DTM-youngster Christijan Albers wins race at the Adria The first appearance of the DTM at the Adria International Raceway in Italy proved to be a huge success. Although before the race, drivers feared that overtaking would be almost impossible...
DTM-youngster Christijan Albers wins race at the Adria
The first appearance of the DTM at the Adria International Raceway in Italy proved to be a huge success. Although before the race, drivers feared that overtaking would be almost impossible on the 2,702 kilometres long track, there was plenty of action during the entire 47 laps. The race, in very warm conditions, turned out to be one of the most exciting DTM-events ever.
Dutch driver Christijan Albers (Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM) scored his maiden victory in the series, Abt-Audi drivers Mattias Ekström and Laurent Aiello claimed second and third place after a fine team performance in the closing stages of the race. Scotsman Peter Dumbreck was best-placed Opel-driver, he came home sixth.
Albers: "Very happy with first win" -- Fässler, Schneider and Alesi in top ten
24-year old Christijan Albers, a former German F3 champion, was overjoyed after his victory, the first-ever DTM race win by a Dutch driver. He said: "Today, everything was just perfect. The car, the pit stops and the strategy. Many thanks to Mercedes-Benz and the team for giving me this opportunity!"
His team-mate Bernd Schneider had led during the first half of the race, but lost out on a chance of victory when he had to come into the pits for a drive-through penalty because of speeding in the pitlane, just like fellow Mercedes driver Jean Alesi. "We don't know the exact details yet, I feel sorry for Bernd and Jean. But a big hand to Christijan, he did an excellent job today and showed that he is well worthy of a place in the factory team."
Abt-Audi's team performance pays off
Mattias Ekström was the fastest Abt-Audi driver in the field. For a while, he ranged behind his team mate Laurent Aiello, but the Frenchman discovered that Ekström was faster and let him through. Then, courtesy of near-perfect team play, they both made their way past Mercedes-Benz drivers Schneider and Fässler and claimed the remaining podium slots.
"I am really proud of them," team principal Hans-Jürgen Abt said. Mattias Ekström was equally satisfied. "It was incredibly hard today, but this result is a nice reward." Laurent Aiello showed a good recovery after having problems in yesterday's qualifying. "We made some changes on the car and they worked well," the reigning champion commented.
Opel continues on its way up
At the Italian circuit, Opel continued its upward trend. Peter Dumbreck finished sixth and scored points once again, just like Alain Menu in eighth place. Joachim Winkelhock was the third Opel driver in the top ten, he finished ninth.
Peter Dumbreck commented: "Today, it showed again that we are definitely on the pace. Initially, I could keep up with the front runners, but then, the rear tyres lost performance. Still, I am quite confident for the next round at the Nürburgring. Being fastest Opel-driver is my main goal, but a podium finish is the other thing we are striving for."