DTM

Estoril: Mercedes qualifying report

Gary Paffett (C-KLasse AMG-Mercedes) will start Sunday's second round of the 2004 DTM at Estoril, Portugal from the first row on the grid. Two weeks after his first DTM race win, Paffett set a time of 1:34.261 and missed his first pole position in...

Gary Paffett (C-KLasse AMG-Mercedes) will start Sunday's second round of the 2004 DTM at Estoril, Portugal from the first row on the grid. Two weeks after his first DTM race win, Paffett set a time of 1:34.261 and missed his first pole position in the championship by 0.222sec. First on the grid is Mattias Ekström (Audi A4 DTM) with a 1:34.039.

After the exciting single-lap qualifying for Super Pole, the four Audis, two Opels and four Mercedes-Benzs were within 1.058sec. Christijan Albers (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes) qualified sixth fastest with a 1:34.700 lap ahead of Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes/1:34.745). Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) was ninth with 1:34.907.

In the qualifying before Super Pole, Mattias Ekström posted the fastest lap of 1:34.100. At first, Hockenheim race winner Paffett was second fastest, then Albers took his position. Bernd Schneider improved to seventh only on his third and final run so that he could participate in the single-lap qualifying. The first 13 cars -- four Audis, five Opels and four Mercedes-Benz -- were within one second.

Jarek Janis (Sonax Dark Dog AMG-Mercedes) was the fastest driver of a last year's car. In his second DTM race he qualified 17th with a 1:35.714. Stefan Mücke (CLK AMG-Mercedes/19th) and Markus Winkelhock (Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes/21st) missed better positions after short offs both on their second runs.

Gary Paffett (AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse), second (1:34.261):

"I'm happy about second place on the grid. The first sector was good and I set the fastest time here. Unfortunately I made some small mistakes in the second sector and I was not able to catch up in the third part. However, I know everything can happen in the race."

Christijan Albers (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes), sixth (1:34.700):

"I'm not satisfied with my performance today. I didn't manage to maximise the tyres' performance. Especially in the first sector I suffered from understeer. However I'm confident for the race when everything can look different again. In Hockenheim I started tenth and finished second."

Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes), seventh (1:34.745):

"During qualifying we modified the set-up which helped me to improve to a top-ten position. But I still had problems in the third sector. Throughout the weekend I was not able to find a good line which I hopefully will manage in Sunday morning's warm-up."

Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes), ninth (1:34.907):

"I am disappointed, because I was not able to find a good set-up so far this weekend. In tomorrow's race I will do my best to improve."

Jarek Janis (Sonax Dark Dog AMG-Mercedes), 17th (1:35.714):

"I'm happy to be fastest driver of a last year's car. Our team did a great job and I hope to further improve in Sunday's race."

Stefan Mücke (CLK AMG-Mercedes), 19th (1:36.159 ):

"I am not happy, because I expected a better result after our experience in Free Practice. I aborted my second run after an off and on my third run I got stuck in traffic."

Bernd Mayländer (CLK AMG-Mercedes), 20th (1:36.193):

"I became a member of the Mercedes-Benz driver line-up only shortly before the start of the season. Therefore I missed the Estoril test in March and lack experience at this challenging track."

Markus Winkelhock (Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes), 21st (1:36.233):

"I drove safely during my first run. Afterwards I had a short off and then I once locked the rear wheels under braking, therfore I was not able to improve."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"Three manufacturers in the first three positions prove how competitive the DTM is. Gary Paffett did a good job at this technically challenging track. With their top-ten positions Christijan, Bernd and Jean also have a good basis for the race. Congratulations to Audi on first place and to Opel on third position. It will be difficult to beat them both tomorrow, but with all our four C-Class cars among the top ten we are in good shape."

-mercedes-

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Bernd Schneider , Bernd Maylander , Christijan Albers , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Gary Paffett , Markus Winkelhock , Stefan Mücke , Jarek Janis