up to the level we showed in qualifying. After a run of ten victories in the last 13 races, Bruno’s second place is still quite acceptable. We’ll try to make it better again at Spielberg.”
Source: Daimler AG