DTM

Hockenheimring: Qualifying report

Bernd Schneider claims first pole position of the season Bernd Schneider is the first pole-sitter of the 2003 DTM-season. At the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, the Mercedes-Benz-driver set a fastest lap time of 1.35.141 minutes, which will...

Bernd Schneider claims first pole position of the season

Bernd Schneider is the first pole-sitter of the 2003 DTM-season. At the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, the Mercedes-Benz-driver set a fastest lap time of 1.35.141 minutes, which will allow him to start tomorrow's race from first place on the grid. Audi-junior Martin Tomczyk surprisingly qualified on second place. Swiss Marcel Fässler (Mercedes-Benz) and reigning champion Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi) are completing the first two rows on the grid. Opel-drivers Manuel Reuter and Peter Dumbreck also drove their brand-new Opel Astra V8 Coupés into the top ten.

The new qualifying-format turned out to be highly exciting. The timed practice of approximately 30 minutes for all the drivers is followed by the "Super-Pole" single-lap qualifying of the ten fastest drivers. During the timed session, light rain set in, but in the closing stages, the track became dry again. Eventually, this was the advantage of those drivers who had not yet completed their total allocation of nine laps. Among them was Laurent Aiello, who set the fastest time in the final minute and thus became the last driver to start for the Super-Pole-session. In this single-lap qualifying, Aiello locked up under braking, which cost him his leading position, he ended up fourth.

Pole-Sitter Schneider: "You must give everything, there's no safety margin"

Bernd Schneider convinced with an error-free lap. "I like this new form of qualifying, because it allows me to concentrate just on my car and myself. You must give everything and there is no safety margin," Schneider said. "I am happy that Laurent had a mistake on his lap, because in the Motodrom-section, he was half a second faster than me."

Mercedes-Benz motorsport director Norbert Haug is also convinced by the new format: "This version could be a good suggestion for Formula 1." He summed up: "The competition is right and in the paddock, thousands of fans have already been enjoying the DTM."

Junior Tomczyk: "Take it easy in the race and finish it with no mistakes"

21-year old Martin Tomczyk, Audi-junior alongside DTM-novice Peter Terting (19) this year, was best-placed Abt-driver in second place. "I am very happy that I could get this lap together today. Now, I will think of a strategy for tomorrow's race. I will take it easy and, if possible, make it through without any mistakes, just like my fastest lap of today", the driver from Rosenheim said. His team principal Hans-Jürgen Abt was happy as well: "Five Abt-Audis among the first ten, we can be happy with that. Congratulations to Martin, who, contrarily to our other drivers, completed an error-free lap."

Manuel Reuter: "I believe in the new technology team"

From the Opel-drivers, new signing Peter Dumbreck (GB) and Manuel Reuter had made it into the Super-Pole, Reuter being the first to go out on the track. "After the rain, it was difficult to judge how much grip there would be, so I was careful. But I am very happy with my grid position, as our cars are absolutely new. Taking that into account, they ran very, very well. I believe in our new technology team and I know: we are in time and we will get it done." Opel motorsport director Volker Strycek joked: "Given the fact that our cars have just come back from the painters, they have been really good out here."

-dtm-

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Series DTM
Drivers Laurent Aiello , Marcel Fassler , Peter Dumbreck , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Manuel Reuter , Norbert Haug , Volker Strycek , Hans-Jurgen Abt