Aiello and Audi part company

In what is turning out to be a busy week in DTM, Laurent Aiello has parted company with Abt-Audi, the team he won the 2002 championship with. Audi had a comparatively poor season in 2003 and Aiello only managed fourth in the title standings as Mercedes dominated the show. The Frenchman has his sights set on Opel for 2004.

Laurent Aiello.
Photo by Nikki Reynolds.
"I am definitely not going to drive for Audi next year, and I am talking to Opel to try and find a solution," said Aiello, according to Autosport. "I really hope we can reach a deal, although nothing is done yet. I have been with Audi for the last four years, and now it is time to change."

"I had contact with Opel last year, but, although we were happy to talk, my choice was to stay with Abt because we had just won the championship. Now it is time for me to change manufacturers."

Opel has Peter Dumbreck and Manuel Reuter signed for next season and it was announced this week that Mercedes' Marcel F?ssler has quit the HWA team and will drive for Opel in 2004. The manufacturer admitted it has been interested in Aiello in the past but would not confirm any current discussions with the Frenchman.

Audi has confirmed its 2004 line up as Christian Abt, Mattias Ekstrom, Tom Kristensen, Martin Tomczyk, Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro.