DTM

Estoril: Qualifying report

Ekström in Audi on pole position ahead Paffett and Scheider During the second run of DTM 2004 on the former Grand Prix Circuit in Estoril (Portugal), the youngsters once more played the gallery. In an Audi A4 DTM, 25-year-old Mattias Ekström...

Ekström in Audi on pole position ahead Paffett and Scheider

During the second run of DTM 2004 on the former Grand Prix Circuit in Estoril (Portugal), the youngsters once more played the gallery. In an Audi A4 DTM, 25-year-old Mattias Ekström grabbed the pole position. Second was season opening winner Gary Paffett (23) in an AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse ahead of 25-year-old Timo Scheider in an Opel Vectra GTS V8. Hence in tomorrow's race around the 4.183 km track, drivers from all three brands will start from the top three positions.

Mattias Ekström: "A technically challenging raceway"

The smile of pole position keeper Ekström was as bright as the sun over Estoril: "I really love the raceway," says the Swede, who now has already safeguarded the pole for Audi for the second time since the manufacturers comeback. "The track is technically challenging. Each curve has its peculiarities. Defeating this mixture of fast and slow corners while being on the limit is not too easy. Audi and my team did an excellent job. My A4 was simply perfect."

While Ekström was already third placed in the first run in Hockenheim, now he was cheering even more: "The old guard will have to try hard. Now the hungry youngsters are pushing." Audi Sporting Director Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich commented: "Competition is very tight, and apparently our Audi likes the raceway a lot. I am convinced that we will see a most exciting race tomorrow."

Gary Paffett: "In the race, everything is possible"

Gary Paffett, too, classified the 4.183 km track as difficult. "Especially the first corner is more than tricky," the young British said. "I am glad about my second starting position. In the first sector I made best time. Unfortunately, in the second I made a few minor mistakes, and I could not make up for that. Still, in the race, everything is possible."

Mercedes-Benz Sporting Director Norbert Haug praised the young British, who still last year had started in a one-year Mercedes, and who had right away crowned his entrance to the HWA Team with a victory in Hockenheim: "Gary made a fantastic job. Congratulations also to our competitors Audi and Opel. This was impressive. Things are getting tight for us. Three manufacturers in the first three ranks show how close performances are in DTM." Along with that, Haug stated: "Estoril is a raceway with a long history of motor sports. This makes it a good place for DTM."

Timo Scheider: "I am happy about starting position three"

The third youngster in the trio was also cheerful: "Thanks to Opel and thanks to my team. They gave me great car," said Timo Scheider. "My lap was o.k. I particularly like the last part of the track. Especially the Parabolica corner is amazing. Getting all three sectors together well is extremely difficult."

In an Opel Vectra GTS V8, former Formula 1 star Heinz-Harald too managed the jump to the top ten as eight, this race being only his second: "Today in the qualifying I learned to use my tyres better", said Frentzen. "Compared to Hockenheim, this is a 100 percent improvement. And the Super Pole went smooth, too."

Opel Sporting Director Volker Strycek said: "I am happy about Timo's position in the second starters' row. He did a good job there." Apart from that, Strycek is certain that "in the race, Heinz-Harald can catch up a few positions. Driving a best time in the last sector, he showed us how fast he is here."

Portuguese Permanent Secretary inducts "Ayrton Senna Square"

Subsequent to the DTM qualifying, right behind the main grandstands, the "Ayrton Senna Square" was inducted, in memory of the three times Formula 1 world champion who died ten years ago. Portuguese Permanent Secretary of Sports Herminio Loureiro explained: "By this, we want to honour the unforgotten Ayrton Senna, a man whom we adored as an idol, and whom we loved. Here in Estoril, 19 years ago, Ayrton Senna celebrated his first Grand Prix victory, and in those days, he lived with us here in Portugal."

-dtm-

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Timo Scheider , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Ayrton Senna , Volker Strycek , Gary Paffett