As The DTM circus heads to the tight Oschersleben circuit near Magdeburg in Germany this weekend Mercedes' Bernd Schneider looks to claim a hat-trick of wins and consolidate his championship lead, but will be hounded by an Audi squad determined take victory.
Schneider's HWA Mercedes C-Klasse triumphed in both the opening rounds at Hockenheim, and last time out at the EuroSpeedway, Lausitz, but will have to endure Sunday's 44-lap race in Northern Germany with the hindrance of added ballast.
"In normal circumstances, I'd say my chances are great," said Schneider, "but I will have to contest the weekend with 10 kilos placement 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."
Schneider will find himself glancing over his shoulder at Audi Sport Team Abt's Tom Kristensen who, after finishing second to the four-time champion in both the opening rounds, will look to go one better this weekend.
Kristensen is in confident mood going to Oschersleben as it proved to be the scene of his first and only victory in DTM so far, and is the 3.667km circuit is the closest the series gets to the record Le Mans winner's native Denmark.
"I not only like Oschersleben because the circuit is relatively close to Denmark, but in my first DTM season I clinched victory there as early as in the seventh race," stated Kristensen. "Last year as well, the speed was right and I had pole. Unfortunately I didn't get off the grid, so I've got something to make up and hope the time has come for me to claim another win."
Another Audi hopeful seeking improvements will be Martin Tomczyk, who, despite being hotly-tipped to mount a serious challenge this year has struggled in the opening two rounds of the championship bringing his Audi Team Abt Sportsline home in seventh and eighth at Hockenheim and the EuroSpeedway respectively.
In the Mercedes camp Britain's Jamie Green in the Salzgitter AMG C-Classe will hope to prove he can do the business in the race, and not just qualifying, after two pole positions so far this season and two poor starts from the sharp-end of the grid - retiring at Hockenheim, but managing fourth at the EuroSpeedway.
"I achieved my first DTM podium finish at Oschersleben one year ago," said Green, "and a good grid position here is crucial, because overtaking is very difficult on the tight and twisty track."