Mercedes-Benz claimes first DTM season win in front of record crowd‏

Gary Paffett and Jamie Green score a 1-2 for Mercedes-Benz in DTM season openerMattias Ekström claims third for Audi, Andy Priaulx is best-placed BMW driver in sixthNew Hankook tyres show top performance paired with excellent consistency and maximum safety The DTM is and remains the most popular international touring car series. In total, 142,000 spectators celebrated the season opener at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, 71,000 fans established a new record crowd for a DTM season opener on Sunday. After an action-packed race, Gary Paffett claimed victory, securing the sixth straight race win for Mercedes-Benz at Hockenheim. Having started from sixth place, the Brit overtook his compatriot Jamie Green for the lead on lap 15 and was the first to cross the finish line after 182.960 kilometres. With his second place, Green completed the 1-2 for Mercedes-Benz.Mattias Ekström was the best-placed Audi driver in third place. The fastest driver from qualifying was in front until the fifth lap, but was then overtaken by the considerably quicker Mercedes-Benz drivers Paffett and Green after having locked up under braking. After a great qualifying on Saturday, DTM-returnee BMW had plenty of misfortune in the race. Dirk Werner, who started third, dropped back after a collision and eventually finished 17th. Reigning DTM champion Martin Tomczyk and Bruno Spengler retired after collisions. The only BMW driver to score points was Andy Priaulx in sixth place.The newly developed Hankook tyres had a successful premiere on the first race weekend. The Ventus Race, significantly bigger and wider compared to last year, provided a top performance in qualifying and in the race. The construction of the new tyres mastered the high kerbstones, taken at top speed, in an equally convincing manner as in 2011. In spite of the high track temperatures, the Hankook tyres provided all drivers with plenty of grip, consistency and safety at the highest level.

Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz): “It was a sensational race. At times, we were more than 20 seconds ahead of Audi, the result is incredible for Mercedes. The Hankook tyres were fantastic. Because they are wider and bigger, they provide massive grip. They were incredibly stable and consistent, in spite of a long final stint, we didn’t have any problems whatsoever.”Mattias Ekström (Audi):“Of course, when starting from pole, you want to win. But our pace wasn’t enough, Gary and Jamie were in a class of their own. The tyres lasted very well, Mercedes has the same and was considerably quicker. Apparently, they have done their homework better than we have.”Andy Priaulx (BMW): “Today in the race, it was better than in qualifying. The car ran impeccably, the tyres were great throughout the race. That gives us self-confidence for the future. I was really impressed by the Hankook tyres, they are very consistent and support my driving style. I enjoyed driving with them.”Norbert Haug, head of motorsport (Mercedes-Benz): “The Hankook tyres have passed their litmus test. It is a new tyre dimension, good work has been done and apparently, we have understood the tyres well and got the best out of them.”