DTM

Donington: Opel qualifying notes

Opel Team Phoenix driver Manuel Reuter set pole position for tomorrow's third round of the DTM at Donington Park in Great Britain after a thrilling qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. Using wet weather tyres in the tricky conditions, Reuter...

Opel Team Phoenix driver Manuel Reuter set pole position for tomorrow's third round of the DTM at Donington Park in Great Britain after a thrilling qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. Using wet weather tyres in the tricky conditions, Reuter timed his final qualifying run to perfection to snatch pole position away from ex-Formula 1 star Jean Alesi of Mercedes-Benz in the dying seconds.

"This pole position is the result of some very hard work," said Reuter, who won Opel's first ever DTM race at Donington in 1994. "We planned to make three runs and I wanted to make the last one as late as possible. It is the perfect result."

Reuter has a lot of friends around him on the grid, as Opels filled a further three of the top six places. Alain Menu equalled Alesi's time but will start third in his Euroteam Astra V8 Coupe, while Timo Scheider (Opel Team Holzer) and Joachim Winkelhock (Opel Team Phoenix) qualified fifth and sixth respectively.

"It is always tricky in these wet conditions," said Menu, who matched Alesi's second fastest time to the thousandth of a second but will have to start behind him as he set the time later in the session. "I decided to wait because I thought the track would dry out a little near the end. Unfortunately I wasn't a little quicker, because then we would have an Opel front row."

Opel motorsport boss Volker Strycek was delighted with the performance of his cars and drivers. He is confident that their pace in qualifying can be repeated in tomorrow's races.

"I am really happy about today," said Strycek. "We have showed at Hockenheim and Zolder that we are competitive with Mercedes and Abt-Audi, and we knew that the performance was in the car. The Astra V8 Coupe works very well at Donington, so I am sure that we will be a frontrunner here on Sunday."

The other Astra Coupes of Michael Bartels (Team Holzer) and Yves Olivier (Euroteam) will start 15th and 19th respectively. Bartels, who scored Opel's last pole position at Hockenheim last year, endured an off-track excursion at Coppice corner on his flying lap, while Olivier is still suffering with bruised ribs due to his big crash at his home track of Zolder in Belgium two weeks ago.

-opel-

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Joachim Winkelhock , Manuel Reuter , Timo Scheider , Michael Bartels , Yves Olivier , Volker Strycek , Alain Menu