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Mercedes' underdogs shine in season-opener

1 January 1901

With Mercedes' predicted big guns languishing uncharacteristically down the order in the 2007 DTM curtain-raiser, it was instead the three-pointed star's lesser-vaunted aces who came to the fore at Hockenheim last weekend.

Daniel la Rosa ended up as the Stuttgart marque's highest-placed representative at the end of the race, occupying the bottom step of the podium as Audi unexpectedly dominated proceedings at the fabled home of the German Grand Prix. The 21-year-old – who has been promoted to 2006-spec machinery for his sophomore seaon in the series – converted an eighth place grid slot into a result just over seven seconds shy of victory.

“I started well and had a good race,” he enthused afterwards. “Unfortunately there was a problem with the power steering in the end, but third place is nevertheless a good start to the season and I am really happy.”

Margaritis – who has also been upgraded to a year-old car for the current campaign – came home just over a second further back in fourth place, the best finish of his three-year DTM career and a result that meant all four new C-Classes were beaten by their older counterparts in the season's opening skirmish.

“After my suspension broke in the morning warm-up, I didn't expect to end up fourth,” the Greek ace admitted. “My team did a great job to repair the car for the race. I thank them all.”


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