Double victory for Opel-driver Manuel Reuter -
Mercedes-driver Bernd Schneider becomes the first champion of the new DTM
By Harald Bloche - Motorsport.com
Nurburgring. In thick fog, a second and fourth place in the Eifelrennen at the Nurburgring were enough for Bernd Schneider (D2-AMG Mercedes) to secure the first championship's title of the new DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) before the final round in Hockenheim, October 29. His main rival of the title, Manuel Reuter (Opel Team Phoenix) achieved a double win in the 14th and 15th race of the DTM - his second of the season. Reuter almost has secured runner-up spot in the title race. Klaus Ludwig, who came on equal points' standings to the Nurburgring, had a black week-end. 17th in qualifying. 12th in the first race and retired after a collision in the second race. Ludwig dropped to third in the points.
"Being the first champion of the new DTM is quite something special, even more so, as I also was the last DTM-champion back in 1995", said Bernd Schneider. "Winning the season opener in Hockenheim already was like a dream coming true. But then the season had lights and lows. In the second race today, I had a slight problem, as the rear suspension was bent in the collision between Alzen and myself. The fight with Uwe was fair, but after that, it was hard work."
Fastst man in qualifying, Joachim Winkelhock (Opel Team Holzer) had taken the lead in the first race, but half way through, he let Reuter, his fellow Opel-driver with title hopes, past. "A big hand to Jo, as he could have won the race today. He is a great sportsman", said Reuter. "In the first race, I had an electrical failure, which we could solve during the repair break. There, we also made a small change to the car and then it was much better on the track."
Opel sport director Volker Strycek: "Congratulations to Bernd Schneider and the AMG Team, who have claimed the championship today. Of course I am well pleased with our double win. Especially, as the entire Opel-crew has shown that the team-spirit is very important for us", Strycek continues: "Even if the title race has been decided, I promise the fans, that we will not let down at the final in Hockenheim - and will provide some exciting action for sure".
The Bavarian Abt-Team scored further points: like in the previous race in Oschersleben, Laurent Aiello made it into the top ten with his yellow Abt- Audi TT-R. First, he was ninth, then he was seventh. During the better part of the second race, Aiello was even in fifth place, but couldn't bring it home - which he had managed in Oschersleben.