Preview: Street fighting in Nuremberg

One of the world's most demanding touring car races awaits the challengers for the DTM championship around the streets of Nuremberg this weekend

Preview: Street fighting in Nuremberg

The DTM's only street circuit event of the year takes place on the Norisring, which is less than 1.5-miles long, and is expected to attract almost 100,000 spectators over the weekend.

Germany's Bernd Schneider leads the championship by 25 points from AMG Mercedes team mates Marcel Fassler of Switzerland and Peter Dumbreck from Scotland.

"The Norisring is more difficult than it looks because of constant changes between acceleration and hard braking before the turns," said Schneider. "The bumpy track surface makes applying the brakes gently more difficult, especially for the two hairpin curves which are approached at high speed. In addition, the weather is often very hot in Nuremberg in the summer - so you need to be in good condition. I'm expecting an exciting three-way fight between us, the Audi and the ever-improving Opels."

Nurburgring winner Laurent Aiello has dropped to fourth in the standings for the Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R squad due to missing the Sachsenring round while on duty for the Audi Le Mans team. The Frenchman is confident of redressing the balance this weekend despite the fact his race car was wrecked by Kris Nissen's high-speed crash at Sachsenring as has been rebuilt for this race.

"I have good memories of Norising, because I won the STW Cup race there in 1998," said Aiello. "The track puts an extra emphasis on the tuning of the chassis. We will operate on Friday in the test sessions with total concentration. The first corner is very important, because things happen there very quickly. In 1997 I was taken out there. The best means to prevent that is to be on pole position."

Opel's Joachim Winkelhock, who shared the honours here last year with Schneider, hopes the Ruesselsheim marque will continue its steadily-improving form. He is under no illusions, however, about how tough it will be out there on Sunday: "Forty-four laps, with the typical heat at the Norisring due to the extreme brake applications and the many bumps, are a genuine torture."

To add a further spanner to the works, the weather forecast is for hot and humid conditions with a high chance of rain showers.

Away from the action on track, the weekend's entertainment begins with a football tournament between mechanics, engineers and drivers from the teams of Abt Sportsline, Mercedes and Opel on Friday night. Abt has entered drivers Christian Abt, Mattias Ekström and Martin Tomczyk, Opel will field Michael Bartels, Timo Scheider and Winkelhock, while Mercedes-Benz will be represented by Christijan Albers, Fässler, Patrick Huisman, Thomas Jäger, Schneider and the injury-prone Dumbreck.

Autosport.com staff are on the team sheet of the DTM Press XI and, rest assured, we'll let you know if the DTM drivers are even more rubbish at football than we are...

On Saturday evening, pop band Fool's Garden will give an open air concert on the main straight. Other highlights include a demonstration of the Le Mans-winning Audi R8, a parade of historic DTM-cars, a 20 minutes demonstration event with four Ferrari Formula 1 cars of the Nineties and a doughnut competition between three DTM drivers.

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Main race: Schneider, who else?

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