Audi, BMW and Mercedes are in Spain for the penultimate DTM race of 2012. Valencia hosts the race, a track where Audi secured a 1-2-3-4-5-6 last year with Mattias Ekström as winner.
“I’ve had two fantastic weekends at Valencia: pole twice and winning twice. A hat-trick this year would of course be a dream. But at the moment, we’re very very much rooted to the soil. That’s why it would simply be nice to have a solid weekend from the beginning through to the end,” said Ekström.
But the Swedish Audi driver is far from the title hunt. Gary Paffett is still in the lead for Mercedes with a good shot at the title.
“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,” said Paffett.
Paffett’s main rival for the title is BMW’s Bruno Spengler who has closed in on Paffett in the lead, currently 11 points behind.
“Valencia is a very special and extremely interesting circuit. As well as one quick corner, it is primarily made up of slow sections. The circuit is technically demanding and poses a real test for us drivers. The surface does not offer much grip in high temperatures and you have to be careful not to slide off the track when braking. It will be crucial to find the right balance for the car. If we achieve that, I am sure I can attack at the front of the field again,” said Spengler.
50 points remains to be fought for in the DTM 2012 and the first 25 are to be distributed this weekend. Can BMW and Spengler continue their charge for the lead? Or will Paffett bounce back on his dominating form from the first part of the season? Or will the statistics back up Audi’s dominating results from previous years?