The pleasant anticipation of Zandvoort is growing
With three days to go to the forthcoming DTM weekend that is kicked off this Friday at Zandvoort, Netherlands, the DTM divers Timo Scheider, Martin Tomczyk and Robert Wickens talk about their expectations, hopes and goals for the race meeting at the unique dune circuit.
Following the interim high of Mercedes-Benz at the Norisring, some of the fans probably will believe that it’s back to the Audi dominance they witnessed in the early stages of the season. But Audi’s Timo Scheider travels to Zandvoort with mixed emotions: “I coming right from our team meeting and have seen the calculations. The lightest BMW vehicles will haven an advantage of about half a second over us. Following the Norisring weekend, we probably will be on a par with Mercedes but matching the pace of BMW definitely will represent a major challenge.”
By securing poles at the dune circuit in the past, the 2008 and 2009 DTM Champion demonstrated that he can be fast, there. Nonetheless Zandvoort never proved to be a god place for him. Once, a wheel wasn’t properly fixed, once he came too late to the weighing and lost his points... “Love-hate arguably is the right term to describe my relationship with Zandvoort,” Scheider explains – but remains optimistic nevertheless. “Nonetheless, it’s a nice region and we had really nice times, there. I like the circuit as it’s really selective and has it all: fast and slow sections, technical and aerodynamic ones. Driving there is real fun.”
The situation that worries Audi is regarded as chance by their Munich based rivals. Martin Tomczyk believes that Zandvoort could represent the watershed after a not exactly successful start into the season, for BMW. “We expect to definitely have what it takes to be a factor in the battle for the podium, at Zandvoort,” he stresses. “When it comes to the weight we will enjoy a slight advantage and the circuit also should suit us well. Therefore, I think that we will be more competitive than we were in the previous races at the Norisring and the Lausitzring.”
But the German also has to cope with an individual problem: his average position on the grids for the six races contested to date was 16th.
“This phenomenon already could be witnessed in the past two seasons and unfortunately, it hasn’t changed this year. I have got my problems when it comes squeezing 100 percent out of the M4 for this one fast qualifying lap. We made a small step forward in this regard, this year, but this small step just isn’t enough,” explained the 33-year old. “In the race, things look far better for me. I get along well, there, and am able to constantly match the pace of the front-runners.” Due to this situation, Tomczyk currently holds the lead in the unofficial ‘Fighter of the Year’ ranking as he gained a total of 33 positions in the races so far. But because of his poor grid positions, he usually finished right behind the point positions and failed to score championship points.
With all the speculations about the dominant Audis and the BMWs benefiting from their weight advantage, Mercedes could be the laughing third party. Robert Wickens, for instance, has not yet lost the championship hopes. “As long as we score points in every single race I will remain optimistic that we will be able to take the battle for the title down to the closing stages of the season. It’s no secret that Audi are strong but BMW and Mercedes are giving their very best to close the gap and turn the tables.” For the Canadian, it’s okay that the competitors with the blue and white logo enjoy a weight advantage: “In Formula 1, for instance, you haven’t got any performance weights and it’s all about maximum performance. And in recent years we all could witness the result of such a strategy. In DTM, the situation is different: here, it’s about providing the crowds a great show with overtaking manoeuvres and cars battling door to door on a par. I think that the performance-weight regulations are a good tool to achieve this goal.”
And that’s exactly the kind of motor-racing action the fans may look forward to when DTM makes its Zandvoort stop, this weekend and will entertain them – thanks to the back-to-back format – with two qualifying sessions and two races.
The Zandvoort meeting will be kicked off on Friday, 10th July. Please find the schedule and everything worth to know about the three-day event here. Tickets can be ordered at DTM.com to then be printed out by dint of the Print@Home method – or purchased on site at the Circuit Park Zandvoort box offices.