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Tough test for the Hankook DTM race tyre in the potential heat of Misano

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The 4.226-kilometre racetrack in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna has ten right corners and six left-handers and, with its many changes in direction, is one of the slower DTM circuits. The longest straight is 565 metres long, giving the drivers little time, in which to employ the full potential of their 4-cylinder turbo engines, which generate over 600 hp. As Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli is predominantly used for motorcycle races, the kerbs are flat, meaning the construction of the Hankook race tyre will be put under relatively little strain.

It is a different story for the running surface on the Ventus Race. The asphalt in Misano is aggressive, meaning that high track temperatures and this year’s more powerful DTM cars can result in a high degree of strain. “We are assuming that the temperature of the running surface will be significantly higher than in Hockenheim and Zolder, which means that the desired drop-off effect will kick in earlier than usual. As such, the teams should go for a set-up that provides the right level of performance, but without overworking the tyres. We saw in Zolder what the Hankook race tyre is capable of in combination with the new DTM cars. For this reason, we believe that the Ventus Race will also cope with the potential heat in Misano,” says Thomas Baltes, the Hankook race engineer responsible for the DTM.

It will also be important for the teams to use the seven sets of new Hankook slicks at their disposal wisely over the course of the race weekend, which comprises free practice, two qualifying sessions and the races themselves. This will depend largely upon whether the teams opt for a two-stop strategy in both races. Thomas Baltes: “As well as the set-up of the car, there are many other parameters that can influence the performance of the tyre and, in turn, the strategy. You can start the race on old tyres and then finish on two sets of fresh tyres if you go for a two-stop strategy. That will depend on how warm it is in free practice and qualifying, and whether the drivers can potentially look after the tyres a little better. However, the deciding factor is, and will remain, the driver. As we have seen in the DTM races so far, some drivers are able to cope well with the desired drop-off of the Ventus Race, while others struggle.”

Last year, guest starter Alessandro Zanardi (BMW) produced an eye-catching performance, finishing a sensational fifth in the Italian rain in the Sunday night race. This weekend, it is the turn of motorcycle racer Andrea Dovizioso to make his DTM debut in the Audi RS 5 DTM. The Italian MotoGP star and two-time runner-up in the world championship, who rides for the Ducati factory team, familiarised himself with the 600-hp DTM car during the two-day tests at the circuit on the Adriatic coast. Dovizioso is looking forward to “racing in such a fiercely-competitive series as the DTM”.

The support programme for the DTM weekend in Misano also features the W Series and the Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup. Premium tyre maker Hankook also supplies both these series exclusively with race tyres.

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