The Stuttgart manufacturer returns alongside both Audi and BMW for Round 8 of the 2012 DTM season, as we fast approach the business end of the championship, which has been an interesting season so far. Oschersleben is a very challenging track, leaving all the 22 drivers with little time to regroup on the 3.696km German circuit. It shares a very similar layout to Zandvoort, with the drivers having to drive a precision-filled lap to secure fast times.
The weather, yet again, seems as though, may play a part in proceedings this year, as the drivers were challenged by the wet conditions last year, as well as the demanding track layout being difficult on both drivers and cars. It requires high commitment to get the best out of the track, with a fast lap during qualifying a must for all to maximize their chances for race day.
Since having a prominent role in the calendar since 2000, Mercedes have won there five times, and celebrate their 140th race start this weekend, having a 58 percent victory rate throughout the new era of the DTM, with Norbert Haug saying that the team is “motivated and focused on defending our lead in the three championship categories of the drivers’, team and manufacturers’ rankings.”
Gary Paffett, who is 10 races away from his 100th start in the DTM, is currently leading the title race by 16 points, ahead of team-mate and fellow countryman, Jamie Green, with BMW’s main hope, Bruno Spengler, not far behind the British pairing.
Paffett is aware of the challenges the track has, but is optimistic towards this weekend’s event: “My THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé had very good pace at Zandvoort, and, barring incidents, we should be able to achieve a good result at Oschersleben. We raced in the wet here last year, but we’ll have to wait and see what the weather has in store for us this weekend.”
Green, himself, has managed to get two third place finishes previously as Oschersleben, but the win still eludes him, and even though qualifying is important, it’s not the only way to get a good result: “But as Gary and I showed in Zandvoort, you can still climb through the field on Sunday if your race pace is good.”
Christian Vietoris, who had his first points finish here in the DTM last year, returns with fond memories from his Formula 3 days as well, but describes in vivid detail about what is needed for a good result at the track: “Basically, the circuit is quite slow compared to others on the calendar and most of the corners are taken in first or second gear. You need a car that has good traction and is stable through the slow corners. And then you have to be sure to do well in qualifying.”
This year sees the third visit to Oschersleben for ex-F1 veteran David Coulthard, who moved into the top ten at this race last year, and has been able to get more accustomed to the nuances of the track, but still realizes that there is work still to be done: “The main thing is to qualify well and that’s an area where I need to improve. The team and I have been working on just that since the last race. In Zandvoort, I climbed nine positions during the first lap to P13, and at Oschersleben I will be pushing hard to secure a decent result for all our fans in the stands and watching on TV at home.”
So, with it all to play for, Mercedes will look to assert their winning ways once again, as Oschersleben could provide the backdrop for an exciting race, no matter its conclusion, but the efforts of both Audi and BMW will be a force to be reckoned with.