Finale furioso: great fights and wild action, the DTM ends the 2000-season
Opel-driver Uwe Alzen wins both races
By Harald Bloche - Motorsport.com
Hockenheim. Opel-driver Uwe Alzen (Opeel Team Holzer) won the two final races of the DTM 2000 at Hockenheim. Alzen improved his total number of wins to three and claimed sixth place in the final championship standings. In the first race, Alzen took the lead after a collision with his fellow- Opel-driver Manuel Reuter (Opel Team Phoenix) and was not to lose it until the end of the race. The second heat saw Alzen leading from lights to flag. "I am really sorry that Manuel retired because of my overtaking manoeuvre. But apart from that, I am very happy that I could end the season with a double victory for Opel."
After a sensationel drive, second position in the first race went to Mercedes-driver Bernd Schneider (D2 AMG Mercedes), who had already secured the title. But in the first corner of the second race, he became the victim of a collision with Michael Bartels (Opel Team Phoenix), so that the race ended with the first fourfold victory for Opel this season. "It was one of the toughest races of my career, but also one of the most beautiful", Schneider said, "Never before did I have to fight that hard, but it was fun. Some actions however were a lttle bit beyond the limit." Local hero Joachim Winkelhock (Opeel Team Holzer), who had finished third in the first race, came home in second place after the second race.
In spite of two retirements, Manuel Reuter secured the vice-championship. After Reuter had been attacked by Alzen in the first race, he collided with Mercedes-driver Thomas Jager in the second race and hit the barrier hard. His head was hit at the impact and he had to be taken to the medical centre for a check-up. However, he did not have any injuries.
Klaus Ludwig (Warsteiner AMG Mercedes) retained third position in the championship, although he had to drive into the pitlane for a stop-and-go penalty while in good position in the first race. On the starting grid, his car had not been put on its tyres in time. In the second race, Germany's most successful touring car driver was pushed into the gravel trap by Kris Nissen's Abt-Audi TT-R.
Opel motorsport director Volker Strycek summed up: "For sure, I will have a word with my drivers. They have been attacking too hard today. For the rest it is positive for Opel. We have won the first race and took the first to fourth place in the second race. Opel has won the vice-championship in the drivers' and teams' standings, which is a succes. With a little less aggression from our drivers, it could still have been better today." Mercedes motorsport director Norbert Haug was critical too: "A couple of actions on the track have not pleased me at all. I would like to congratulate Bernd once more, because he has played a very big role in Mercedes winning both titles."
Mixed feelings for the Bavarian Abt-team: in the first race, Laurent Aiello dropped back, as he had to avoid the spinning car of Christian Menzel (Opel Team Irmscher). Menzel himself hit the tyre wall at high speed after a collision with James Thompon's Abt-Audi TT-R. Aiello and Christian Abt had to retire. The coolers of their four litres V8s were blocked by the leafs that were all over the track on the main straight into the forest. In the second race, Thompson finished ninth and collected two more championship points for the Bavarian privateer team. In the closing stages of the race, the Brit had a nice fight with Mercedes-driver Thomas Jager. Team director Hans-Jurgen Abt analysed: "Fact is, that it was great fun to be part of this excellent series. Next year we will be back, but then we will go for the top."