DTM 2012: Round 9, Valencia: Preview


The DTM visits Spain for the seventh time since 2006: two races have been staged in Valencia, the previous four events were hosted at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona (2006-2009).
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Comments prior to the ninth race of the season at Valencia:
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Gary Paffett (31, England, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):

  • has led the drivers’ championship since the season opener at Hockenheim
  • has scored points in all eight races so far in 2012
  • is the only driver to have qualified in the Top Four on five race weekends

“I’ve done a lot of laps in Valencia, both in a DTM Mercedes and in a Formula 1 McLaren Mercedes. It’s very different from other circuits on the calendar, and it can be quite tricky to get the set-up of the car right. There are a lot of slow corners, which means that traction plays a major role and that tyre wear is generally quite high. Valencia is a difficult track, but my THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Coupé has been very fast at all circuits so far this season – my goal in Valencia is to secure as many points as possible so that I am at the top of the championship table as we travel to the finale in Hockenheim.”

Jamie Green (30, England, Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):

  • is currently third in the championship on 108 points
  • won the 2007 DTM race in Barcelona

“This will be the third time since 2010 that a DTM race has been staged in Valencia. The Circuit Ricardo Tormo has recently been resurfaced. In the past, the surface at Valencia was extremely temperature dependent, which made it important to time your lap so that you were out on track when it was at its fastest. I’m curious to see how the new tarmac behaves and whether the scenario has since changed.”

Christian Vietoris (23, Germany, Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé):

  • had two Formula 3 Euro Series podium finishes at Barcelona in 2008
  • won the 2006 Formula BMW World Final in Valencia

“The Circuit Ricardo Tormo is exceptionally challenging; it’s especially tough on the brakes and, similar to the last race at Oschersleben, it’s critically important to ride the kerbs properly. Compared with Oschersleben, though, Valencia flows more smoothly. We did some testing there at the beginning of the year and collected a lot of useful data for our new DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, which should be a great help initially this weekend in achieving the right set-up.”

David Coulthard (41, Scotland, DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):

  • qualified third for last year’s race in Valencia
  • is familiar with the permanent track in Valencia from countless Formula 1 test sessions

“As we go into the penultimate race of the season in Valencia, we can look forward to a fascinating city and to a technically challenging track. I know the Ricardo Tormo Circuit from all the laps I put in during testing when I was in Formula 1, but my first two DTM races there required a total recalibration on my part. In a DTM car, you take a completely different racing line to the one you would drive in a single-seater – that was something I had to learn. By qualifying third for last year’s race, I at least showed that I’m making progress. After three tough races recently, I would like to secure a decent result for the fans.”

Ralf Schumacher (37, Germany, Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):

  • has already completed numerous test laps at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo during his Formula 1 career

“Valencia is a destination I have been familiar with for many years now. During my racing career, I’ve been a frequent visitor to the city and to the race track in the context of Formula 1 and DTM; I’ve come to know them well and enjoy them. The Ricardo Tormo circuit provides a nice mix of different-speed corners and is especially tough on brakes. The DTM season is entering its crucial phase in Valencia and, of course, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for Gary and Jamie in the championship. One thing is clear – the fans can look forward to a close-fought and exciting three-way battle for the title in the last two races here in Valencia and at Hockenheim.”

Roberto Merhi (21, Spain, Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):

  • not only set his first DTM fastest race lap at Oschersleben but also established a new track record
  • won the 2011 Formula 3 Euro Series title ahead of time in his home race

“My first home race in the DTM is certainly a very special experience for me. I can hardly believe that a whole year has gone by – and almost a full DTM season – since winning the Formula 3 Euro Series title here in Valencia. On that very same weekend, I got behind the wheel of a DTM car for the first time and: I was taking VIPs round the track instead of racing, and I still have great memories of the occasion. Since then, there have been some major developments in my career and I’ve really learnt a lot – I showed that by posting my first fastest lap in the DTM and by setting a new lap record at Oschersleben. This taste of success gives me the extra motivation to achieve another good result in front of my family, friends and fans in Valencia.”

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

“Two races in 22 days will decide the outcome of the 2012 DTM championship.

Next weekend, Valencia in Spain plays host to the DTM – not on the street circuit used by Formula 1 but on the permanent track outside the city. It is an exceptionally challenging venue – the circuit itself has been completely resurfaced this year, which means that we are all starting from scratch here. Finding the optimum set-up will be a big challenge for the teams and drivers.

Everyone in our team is looking forward to the race. Our drivers Gary Paffett, who has led the championship since the opening round, and Jamie Green are two of the remaining three title contenders. Our aim is to defend our lead.”

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