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Thrills in the final: Ekström wins duel
17-07-2012 03:02:53 PM
- Audi driver Mattias Ekström wins individual competition from Jamie Green
- Mercedes-Benz wins unique relay competition with Schumacher and Green
- Hankook tyres convince at the narrow stadium track in Munich
Racing atmosphere in front of a historic backdrop, a huge crowd in the paddock and delighted winners – this is the way the DTM presented itself in Munich’s Olympiastadion. On Saturday, Mercedes-Benz driver Ralf Schumacher scored his first DTM win in the relay competition, together with his fellow Mercedes-Benz driver Jamie Green. In the individual competition on Sunday, Mattias Ekström claimed victory with his Audi A5 DTM from Jamie Green with the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé and was delighted with the trophy in the shape of the historic stadium. The event, during which there were no DTM points at stake, enthused drivers and fans because of its extraordinary competition format.
For the first time, a relay competition was held and provided racing action at the narrow, 614 metres long track. Two drivers made up one team and completed a distance ranging from three to five laps. The short sprint with the precise driving style suited ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher best and he succeeded in building up optimal grip with the Ventus competition tyre. Together with Green, he enjoyed being on the top step of the winner’s podium. Eventually, Audi driver Timo Scheider had to make do with second place, together with fellow Audi driver Adrien Tambay. “I had goose bumps when I drove into the stadium through the marathon gate. On Saturday, we did some experiments with the tyre pressure as well, and maybe that got us all the way into the final.”
In the individual head-to-head competition, the drivers had to race each other in a knock-out format and even had to complete a pit stop from the quarter finals onwards. Car set-up, use of the tyres and the quick adaptation to the changeable weather conditions with sun and heavy rain were the basis for Mattias Ekström’s victory on Sunday. In the tournament, the Swede beat Joey Hand, Martin Tomczyk (both BMW), Gary Paffett and Jamie Green (both Mercedes-Benz) from the round of the last 16 up to the final. “In the dry, I was already excited about the tyres. In the rain, I had expected difficulties with the temperature, but that was no problem whatsoever,” Ekström said after his victory.
The decisive factor for success at the extremely short and narrow track of only 614 metres was getting a good pedal feeling for the circuit, using the temperature of the pre-heated tyres and accelerating out of the corners with optimal traction. Both in dry conditions and in the rain, the Ventus Race was able to ideally support the 22 DTM drivers with a very high grip level at the open-grained asphalt. “Actually, our tyres have been designed for high-speed runs at the race track, but here at this narrow stadium track, they have worked perfectly from the very beginning as well,” BMW driver Joey Hand summed up his impressions.
Manfred Sandbicher, who also carried out the prize-giving ceremony, was impressed by the performance of the teams and the atmosphere in the stadium in his function of Hankook’s motorsport director Europe: “The show event in Munich is a great platform for the DTM to present itself to a huge fan base. As the exclusive tyre partner, we are happy to be a part of this unique motorsport event.”