DTM

Hockenheim: Mercedes-Benz race report

Mercedes-AMG/Vodafone win DTM Teams' Championship Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) won the tenth and final round of the 2002 DTM at Hockenheim. After two safety car periods and rain in the second half of the race, Bernd clinched his...

Mercedes-AMG/Vodafone win DTM Teams' Championship

Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) won the tenth and final round of the 2002 DTM at Hockenheim. After two safety car periods and rain in the second half of the race, Bernd clinched his second win of the season, the 35th of his DTM career, ahead of Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R) and Uwe Alzen (Warsteiner AMG-Mercedes). Schneider finished the Drivers' Championship in second position behind Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R) who had clinched the title a week ago at Zandvoort. The team Mercedes-AMG/Vodafone with Schneider and Jean Alesi won the Teams' Championship.

Qualification race (8 laps 36.592 km): Starting from his 18th DTM pole position, Schneider dropped to second at the start behind Aiello. On the first lap, Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) collided with Marcel Fässler (Warsteiner AMG-Mercedes); the two Mercedes-Benz drivers retired at the pits. Aiello won the qualification race ahead of Schneider and Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R).

Main event (22 laps 100.628 km): Again, Aiello won the start ahead of Schneider who held off Ekström. On lap 1, Marcel Fässler (Warsteiner AMG-Mercedes) and Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) collided after the hairpin; the Frenchman crashed heavily into the retaining wall and retired.

The safety car was deployed until the end of lap 4, and again on lap 8 and 9 -- after Martin Tomczyk (Abt-Audi TT-R) had hit the Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM of Bernd Mayländer. Almost every driver took the opportunity of the second safety car period to pit for the compulsory tyre change. Schneider dropped to fifth and improved to third one lap later.

On lap 12 rain began to fall and became heavier and heavier. On lap 15 Schneider and Ekström changed to wet tyres and two laps later, Schneider outbraked the Swede at the hairpin to take the lead. At the chequered flag, Schneider won ten seconds ahead of Ekström.

Comments

Bernd SchneiderVodafone AMG-Mercedes:

"I had hoped for rain, because we had planned for it when setting up the car. This paid off as my car's handling was fantastic. My starts weren't good and I lost time in the opening stages because I had to fight for my positions. The race was fun, I like to drive in the wet. With the right strategy we have won the Teams' Championship, this is a good end to a season of mixed emotions."

Jean Alesi Vodafone AMG-Mercedes:

"The accident in the qualification race was my fault, because I braked too late. In the second accident, I saw Marcel approaching me from the side and tried to avoid him. Then I crashed into the wall."

Uwe Alzen Warsteiner AMG-Mercedes:

"My podium position is a happy end of a difficult season."

Marcel Fässler Warsteiner AMG Mercedes:

"I was hit from behind and spun into Alesi's car. I'm glad that he wasn't injured. Despite damaged aerodynamics I continued, but I suffered from strong understeer."

Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes, Thomas Jäger finished 11th. Peter Dumbreck had a bad start in the main event and ended up one place behind his team mate.

Oase AMG-Mercedes, Bernd Mayländer was tenth on lap 7, when he was hit by Tomczyk, which was the end of his race. CEB AMG-Mercedes, Patrick Huisman retired on lap 17 after a spin and contact to the wall in front of the Mercedes grandstand.

Service 24 h AMG-Mercedes, Stefan Mücke was 20th in Qualifying, finished tenth in the qualification race and improved to eighth in the main event, his best DTM result. Christijan Albers was pushed into spins twice and came home ninth.

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"Today, Bernd Schneider was a class of his own and performed excellently under difficult conditions. We are glad to win the Teams' Championship and I thank everybody who made this happen. Five wins in ten races are a nice balance of our season."

-mercedes-

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