DTM

Istanbul: Friday practices report

Stippler sets the first fastest lap time in Turkey The first of the two Friday test sessions represented the start of the 2005 season's tenth DTM weekend. It's not only DTM's maiden appearance in Turkey alone but also at the all new Grand Prix...

Stippler sets the first fastest lap time in Turkey

The first of the two Friday test sessions represented the start of the 2005 season's tenth DTM weekend. It's not only DTM's maiden appearance in Turkey alone but also at the all new Grand Prix ciruit 'Istanbul Park'.

Frank Stippler succeeded in delivering the best start into the Turkish adventure: behind the wheel of his 2004-spec Audi A4 DTM, he set the fastest lap time of the session (1:49.0067 minutes), thus beating his second placed brand-mate, Allan McNish, by 0.059 seconds.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished third in his Opel Vectra GTS V8 and Bruno Spengler, the fastest AMG-Mercedes C-Class driver, took fourth place. Once again, the DTM field proved its extreme competitiveness with 17 cars setting lap times within one second.

The 5.338-kilometre circuit represents virgin soil for everybody: the drivers have to acquire the racing line and the engineers also haven't got sufficient data to work with. The result of this situation could be clearly seen on the time monitors.

At the beginning of the session, the fastest drivers crossed the line in about 1:52 minutes, yet, during the course of the 90 minutes, they improved by 2.5 to 3 seconds. Let's take a look at Mattias Ekström: in his third lap, the reigning champion set a 1:52.268-minute lap, while his fastest personal lap time, set later in the session, added up to 1:49.559 minutes.

At the end of the day, the Swede finished eighth. Gary Paffett, his only rival in the battle for the 2005 DTM title, finished 14th. The first outing at the new venue turned out to be a close affaire right from the start and at the end of the day, 17 cars had set lap times within a second.

The number of laps completed in the first test session also reflects the drivers' efforts to quickly learn the new track. Christian Abt and Pierre Kaffer completed the smallest number of laps (22), while Marcel Fässler was the busiest driver. He completed 32 laps, representing a total mileage of 170.816 kilometres.

Old hand Schneider the quickest

Following the Audi one-two in the morning session, it was Mercedes-Benz' turn to secure the top positions, in the second test session, with DTM Record Champion Bernd Schneider setting the fastest time of the day.

On his fastest lap, the German AMG-Mercedes C-Class driver, who resides in Monaco, lapped the Istanbul Park, Turkey's all new 5.338-kilometre Grand Prix circuit in 1:47.405 minutes, with his brand mate, championship contender Gary Paffett, finishing second, just 0.168 behind Schneider, and Manuel Reuter taking his Opel Vectra GTS V8 to third place.

Behind the fastest of the Opel drivers, two further Mercedes-Benz drivers - Jean Alesi and Bruno Spengler - finished fourth and fifth respectively. Franco-Canadian Spengler was the fastest driver of a 2004-spec car, while Frank Stippler, who been the quickest of session one, in his 2004-spec Audi A4 DTM, had to settle for twelfth place.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Marcel Fässler (both Opel) took sixth and seventh positions respectively, followed by Mercedes-Benz drivers Stefan Mücke and Jamie Green, with Tom Kristensen, the fastest of the Audi A4 DTM drivers, completing the top ten. Mattias Ekström, the reigning champion and current championship leader, had to settle for 17th place, in session two.

The second test confirmed the situation already experienced in session one: in spite of the track length of more than five kilometres, the DTM field once again proves to be extremely competitive, with the quickest and the 16th, Laurent Aiello, being split by less than a second.

Just as it was the case in the morning session, the drivers used the 90 minutes for excessive testing, with Schneider, Häkkinen, McNish and Capello completing 32 laps each.

-dtm-

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Series DTM
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Jean Alesi , Tom Kristensen , Allan McNish , Laurent Aiello , Marcel Fassler , Bernd Schneider , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Bruno Spengler , Gary Paffett , Frank Stippler , Stefan Mücke , Jamie Green