The expert’s judgement: nothing can be taken for granted
With four DTM races of the 2015 season contested, Audi is the yardstick and in the Audi camp, Jamie Green seems to be racing in a class of his own. The Briton already secured three wins for his squad, Team Rosberg, and consequently holds the championship lead. 25 years ago at the Norisring, Hans-Joachim Stuck gave the Ingolstadt based brand their first DTM win. Together with the DTM legend we looked back on the year 1990 and asked him for his assessment regarding the Norisring race weekend from 26th to 28th June.
The look back: “The 1990 race was really special for me as it turned out to be an emotional rollercoaster ride. At first, I got into the cockpit virtually right from the sick bed – to qualify third. The first race was dominated by Walter Röhrl and me, with me making it to the highest step on the podium. At the start into the second race I had a close encounter with Altfrid Heger that nearly resulted in an early end of my race. But then I succeeded in finishing third, nevertheless. So, I left the Norisring on Sunday evening as championship leader what proved to be an important basis on my way to securing the title with the Audi V8 quattro in that year.”
The atmosphere: “the Norisring always has been the highlight on the DTM calendar. Here, the skirts of the girls always were slightly shorter and the sponsors’ tents somewhat higher than elsewhere. And the atmosphere in the evenings at the Dutzendteich when everybody was barbecuing with their teams and the fans came along, asking you for autographs... Fantastic! We were anything but living behind the moon, in those DTM days but it goes without saying that anything is far, far more professional, today. And this does not only apply to the drivers who cut the fat off their steaks and go to bed at 22:00hrs but also to the vehicle technology and – last but not least – the track safety where the progress made in the past 25 years is just enormous. And when it comes to the safety I definitely don’t belong to those reminiscing about the old times. In this area, DTM represents a global example and that’s good.”
The track: “The circuit looks so simple but represents a true challenge. The Norisring was a track separating the wheat from the chaff in my days and this hasn’t changed until today. Only those who dare to use absolutely every millimetre of the circuit and go as close to the concrete walls as possible can be really fast. At no other racetrack on the DTM calendar, the line between massive success and massive fool is as fine as here. And therefore, I don’t see any advantages for a certain manufacturer. The competitiveness in DTM is enormous and so, the skills and consistency of the drivers will be the key factor in the battle for the Norisring wins.”
Stuck’s prediction: “Currently, everybody focuses on the combination Audi-Green, that’s no surprise. And Jamie currently definitely is the man to beat. But in DTM, things occasionally can go downhill at brutal speed. Wrong tyre pressure in the practice sessions? Forget the top 10! Taken the wrong way when it comes to springs and dampers? Welcome at end of the field! We all witnessed the dominance of Marco Wittmann in 2014 – and today, he has to give his very best to close the gap to the front runners. On the other hand, a perfect set-up and an appropriately strong performance in the race can take virtually every driver to the DTM podium. And that’s exactly what makes DTM so attractive.”