Mercedes Benz motorsport chief Norbert Haug insists that the DTM is second only to Formula One in terms of value to the company as it prepares for the start of the 2009 season.

Mercedes will once again do battle with Audi for title honours this season and has again established a strong driver line-up for the new campaign, despite the retirement of DTM legend Bernd Schneider at the end of the 2008 season.

Paul di Resta and Bruno Spengler will both be expected to challenge for honours, while former Formula One racer Ralf Schumacher will be keen to impress after securing the use of a 2009-spec car for the season ahead.

"DTM represents extremely good value in terms of effective PR," Haug insisted. "After Formula One, there is probably no other motorsport series that has quite the same media impact. DTM certainly need not regard itself as the poor relative. In Germany alone, the live coverage on Saturdays and Sundays amounts to more than 30% of the viewing figures achieved by Formula One.

"Following its re-birth in 2000, DTM has shown the way with its use of homologated parts such as standard brakes and gearboxes. In addition, they have introduced the rule that only three engines may be used for two cars during the whole season. I could mention plenty more good examples of cost-cutting measures."

"In DTM, we aim to operate on the most cost-efficient basis as possible and to give the public good value for money. Despite the difficult economic climate, we at Mercedes have once again managed to boost our income from sponsorship quite considerably. All of which reflects very favourably on the DTM platform. At the same time, we submitted ourselves to a robust programme of raising efficiency and cutting costs over the winter months: in 2009, we expect to spend around 30% less than in 2008."

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