The old and the new champ on the first row: first pole for Schneider
Tomorrow, the old and the new champion will be standing next to each other on the first grid row for the qualification race at the season final of the DTM at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg (DTM live on ZDF from 15.30 h). In the final qualifying of the season, three times' DTM champion Bernd Schneider claimed pole-position with the Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM from Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R), who had secured himself the DTM title 2002 at Zandvoort in The Netherlands last week. Aiello's Abt-Audi team-mates Karl Wendlinger and Mattias Ekström are in third and fourth place respectively. Alain Menu was tenth, which made him best-placed driver f an Opel Astra V8 Coupé.
Schneider: "Now, I also had the necessary bit of luck"
"This year, I already had a really good car a couple of times, but to be in front in qualifying, you also need that little bit of luck", Bernd Schneider said after his first pole-position of the season. Though he had" made a mistake in the last section at the exit of the Sachskurve", his fastest time of 1.35.803 minutes was still enough to be in front on the grid tomorrow. The two team-mates Uwe Alzen and Marcel Fässler occupied the third grid row, Jean Alesi claimed eighth place. This time, fastest diver with a 2001-spec Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM was Dutchman Christijan Albers in 16th place.
Abt-Audi: Wendlinger happy with third, all drivers in the top ten
Laurent Aiello is second alongside Schneider, but he admitted: "I was driving behind Bernd for some time, but he was significantly faster. This means that we still have some work to do before tomorrow's race." Karl Wendlinger, who equalled his practice result from the season opener five months ago, also in Hockenheim, was really happy with third place: "Finally, things worked again," the Tyrolean said. With Zandvoort-winner Mattias Ekström in fourth place, Martin Tomczyk in seventh and Christian Abt in ninth position, all drivers of the championship-winning team from the Allgäu made it into the top ten.
Opel: "We had hoped for more" -- Cecotto 15th at his DTM return
With Michael Bartels, Opel had set the fastest tine during the DTM test day on Friday. In qualifying, however, the the works-drivers from Rüsselsheim couldn't convert the potential of their Astra V8 Coupés. Alain Menu in tenth place headed the Opel-fraction that locked out tenth through 15th position. "Of course, we had hoped for more," said Opel motorsport director Volker Strycek. At his return into the DTM, Johnny Cecotto occupied a respectable 15th place on the grid." With this result, I really am more than satisfied", the Venezuelan said. At the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, he already celebrated successes in the DTM.