Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) sees off the challenge of Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) in the semi-final to emerge as the best of the Mercedes-Benz contingent: he finishes runner-up in the first of two competitions held over the show event weekend as Audi driver Edoardo Mortara takes the Saturday honours.

For the first time ever, DTM racing is being staged on a specially constructed circuit in a sports stadium. The 1,192-metre track has been laid out over an area of 18,000 square metres on top of 8,000 cubic metres of aggregate material in the arena of the Munich Olympic Stadium. On the second day of the contest (Sunday 17th July), the drivers will be battling it out for the title of overall Show Event Champion. You can watch live coverage on ARD commencing at around 1.50pm CET.

Race Mode: Saturday’s DTM proceedings began with two internal contests: Mercedes-Benz and Audi. The drivers were paired up for a series of eight three-lap stints. The eight fastest drivers from each marque then went through to the last sixteen. Qualification was based on times posted rather than the outcome of the individual bouts. Over the next three rounds (Last 16, Quarter-final and Semi-final), the fastest Audi driver and fastest Mercedes-Benz driver were identified. These two then battled it out in the final race over five laps, including a compulsory pit stop.

Prologue: Ralf Schumacher’s overall time 2:48.319 minutes was the fastest of all the Mercedes-Benz drivers. Bruno Spengler posted a fastest lap of 54.195 seconds. Because of a false start, however, he incurred a two-second penalty and ended the prologue in P5 behind David Coulthard. Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) was ninth fastest so just missed out on qualifying.

Eighth finals: Ralf Schumacher got through to the next round with a time of 2:47.908 in a three-lap stint ahead of Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class). Bruno Spengler won his duel with Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class) by 0.355 seconds. Despite incurring a two-second penalty for jumping the lights, David Coulthard still prevailed against Christian Vietoris (Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class) to move into the last 16. Renger van der Zande won his knock-out encounter with Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Class) by 0.629 seconds.

Quarter finals: After completing four laps and a compulsory pit stop, Bruno Spengler prevailed over Ralf Schumacher (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class) with an overall time of 3.49:100 minutes to go through to the semi-final. Renger van der Zande won his race against David Coulthard (Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class) by 1.658 seconds and joins Spengler in the next round.

Semi finals: Bruno Spengler won his race over a distance of four laps – including one mandatory pit stop – with an overall time of 3:52.885 minutes, 23.9 seconds faster than fellow Mercedes-Benz driver Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class). Spengler now goes into the final which will decide who takes the Saturday honours.

Final: In a hard-fought encounter, Bruno Spengler finished runner-up behind Edoardo Mortara (Audi). In two stints over a distance of ten laps, including two pit stops, Spengler posted an overall time of 9:26.205 minutes and a fastest lap of 53.603 seconds. He emerges from the first day of this special DTM weekend as the best of the Mercedes-Benz contingent.

Comments on Saturday:
Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class):
„What tremendous fun we had today. The final was really close – there were only thousandths of a second in it at the end. I gave it everything I’ve got, and for most of the race, we were neck and neck. I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to my team. They did a great job and the pit stops went very smoothly. Now I’m looking forward to the second day of this show event here in Munich.“

Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class):
„We had a bit of a communication problem during our pit stop. It was my own fault and it cost me a lot of time. Even so, we showed that we are competitive here. I’m aiming to make up for this mistake on Sunday.“

David Coulthard (Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class):
„I think it’s great that the fans can experience DTM from so close up here. I’m familiar with this sort of event from the Race of Champions which I always enjoy immensely. Having said that, though, it is very difficult to drive on such a tight track. I’m looking forward to tomorrow but not making any forecasts.“

Ralf Schumacher (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class):
„I’m happy with my result today. Unfortunately, I didn’t progress beyond the quarter-final because I made too many errors. But at least I didn’t damage my C-Class. This show event is turning out to be great fun. I’m really looking forward to Sunday.“

Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Class):
„I was doing OK, but then, on the last lap, I made a mistake. I glanced against one of the barriers with my front right wheel and lost control of the car. That cost me a lot of time. I’m feeling quite optimistic about Sunday, though. This show event in Munich is a lot of fun.“

Christian Vietoris (Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class):
„It’s a pity I didn’t progress any further. David was given a two-second penalty for a false start, but unfortunately, I was unable to exploit the advantage. I like the circuit and I’m looking forward to Day Two here in Munich on Sunday.“

Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class):
„Although I was eliminated, I think that my performance was reasonable. I was just three-tenths of a second behind Bruno who was very fast in the prologue. I’m feeling upbeat about the race on Sunday. It all depends on which Audi driver I’m drawn against. I’m aiming to put on a good show for the fans.“

Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class):
„The atmosphere in the Olympic Stadium is fabulous. As Munich born and bred, I’m enjoying the experience here all the more. I’m finding the track layout quite demanding, especially as I only drove four laps in Friday’s free practice session. You get more confident with every lap you complete as you familiarise yourself with the braking points. That’s what I was missing today. “

Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class):
„I’m disappointed to have been knocked out at this early stage. I was at a slight disadvantage going out onto the track before anyone else. The surface was extremely greasy, and I had severe oversteering on a couple of occasions. I didn’t want to take too many chances, as the barriers are very close to the track here.“

Norbert Haug, Vice-President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
„The idea of bringing DTM racing to the Munich Olympic Stadium turned out to be a big success. The fans have had a great day out. As I walked around the grandstand, people kept coming up to me and telling me what a fabulous event we’ve laid on here. I think that a lot of the spectators who turned up today are watching DTM live for the very first time, and this will have whetted their appetite for the sport. Thanks to the munich organizers, the ITR and the DMSB who have made this event possible. And congratulations to Edorado Mortara and Audi for the first DTM finale victory in a stadium. Tomorrow it will go on and it will be thrilling.”

Source: Daimler AF