The penultimate round of the 2011 DTM championship season gets underway this weekend, with the series heading to Spanish soil for the first time to race on Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit.
Richard’s F1 previews this weekend’s action and takes a look at some of the talking points leading into this weekend, which could see runaway points’ leader Martin Tomczyk wrap up the title…
|2011 DTM RACE OF VALENCIA
|Date:||1-2 October 2011||Lap Length:||4.005km|
|Race Lap Record:||1:30.971, Matthias Ekström (Audi A4 DTM 2009) – 2010|
|Event Schedule:||Free Practice Session 1||Fri 13:15-14:45|
|Free Practice Session 2||Sat 09:25-10:55|
|Race (45 laps, 180km)||Sun 14:00-15:15|
|Past Winners: 2010||Matthias Ekström (Audi A4 DTM 2009)|
|2009||Timo Scheider (Audi A4 DTM 2009)||* Held at Barcelona|
|2008||Paul di Resta (AMG Mercedes C-Class 2008)||* Held at Barcelona|
|2007||Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class 2007)||* Held at Barcelona|
|2006||Martin Tomczyk (Audi A4 DTM 2006)||* Held at Barcelona|
Named after Spanish motorcycle rider Ricardo Tormo, the next stop on the DTM calendar is a stadium-like circuit located just outside the Spanish town of Cheste.
Built in 1999, it has seating capacity for 60,000 fans, but it can actually hold a total doubling that when one includes its excellent general admission areas that offer great views of the circuit.
Its mild climate makes it a popular test venue for Formula 1 teams during the off-season, while it also plays host to the MotoGP, WTCC, and Formula 3 championships, among a host of other categories.
One of just three anticlockwise circuits on the calendar (EuroSpeedway Lausitz and the Norisring being the others), the track’s layout features a variety of corner types that reward a well set-up car.
While far from impossible, overtaking is a tougher ask here than at some other circuits, with the braking zones at Turn 2 and the last corner proving to be the best spots to try and pass the driver in front.
Rewinding to 2010
Last year’s round at Valencia was just the first time that the championship had visited this venue, after several years running at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.
And unlike this year’s event being the penultimate round of the championship, last year’s round at Valencia was the second race of the 2010 season.
The race saw Audi claim one of just two wins it would register all season, when Mattias Ekström claimed a win for the Abt team after starting from pole position. The Swede finished ahead of Mercedes’ Bruno Spengler, while Frenchman Alexandre Prémat rounded out the podium.
The Form Guide
Having spent the 2010 season being summarily vanquished by Mercedes-Benz, Audi looks set to turn the tables in 2011, having seemingly been better able to master the new Hanook tyres on offer this year.
And championship points leader Martin Tomczyk could wrap up proceedings as early as this weekend; the German goes into this weekend’s race with a nine-point advantage over his only realistic championship rival, Mercedes’ Bruno Spengler.
Tomczyk has just been stellar this season. The only driver in the championship to have finished in the points at every race this season, he’s never finished below fifth place and only finished off the podium twice all year. His three wins this year have all been top-shelf.
Should Tomczyk score just two points more than Spengler this weekend, then it’s game over for the Canadian driver – Tomczyk would also become the first driver in the championship’s history to claim the title in an older-spec chassis.
The numbers are fairly simple: a win or runner-up spot in front of Spengler will give the German the championship crown. And if Spengler scores no points (as he managed to do at last fortnight’s round at Oschersleben when he retired), then Tomczyk needs no more than to finish seventh.
And he has good reason to expect another strong performance here. Last year’s race saw him qualify ninth and he finished second on the road, only to be disqualified for a tyre infringement.
Make sure you visit Richard’s F1 for the latest news and analysis from this weekend’s action!
[Images via DTM Media]