DTM

Hockenheim: Friday practices report

Opel-driver Michael Bartels fastest on test day In the final minute, Michael Bartels set the fastest time with his Opel Astra V8 Coupé during the test day before the season final of the DTM at the "Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg". At the ...

Opel-driver Michael Bartels fastest on test day

In the final minute, Michael Bartels set the fastest time with his Opel Astra V8 Coupé during the test day before the season final of the DTM at the "Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg". At the re-constructed Grand Prix-track, the driver from Plettenberg drove the fastest lap time with 1.37.099 minutes, which made him 0.138 seconds faster than second-placed Martin Tomczyk (Abt-Audi TT-R). Bartels was very satisfied with his performance, but he added: "It is very nice to be in front today, but of course, it really counts tomorrow in qualifying." Bartels had claimed pole-position for last year's season final at the long track.

Fastest Mercedes-Benz-driver during the test day was Jean Alesi in third place. "I am quite satisfied. As far as the set-up is concerned, we aren't 100 percent there yet where we want to be, but all in all, we are well sorted and that makes me quite confident for tomorrow's qualifying," the Frenchman said. Timo Scheider (Opel Astra V8 Coupé) was fourth from the two Mercedes-Benz-drivers Bernd Schneider and Uwe Alzen.

The new lay-out of the track with its Parabolika of approximately one kilometre was greeted with enthusiasm by all drivers. "Car and driver are feeling well here," said the fastest driver of the day, Michael Bartels. Abt-Audi-driver Mattias Ekström, who won the DTM-race at Zandvoort in The Netherlands one week ago, agreed: "The hairpin is just great. We will get to see a lot of action there during the week-end, because you have to brake really hard there, and you can also outbrake other drivers. Moreover, you can really take a risk at that location, because the run-off areas are wide enough."

With Manuel Reuter and Timo Scheider, two Opel-works-drivers occupied the first two places after the rainy test session in the morning from the two Abt-Audi-drivers Mattias Ekström and Martin Tomczyk. Opel novice Johnny Cecotto, who is making his comeback in the DTM after some ten years, showed a strong performance during the first session: on a wet track, he occupied 14th place. In the afternoon, things were more difficult for him in the dry. "The most difficult thing for me is getting used to the braking points you can reach with the carbon brakes", Cecotto said. "This morning in the rain, the difference wasn't that big, but in the dry, it was. But I am confident that I will do better tomorrow."

-dtm-

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