Alex Margaritis claims he achieved his objectives during his second season in the DTM, the Greek-born driver securing a handful of points on the way to eleventh in the standings, something he is now eager to build upon in 2007.
After a trying debut season in 2005 with Mucke Motorsport when he made the jump from the Formula Three Euroseries, Margaritis joined Persson for 2006 alongside Jean Alesi and Mathias Lauda and immediately made an impression by finishing fifth in the first round of the season at Hockenheim – the first time the German residing driver had scored any points.
More was to follow at the next round when he finished in sixth place, while an eighth in the fourth round put Margaritis firmly inside the top of the standings at that point. Indeed, just a few rounds in, Margaritis had already fulfilled his objectives
”I achieved the goals I had set myself together with my new team,” Margaritis says. “I wanted to make for some highlights and score some points every now and then - and I succeeded in doing so. And in two other rounds, I also was on the way to scoring points when I was forced into retirement. Obviously, it wasn't to be, in these races.”
However, Margaritis' fortunes took a controversial turn midway through the season when strong qualifying performances at the Nurburgring and Zandvoort were followed by him being demoted to the back of the grid following incidents that officials took a dim view of.
“From my point of view - that was shared by many outsiders - I was absolutely innocent. Twice this year I was moved back to the very end of the grid, following the qualifying session. That's anything but easy.
“While you are particularly keen on confirming your competitiveness, in such a situation, your rivals aren't ready to make your life easy. On the other hand, you know that you're quick when you are moved back. After all, it's better than having to start from the end of the grid because of having failed to deliver, in the qualifying session.”
Nonetheless, Margaritis' highlight of the season was his sixth place on the grid at the penultimate round of the season at Le Mans and although he finished one place further back in seventh eventually, it was a performance that fills him with confidence in 2007.
“It was a fantastic race,” he says. “I had no fond memories of my F3 appearances at Le Mans, but the DTM qualifying was just great and I clinched sixth grid position. In the race, however, I had to settle for seventh place as all the 2006 cars turned out to be extremely competitive.”
While Margaritis has not been confirmed for 2007 and places in the works Mercedes squad look sparse, he is nonetheless thankful to Persson and also to outgoing team-mate Jean Alesi for helping him provide a glimpse at his future potential.
“My team-mate, Jean Alesi, was an extremely experience driver. We complemented one another very well and shared our information. The team helped me a lot and this was the key factor for our good results.”