Mercedes is expecting a tough challenge as the DTM circus heads to Holland, with its drivers predicting the weight gain enforced by their Nurburgring success could hand rival Audi the edge.
“I'm looking forward to the race,” said championship leader Bruno Schneider. “However, with the extra weight it will be difficult to stand our ground against the Audis. I like the circuit and provided the weather is ok, it should be an exciting race.”
Following his victory at the Nurburgring, Bruno Spengler has also hauled himself into title contention, and at just 23 years old the young Canadian is evidently hoping to teach old dogs Schneider and Audi rival Tom Kristensen a few tricks at Zandvoort.
“It is a technical track and demanding for the drivers,” he said. “Overtaking is difficult here; therefore qualifying plays an even more important role than usual. I want to qualify as high as possible on Saturday and maintain my second place overall on Sunday, and I hope to close the gap behind Bernd.”
With four rounds to go before the curtain comes down on the DTM season at Hockenheim on 29 October, only 12 points separate the top three drivers. With two of them coming from the Mercedes stable though, the Stuttgart concern is clearly hoping the momentum is on their side.
“This will be the fifth time Zandvoort has played host to the DTM and the meeting has become a classic on the calendar with the grandstands sold out here at last year's event,” said Mercedes-Benz Motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug.
“Finding the right set-up at the circuit is really demanding and it's anything but a walk in the park for the drivers. The track's location and surrounding is unique, and the circuit is tricky because of the wind, which blows sand on the track varying the grip conditions abruptly. Traditionally Audi has been strong at Zandvoort and I'm sure it will be a close fight.”