The eighth round of the DTM championship season gets underway this weekend, with the championship’s eighteen drivers heading to Oschersleben’s Motorsport Arena to rub panels once again.
Richard’s F1 previews this weekend’s action and takes a look at some of the talking points leading into this weekend…
|2011 DTM RACE OF OSCHERSLEBEN
|Date:||30-31 July 2011||Lap Length:||3.696km|
|Race Lap Record:||1:22.991, Timo Scheider (Audi A4 DTM 2009) – 2010|
|Event Schedule:||Free Practice Session 1||Fri 13:35-15:05|
|Free Practice Session 2||Sat 09:45-11:15|
|Race (50 laps, 185km)||Sun 14:00-15:15|
|Past Winners: 2010||Paul di Resta (AMG Mercedes C-Class 2009)|
|2009||Timo Scheider (Audi A4 DTM 2009)|
|2008||Timo Scheider (Audi A4 DTM 2008)|
|2007||Gary Paffett (AMG Mercedes C-Class 2006)|
|2006||Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM 2004)|
|2005||Gary Paffett (AMG Mercedes C-Class 2005)|
Located in the Börde region some 30km south of the city of Magdeburg, the Oschersleben circuit has been a mainstay on the DTM championship calendar since the series was re-formed in 2000.
A narrow, flat circuit, its smooth and fast nature calls for plenty of finesse. It’s hard to string a sequence of consistently quick laps together on this track, and drivers will need to exercise care when cutting over some of the raised kerbs, which have been known to damage suspension in the past.
The main hazard on the track is the absurdly tight open complex of corners, particularly the first left-hander, where contact, damage and driver penalties are as common as the bent car panels that result.
Rewinding to 2010
Last year’s round saw Mercedes’ Paul di Resta claim his second successive win in the championship season en route to claiming the that year’s championship crown.
The Scot led the race at the start, but his hard work came undone when he suffered a slow first pit stop, whereupon he lost the race led to his main championship rival, Bruno Spengler.
Di Resta’s concerns were alleviated when Spengler made his second compulsory pit stop early to try and maintain track position over the rapidly closing Timo Scheider, but Scheider was still able to leap ahead.
Out in front, di Resta put in a sequence of quick laps on worn tyres to try and build a cushion before his final stop in the hope that he could keep his lead over Scheider, but this became academic when the German suffered a left-rear puncture that killed his hopes of a race win and maintaining his run in the championship race.
This left di Resta to win as he pleased from Spengler, while Mattias Ekström finished third as the best-placed Audi.
The Form Guide
With Audi having claimed victory at each of the last two rounds at the Nürburgring and Brands Hatch, the momentum is certainly with the outfit, which has four drivers still mathematically in contention to claim honours in this year’s championship race.
Realistically, however, it’s Martin Tomczyk who will be flying the Audi flag for the rest of the season, with the German performing sensationally to lead the title race, despite being saddled with one of Audi’s older-spec cars.
Tomczyk has driven brilliantly this season, claiming three wins (more than any other driver) this year, as well as two more podiums. In fact, he’s not finished outside the top-five this season.
Tied for third in the points race are Audi stalwarts Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider, with the latter being a two-time winner at this circuit. The pair lies some 21 points adrift, and their only realistic hope of staying in the championship race will be a win this weekend, coupled with a low-scoring result for Tomczyk and Mercedes-Benz’s championship frontrunner, Bruno Spengler.
Spengler is Mercedes’ only realistic shot at this year’s championship, lying just one point behind series leader Tomczyk. Spengler’s championship run has also been remarkably consistent, with wins at the Hockenheim and Norisring helping his cause, along with three other podium finishes. Spengler is widely-tipped to be joining BMW’s DTM programme next year, and the Bavarian outfit would be very keen to have the number ‘1’ on the door of a car in their return season.
With Audi and Mercedes sharing three wins apiece in the last six years at the Oschersleben, it’s again going to be a close affair as the battle between the manufacturers heats up.
Make sure you visit Richard’s F1 for the latest news and analysis from this weekend’s action!
[Images via DTM Media]