Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters 2001
By Harald Bloche - Motorsport.com

March 14, 2001 The first joint tests for Audi, Mercedes and Opel in Hockenheim, presentation and first race of the season are almost with us

Until recently, all three DTM makes have been testing mostly alone and in the south of Europe - but they are now all together back in Germany: the DTM (German Touring Car Masters) racing cars will meet for the first time on the 20th and 21st March at Hockenheim. Over a two day period, Schneider, Reuter, Abt & Co will test the Abt-Audi TT-R, Mercedes-Benz CLK and the Opel Astra V8 Coup on the Grand Prix Circuit. Two weeks later they will all meet again at Hockenheim for more tests but this time on the short circuit.

DTM presentation on the 5th April at the Hockenheim-Ring

The DTM media and guests are invited to the presentation on the 5th April at the Hockenheim-Ring. Programme as follows: 10.00 photo shooting, 10.00 onwards welcome, 11.00 press conference and show. Representatives of the DTM support races will also be present; the German Formula 3 Championship, the two ADAC junior series and the Porsche Carrera Cup. On the 22nd April, the lights will turn green for the first time as the cars take to the short circuit for the season opener.

Over the past few weeks, the DTM teams have been concentrating on testing. Opel have just returned from testing in Oschersleben with two new 2001-spec cars; Manuel Reuter and Joachim Winkelhock sharing driving duties, just two weeks after the DTM-Opel 2001 was given its first shakedown. "It is a great feeling to sit in the new car", said last year's vice-champion, Manuel Reuter, "the car has a lot of potential". The Mercedes-Benz teams have been busy testing alongside the Abt Sportsline team in Vallelunga (Italy). Four days of component and tyre tests being on the schedule for Uwe Alzen, Peter Dumbreck, Marcel Fassler, Patrick Huisman, Bernd Maylander and the DTM 2000 Champion Bernd Schneider. The Abt youngsters Mattias Ekstrom and Martin Tomczyk were there to gather experience in the car, whilst Christian Abt concentrated on component tests. Abt Sportsline plan to have the 2001 car ready for the presentation on the 5th April in Hockenheim. Team boss Hans-Jurgen Abt stressed: "The next few weeks will be quite hard for us".