Mercedes’ Ralf Schumacher and Jamie Green have won the team relay competition as the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters makes its mid-summer, non-championship visit to the Olympiastadion in Munich.
Schumacher and Green defeated Audi’s Adrien Tambay and Timo Scheider in the final of the team event, which saw drivers from each marque pitted against their rivals. According to the rules of the show event, no two teams from the same manufacturer could go head-to-head in the final, therefore leaving Mercedes’ with a best-possible first and third result. Gary Paffett and Christian Vietoris finished in third, after defeating BMW’s Dirk Werner and Joey Hand in the third-placed play off.
The teams for each manufacturer were decided after an initial qualifying session on Saturday morning, with the fastest four drivers proceeding into the quarter-finals. The teams were decided based on the first and fourth fastest driver from each manufacturer teaming up, along with the second and third fastest.
The four Mercedes drivers who qualified for the quarter finals were Schumacher, Green, Paffett and Vietoris, who was the fastest of all in the morning session. Schumacher and Green beat the pairing of Mattias Ekström and Miguel Molina in their quarter final, before defeating Paffett and Vietoris in the semi-final.
The event was first run in 2011 and the organisers have tried a different configuration for 2012 – something Schumacher admits he is pleased with.
“It was a perfect day for us,” said Schumacher. “The starts went particularly well for me today and the race at the stadium was a lot of fun. The organisers have done an excellent job with the new circuit layout. It is clearly an improvement on last year – the grip level is very good and I think the new relay competition is a great idea.”
Joint-winner Green says he is now looking forward to Sunday’s individual competition, which was last year won by Mercedes’ Bruno Spengler.
“It was really fun today,” said Green. “After my first victory of the season in the last points-scoring event at the Norisring in Nuremberg, my win in the relay competition here in Munich’s Olympic Stadium is the perfect follow-up. Ralf and I made a good Mercedes AMG team – I hope we can continue in the same way tomorrow in the individual timed competition.”
Audi’s French youngster Adrien Tambay was one of the surprises of the event, making it through to the final along with Ekström. The DTM rookie impressed many at the event to surpass his more experienced rivals, despite not having yet scored any points in the DTM.
“I was fighting for the lead on each lap, it was always very close,” explained Tambay. “In the final, we came very close to victory. On the last lap I gave everything, it was the best lap time in the final and in the end we were just barely behind Green. It’s nice to be standing on the podium here together with Timo. I really enjoyed this.”
Sunday sees all DTM drivers competing against each other in the individual tournament.