Mercedes' anticipated leading lights seem finally to be settling into the groove as the new DTM campaign reaches round three at the Eurospeedway Lausitz this weekend, and all three have just one thing on their mind – victory.
Incredibly, reigning series champion Bernd Schneider is the only one of them to have troubled the scorers so far in 2007, with a seventh place in the curtain-raiser at Hockenheim and sixth position last time out at Oschersleben. They are far from the kind of results the German was hoping for entering his 13th season in the DTM, though, and he well knows he must give his title charge the belated kick-start it so badly needs at the Eurospeedway.
“I have won at the Lausitzring three times and I like this track,” the 42-year-old said. “It would be great if I could achieve the first race win for the new C-Class here.”
Team-mate and 2006 runner-up Bruno Spengler, meanwhile, is the only one of Mercedes' 2007-spec drivers to have tasted podium champagne, courtesy of a third place at Hockenheim having set pole position and led for 11 laps of the race. A controversial last lap coming-together with Audi pilot Timo Scheider, however, saw the Canadian subsequently stripped of that result, leaving him yet to get his name on the scoreboard this year.
“Two promising races but ultimately no points,” he lamented. “It has been a difficult start to the season for me. However, the new C-Class has a lot of potential and at the Lausitzring I finally want to win.”
Mika Hakkinen also came close to a rostrum finish after stealing the second pole position of his DTM career at Oschersleben two weeks' ago, but his challenge was similarly undone by a late-race collision with an Audi driver. He is determined to make it a case of third time lucky at the Eurospeedway.
“At the Lausitzring we don't know the modified first corner yet,” the Finnish two-time Formula 1 World Champion remarked. “Therefore, Friday's tests will be even more important. I have twice finished third at this circuit and two years after my first DTM victory I finally want to end up on the top spot again this time.”