19 May 2017
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FIA World Touring Car Championship racers will face a challenge like no other next week (25-27 May) when they try to tame the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife – venue of WTCC Race of Germany and ranked by many as the toughest track on the planet.
Measuring 25.378 kilometres in length and packed with turns, climbs, dips and flat-out straights, the Nürburgring Nordschleife is the ultimate test of driver bravery and skill and one of the highlights of the 10-event WTCC campaign.
Two three-lap blasts await some of international touring car racing’s finest and with the current WTCC season the most open for nearly a decade – there have been five winners from the first six races – a thrilling spectacle is in store in the Eifel mountains next Saturday morning.
Sir Jackie Stewart, a three-time winner of the German Grand Prix on the Nordschleife, remembers the circuit with plenty of trepidation. “I called it the Green Hell because that’s what it was. Every time I left my home I wondered if I’d be coming back so it was a seriously threatening race and I don’t think there is a single driver who went into it thinking this is for pussycats. You’d be going towards the Karusell, up a steep hill and there was one high tree you aimed at because the Karussel was down a dip and you didn’t know where to turn. If I stayed on that one fur tree I got the lock on just right and I went over the rise into the Karussel.”
José María López, who scored three WTCC wins at the Nordschleife during his triple title-winning stint, said: “It was the most amazing race of the year. Everything is special about this track and it’s different from anything you have experienced before and to be able to win here was something else. It’s something amazing to be flat out on this track. You have jumps, high-speed corners, a long straight, a long lap, it’s amazing.”
Apart from López, Yvan Muller is the only other driver to have won in the WTCC on the Nordschleife, a feat he achieved in 2015 albeit by a slender margin of 0.173s. Having retired at the end of last season and now development driver and consultant for Volvo’s factory team, Cyan Racing, Muller is only too aware of the Nordschleife’s unforgiving nature when he slammed into Tiago Monteiro’s Honda in last year’s race after the Portuguese driver had crashed out following tyre failure.
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