Bernd Schneider Wins and Takes Championship Lead German Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) won the fourth round of the 2003 DTM at the EuroSpeedway. After 35 laps in ambient temperatures of more than 30 degrees Celsius, Schneider finished...
Bernd Schneider Wins and Takes Championship Lead
German Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) won the fourth round of the 2003 DTM at the EuroSpeedway. After 35 laps in ambient temperatures of more than 30 degrees Celsius, Schneider finished 6.8sec ahead of Scotsman Peter Dumbreck (Opel Astra V8 Coupé). Sweden’s Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R) came home third, so that all three brands in the DTM and three nations were represented on the podium for the first time this year.
With his second win of the season, Schneider took the overall lead in the championship with 29 points whilst Christijan Albers (ExpressService AMG-Mercedes) dropped from first to second overall with a seventh-place finish. A crowd of 62,000 attended the event. Starting from his 20th DTM career pole position, Bernd took the lead and defended it for all but four laps after his two compulsory pit stops on laps 7 and 21. With his 37th DTM victory, Schneider took the lead in the winners’ list ahead of Klaus Ludwig with 36 wins.
Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) started eighth and was seventh after the first lap. He pitted on laps 9 and 21 and was fifth afterwards. He defended his position until the chequered flag.
Marcel Fässler (AMG-Mercedes) had qualified fourth fastest and improved to third after the start. Exiting the pits after his second stop on lap 20, he hit the Opel Astra V8 Coupé of fellow Swiss Alain Menu. Fässler had a short off on the grass and lost several positions. As a result of the collision, he received a stop-and-go penalty which was the reason for him pitting a third time on lap 24. Fässler finished tenth.
Vodafone AMG-Mercedes, Bernd Schneider:
“A perfect race in which everything worked out great. Also our pit stops were excellent. I made a good start and first saved my tyres. When I realised that I could push harder, I only had to keep the car on the road and make it to the finish.”
ExpressService AMG-Mercedes, Christijan Albers:
“My car ran well and our team did a good job. However, due to my ninth grid position I was stuck in traffic. After my second pit stop, I was less than a second behind Alain Menu. Although he was a bit faster than me on the straights, I always closed the gap when we were in the infield, but I was not able to pass him.”
AMG-Mercedes, Marcel Fässler:
“My car handled well and I had good grip today. When I exited the pits after my second stop, I could not see Alain Menu due to the angle. Therefore I was not able to avoid the collision.”
AMG-Mercedes, Jean Alesi:
“I’m quite satisfied with my fifth place. After my first pit stop I had a good fight with Laurent Aiello which was fun. Thanks to the good work of our team I was fifth after my second stop”.
Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes, Thomas Jäger was 14th and best driver with last year’s model of the AMG-Mercedes CLK. Bernd Mayländer came home 16th. ARTA AMG-Mercedes, Katsutomo Kaneishi finished 17th. He came into the pits a third time on lap 27 for a drive-through penalty after pit-lane-speeding during his second pit stop.
Service 24 h AMG-Mercedes driver Stefan Mücke pitted after the formation lap due to a broken rod at the right rear suspension. He was not able to join the race. Gary Paffett’s second DTM race ended with a 15th-place finish.
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“Today, we saw a great DTM festival in front of a fantastic crowd with an excellent performance by Bernd Schneider and his team. Congratulations to Opel on Peter Dumbreck’s second place. With Abt-Audi and Mattias Ekström in third place, all three brands were represented on the podium.”