With two wins under his belt from as many races this season, four-time DTM champion Bernd Schneider goes to Oschersleben this weekend with an extra-heavy AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse and his rivals hungry to end his winning streak.
Schneider admitted his Vodafone Mercedes would go well at the circuit near Magdeburg, Germany, without the added ballast, however the added weight, resulting from his success in the first two races gives the former Zakspeed F1 pilot reason to doubt a third win in the series.
"In normal circumstances, I'd say my chances are great," Schneider told www.dtm.de
, "but I will have to contest the weekend with ten-kilos weight aboard my car for each of my wins secured in the first two races, thus being 20 kilos heavier than the 2006-spec Audis. Now all the Audis and the 2005-spec Mercedes-Benz cars are lighter."
With Mercedes' competitors Audi desperate to seize the advantage from the Stuttgart-based squad, Schneider is mindful that the weight disadvantage, combined with the obligatory close racing at Oschersleben could play into the hands of Audi.
"At Oschersleben, 20 kilogram additional weight will result in a loss of 2.5 to 3 tenths of a second per lap," added Schneider, "and the racing in DTM is extremely close, particularly in the qualifying session. It doesn't take a lot to be only seventh or eighth on the grid. In the races, our performance has been very good, so far, but this may turn out to be not that vital at Oschersleben as the track is very tight."
Schneider is also quick to point out that his closest challenger Tom Kristensen in the Audi, who is only four points behind in the standings, will be a threat and the German driver also hints at a strong charge from the other Audi drivers as well as his fellow Mercedes chargers.
"I expect Tom Kristensen to do well, particularly as he knows how to win, at Oschersleben," stated Schneider. "At the same time, Martin Tomczyk also proved to be extremely competitive at the EuroSpeedway and Mattias Ekström is always quick no matter where we're racing."
"Furthermore, I mustn't forget the strong competition represented by some of my brand-mates, and even some of the 2005-spec cars shouldn't be underestimated. Jean Alesi is always quick and Alexandros Margaritis also proved to be very competitive in the race at the EuroSpeedway."