by Russell Atkins
TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL: CLICK HERE
To read the interview in full, click here
She may still have to open her points-scoring account in the DTM, but Susie Stoddart insists the pressure is off in 2008 – as she enters the campaign with her best chance yet to impress.
The Scot has moved across from Mücke Motorsport to Persson Motorsport for the new campaign – set to get into gear at her favourite circuit of Hockenheim this weekend – and she says she has settled in well, and is particularly enthusiastic about the opportunity to be working alongside 2005 DTM title-winner and Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes Formula One test driver Gary Paffett this year.
“Obviously whenever you join a new team it's different people you're working with and a different way of doing things,” she acknowledged, speaking to Crash.net Radio
, “and that takes a bit of adapting to. I was very happy at my old team Mücke, but I was switched over to Persson and I'm very happy there also. They had Bruno Spengler and Jamie Green before they moved up to the factory team. They try to nurture the young drivers and help them to develop, which is a great situation for me to be in.
“I've learned a lot from my team-mates, and it's a process of just improving all the time. I think there's a really good environment in my new team in which to make improvements and look forward to the year ahead.
“Gary has such a wide depth of knowledge because obviously he's been there and done it. With him being a DTM champion I can learn a lot from him as well; he knows how to win races and how to get the car set-up how you need it, so it's good to be working with him.”
Another one of Stoddart's team-mates at Mercedes-Benz this year is Ralf Schumacher, The fast lady from Oban is convinced the German's arrival can only be good news for the hyper-competitive pan-European tin-top series.
“We met at a PR day,” she recalled, “and I have to say it was a really pleasant surprise. He's a really nice, down-to-earth guy. He's the second-most successful German Formula 1 driver, and I think he's going to be strong in the DTM; he's shown good pace in the tests so far, and he's been made to feel very welcome by Mercedes-Benz. I think he's really going to enjoy himself.
“Based on how much press the DTM has attracted throughout the winter time, it's been phenomenal, and most of that is regarding Ralf. I think it's going to create huge interest, and that's great for the championship; that's what I love to see.