DTM Ready to Go

The 2005 DTM series opens this weekend at Hockenheim with possibly the strongest line up in series history

DTM Ready to Go

In a field full of champions the most significant is reigning DTM champ Mattias Ekstrom - in 2004 he made winning look easy, finishing every race in the top six to set up a cruise to the title. If this year's Audi is as good as last year's, he may well be untouchable.

Behind him was Mercedes driver Gary Paffett, who will be hoping he can go one better and claim the title this year. Paffett stepped up a level last year, effectively taking over as team leader after a slow season from Bernd Schneider - the pair will be leading the Mercedes charge in 2005.

Joining Mercedes this year, former dual World Champion Mika Hakkinen will be hoping he can come to terms with the car as quickly as possible - testing so far has been limited and understated, but the Finn is convinced that his two year lay off from racing hasn't dampened his desire to win.

Opel are in their final year in the DTM, with the team hoping that success on track will force the manufacturer to reconsider their decision to pull out. Heinz-Harald Frentzen has been very quick in testing, seeming to have come to grips with the series at last. Teamed with capricious former champ Laurent Aiello, the pair will be hoping to surprise the rest of the grid.

Ekstrom will be pushed from within his team by Tom Kristensen, seemingly now up to speed with the cars after a slow start, and Martin Tomczyk, who is hoping his race results this year will be as good as his qualifying was last year.

Allan McNish is looking to make an impact at Audi in his rookie year, while further back Pierre Kaffer and Frank Stippler have been given the chance to step up from the Porsche Supercup, and will be wanting to impress.

Finally, 2004 F3 Euroseries champion Jamie Green is the most prominent of three drivers stepping up from the series. While most expected the Briton to move up to the GP2 series this year, he decided instead to tie his career to Mercedes.

It's hard to expect too much, especially running with a non-AMG team, but Green is certainly a big talent of the future and many people will be watching to see how he comes to terms in the DTM.

2005 DTM Entry List

No. Driver Team Make 1. Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi Sport Audi A4 DTM (05) 2. Martin Tomczyk Abt Audi Sport Audi A4 DTM (05) 3. Gary Paffett AMG-Mercedes AMG-Mercedes C-Class (05) 4. Jean Alesi AMG-Mercedes AMG-Mercedes C-Class (05) 5. Tom Kristensen Abt Audi Sport Audi A4 DTM (05) 6. Allan McNish Abt Audi Sport Audi A4 DTM (05) 7. Bernd Schneider AMG-Mercedes AMG-Mercedes C-Class (05) 8. Mika Hakkinen AMG-Mercedes AMG-Mercedes C-Class (05) 9. Marcel Fassler OPC Opel Opel Vectra GTS V8 (05) 10. Heinz-Harald Frentzen OPC Opel Opel Vectra GTS V8 (05) 11. Laurent Aiello OPC Opel Opel Vectra GTS V8 (05) 12. Manuel Reuter OPC Opel Opel Vectra GTS V8 (05) 14. Christian Abt Joest Audi Sport Audi A4 DTM (04) 15. Pierre Kaffer Joest Audi Sport Audi A4 DTM (04) 16. Stefan Muecke Muecke Motorsport AMG-Mercedes C-Class (04) 17. Alexandros Margaritis Muecke Motorsport AMG-Mercedes C-Class (04) 18. Rinaldo Capello Joest Audi Sport Audi A4 DTM (04) 19. Frank Stippler Joest Audi Sport Audi A4 DTM (04) 20. Bruno Spengler Persson Mercedes AMG-Mercedes C-Class (04) 21. Jamie Green Persson Mercedes AMG-Mercedes C-Class (05) 2005 DTM Calendar April 17 Hockenheimring (D) May 1 Lausitz (D) May 15 Spa-Francorchamps (B) June 5 Brno (CZ) June 26 Oschersleben (D) July 17 Norisring (D) August 7 Nurburgring (D) August 28 Zandvoort(NL) September 18 Avignon (F) October 2 Istanbul (TUR) October 23 Hockenheimring (D)
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