The third round of the 2011 DTM championship season kicks off this weekend, with the series making its long-awaited return to Austria, with the recently relaunched Red Bull Ring playing host to the championship after a lengthy absence from the calendar.
And of course Richard’s F1 will be providing you with the latest results and analysis from what will be an thrilling weekend at the Styrian circuit – let’s have a look at the form guide and what to expect…
The circuit – formerly known as the A1-Ring until it was bought out by Red Bull chief Dietrich Mateschitz – last played host to the championship in 2003, which was an event dominated by Mercedes-Benz.
And with Mercedes-Benz having taken an early lead in this year’s championship with wins in the opening rounds at Hockenheim and Zandvoort, the form guide suggests that the C-Class cars will be the marque to beat.
And when one considers that Mercedes-Benz has never lost a race at this circuit, then it starts to look as though Audi will have a tough challenge on their hands this weekend.
Lead Mercedes driver Bruno Spengler is currently enjoying an eight-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings over the chasing Audi quartet of Mike Rockenfeller, Martin Tomczyk, Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider, and he’ll be looking to take his second win of the season.
In the 2002 race, Mercedes-Benz took a thrilling 1-2-3-4 rout in what is still regarded as one of the closest and most exciting DTM races ever.
Won by Marcel Fässler, the running order swapped constantly in the closing laps, and he just managed to edge out Bernd Schneider, Jean Alesi and Uwe Alzen, while Audi’s Laurent Aiello and Mattias Ekström were snapping at their heels.
The Red Bull Ring retains an identical layout to the A1-Ring, and it’s straightforward layout of long straights feeding into heavy braking zones will guarantee plenty of overtaking action. The run into the first corner will be particularly fraught, and it’s quite likely that a few first-lap retirements will be on the cards if there’s a bit of biffing and barging at Turn 1.
We’ll of course bring you all of the action from Sunday’s 38-lap race, as well as qualifying and the latest news!