Two podium spots after furious overtaking race for Abt Sportsline It just was Christian Abt's day. In the third round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) at Donington, the driver from Kempten charged through the entire field from 20th on...
Two podium spots after furious overtaking race for Abt Sportsline
It just was Christian Abt's day. In the third round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) at Donington, the driver from Kempten charged through the entire field from 20th on the grid and claimed second place after his furious overtaking race. Mattias Ekström showed an equally impressive performance: the 23-year old Swede started from the pit lane into the race and still made it home in third spot. With his fifth place, Karl Wendlinger completed the success for the team from Bavaria, while Martin Tomczyk and Laurent Aiello weren't classified at the DTM's guest appearance in England.
Without any doubt, Martin Tomczyk from Rosenheim had the worst luck of the day. Having started from fourth place, the youngster, only 20 years old, delighted the more than 20,000 spectators at Donington Park with two great starts and spectacular duels with former F1-driver and eventual winner, Jean Alesi. In the qualification race already, the stalwart and the junior battled for the lead over many laps and in the main race, they continued their fight. Tomczyk's heart-warming race, however, was over after three laps, when the Hasseröder-yellow Abt-Audi TT-R was pushed into retirement by an opponent.
Christian Abt, who had to start into the race from 20th on the grid after a hard qualifying, experienced an almost incredible race day. Cool and without losing too many time in the overtaking manoeuvres, the driver from Kempten made it through the entire field and eventually finished second, like he had already done in the race in Zolder. During the test and practice days, Chrstian Abt still was searching for the ideal line on the highly-demanding track near Nottingham, but on race day, the 1999 STW-champion was in excellent shape and for the entire duration of the race, he didn't make the slightest mistake.
The same applied to Mattias Ekström, who finished the qualification race in ninth place, but then had to start the main race from the pit lane after extended repair works on his blue Abt-Audi TT-R. Unaffected, the Swede charged to the front and finally claimed third position. With this result, 23-year old Ekström has been on the podium again after the DTM-round at Hockenheim and is third in the championship standings.
A podium finish was also within reach for Karl Wendlinger. Until a few laps before the end, the Austrian was within striking distance of the podium in fifth place, even before Abt and Ekström, but then, the driver from Kufstein dropped back after a collision, but still scored two points for fifth place. Laurent Aiello had a week-end to forget, scoring a total of three stop and go penalties and eventually being excluded for having failed to come in the last time. Aiello still leads the championship with 25 points from Jean Alesi and Mattias Ekström, Christian Abt is in fourth place from Martin Tomczyk in sixth position. Before the next round, Karl Wendlinger is ninth.
Quotes after the race
Laurent Aiello (18th place / not classified):
"For me, this was just a week-end to forget. If I can find anything positive at all, it is just the fact, that champion Bernd Schneider didn't score any points either. And our team has achieved another great result: in every race, we are on the podium, and I will do everything to be there myself again as well in the next race."
Martin Tomczyk (2nd place / retired):
"I had a good start and great fights with Jean Alesi, which were really enjoyable. Unfortunately, I was then pushed into retirement on lap five. Too bad, as I was feeling really well today and I had a perfect car to make it on the podium. But these things can happen in motorsport; at least, I got an apology."
Karl Wendlinger (7th place/5th place):
"It is too bad that I missed out on a podium finish because of a collision. We had some troubles in testing and practice with finding the right set-up for Donington, but with hard work, we charged to the front again."
Christian Abt (12th place/2nd place):
"That was an incredible race! Of course, I had planned to attack and make it to the front as far as possible. But nevertheless, I didn't try too much and didn't take any unnecessary risks, that worked out perfectly. Today's second place is like a victory."
Mattias Ekström (9th place/3rd place):
"When I had to start from the pit lane, I didn't think about the podium for one second. I could hardly believe it as my team informed me of my position during every lap, and the figures on the board became lower and lower. Three races, two podium finishes, another one in the qualification race at Zolder - this season is just great."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team boss):
"Today, our team has shown character once again and didn't give up after the poor result in qualifying. Everybody kept fighting until the end and gave everything for the success. Great, that we got the reward for it. I feel sorry for Martin, who probably would have been driving the race of his life today. But I am certain that his time will come. Today, my drivers have given me the most exciting one and a half hours on the pit wall so far this season."