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Race analysis DTM Hockenheim: Schumacher slows down BMW

Reinhard
Race analysis DTM Hockenheim
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N after the many years of togetherness in the DTM it was finally that big day came: BMW was back. And so that everyone in the paddock really notices that, the Munich-based company set new standards when building the hospitality facilities. The tickets for the imposing VIP Tasting Palace are an excellent match for the thickness of the building: the black plastic ID cards are in the size of a breakfast board.

Ralf Schumacher slows BMW down

But neither the BMW marketing men nor the white-blue technicians could say with certainty in advance whether the sporting performance of the M3 Armada would step with the self-confident appearance next to the slopes would hold. On Saturday at 3 p.m. the first all-clear: Dirk Werner surprisingly secured third place on the grid. And if Bruno Spengler hadn't been braked by a defective tie rod, he might even have achieved pole position.

For the DTM, BMW's DTM comeback is worth gold. There were almost no gaps in the stands of the Motodrom. More than 70,000 spectators on the race day - to achieve such a number, the DTM has needed two, or sometimes even three visits to its guest appearances in Baden in recent years.

Before the start, BMW was in good spirits: Four cars in the top 10 at the start, that gave hope for great things. But it was a former BMW Formula 1 driver, of all people, who, with his bloodstreak in the hairpin, ensured that the BMW boy's pink horizon quickly darkened. Ralf Schumacher missed the braking point by what felt like 100 meters. The Mercedes rammed both Schnitzer BMWs. While Dirk Werner was at least able to continue (albeit without a chance), Bruno Spengler hobbled into the pits and had to give up. 'A crazy maneuver by Ralf', the Canadian swore at his teammate from last year. Bad insults could be heard on the radio. 'His punishment doesn't help me now either.' Schumi 2 was already noticed unpleasantly on the first lap when he sent Audi man Timo Scheider into a proper turner.

Overtaking advantage Mercedes-Seite

Formula 3 European Champion Roberto Merhi also turned out to be a rough leg in the style of the grim Real Madrid defender Pepe at his DTM premiere in a Mercedes. The Spaniard urged Martin Tomczyk intoApart from what the stewards advised by ex-Formula 1 driver Karl Wendlinger classified as not worthy of punishment. 'I felt a bit pushed around,' said the defending champion. 'Some opponents were apparently over-motivated today.' Schumacher's superior Norbert Haug ironed off the allegations with a cold smile: 'Those viewers who appreciate the paint replacement got their money's worth. I don't appreciate this, by the way, because it costs money.' But in the same breath Haug also mentioned that 'you can overtake well in the new cars.' Strictly speaking, this only applied to the Mercedes drivers at the season opener. Those who were not lucky enough to sit in a C-Coupé could only passively participate in the mentioned place swap maneuvers. Like Mattias Ekström, who lost two positions to Gary Paffett and Jamie Green in a single lap. Or like Mike Rockenfeller. The A5 driver had nothing to oppose the final offensive by Mercedes junior Christian Vietoris.

While Norbert Haug glowed with passion in view of the somewhat unexpected double victory and Mercedes technical director Thomas Weber stretched his thumb at the television camera , only narrow-lipped faces and furrowed expressions could be seen at Audi. Sure, because if you lose an average of almost a second on the fastest in the decisive phases of the race, you have to digest this shock first. Sports director Ullrich weakened: 'In qualifying it went well, but the race wasn't that good.' However, this was not a surprise: 'We already saw in free practice that the racing speed was not yet working that way.'

Lausitzring is very different from Hockenheim

As early as next weekend, the Lausitzring will have its second competition of the season between the big three. 'Sure, there is not much that can be changed on the car in the few days until the next race,' says winner Gary Paffett. It is questionable whether Mercedes dominates as it did at the season opener. 'Because the characteristics of the Lausitzring are very different from Hockenheim,' says Audi man Ullrich. New game, new luck on May 6th. BMW in particular could use a good helping of it. The people of Munich deserved it.

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