DTM

Lausitz: Round four preview

4th round DTM EuroSpeedway Lausitz, June 6-8, 2003 DTM at the EuroSpeedway: premiere at the banked corner A special challenge is awaiting the drivers during the fourth season round of the DTM at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz (June 6 till 8): for ...

4th round DTM EuroSpeedway Lausitz, June 6-8, 2003
DTM at the EuroSpeedway: premiere at the banked corner

A special challenge is awaiting the drivers during the fourth season round of the DTM at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz (June 6 till 8): for the first time, the banked corner after the main straight, referred to as "Turn 1", has been integrated into the track lay-out of the Grand Prix-circuit. Thus, the 470 hp strong cars of Abt-Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Opel are driving almost two thirds of the unique tri-oval.

After his second victory in a row, Dutchman Christijan Albers (Mercedes-Benz) is coming to the Lausitz as the points leader. Fellow-Mercedes-driver Marcel Fässler is second (21 points). Bernd Schneider (Mercedes-Benz) at 19 and Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi) with 18 points are within striking distance, followed Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi, eleven points) and Peter Dumbreck (Opel, ten points).

One week before the race, a DTM action day enthused some 10,000 spectators in the city centre of Berlin, with driving demonstrations and race taxi rides along the Potsdamer Platz. Next to three DTM cars and drivers Alain Menu, Stefan Mücke and Peter Terting, drivers and cars from the DTM partner series Formula BMW ADAC Championship, ADAC VW Lupo Cup, Trofeo Vodafone Maserati and Porsche Carrera Cup were involved as well.

A strong junior: Mercedes-Benz-driver Albers to the Lausitz as the points leader

With only 24-year old Albers and 26-year old Fässler, two drivers of the younger DTM-generation are in the lead of the drivers' standings. But the points leader remains realistic: "Stalwarts like my team-mate Bernd Schneider may never be underestimated", says Albers. "I am certain: he will be winning again."

Mercedes-Benz motorsport-director Norbert Haug confirms: "I wouldn't write off the so-called "old hands" like Bernd or Jean Alesi. The two of them are always good for a strong performance. On the other hand, I am very happy that our youngsters are doing so well." Alesi is looking forward to the banked corner: "There will be plenty opportunities for overtaking coming out of the slipstream."

Manuel Reuter (Opel): "Like one would be driving towards a wall"

Right after last year's Lausitzring-round, Opel-driver Manuel Reuter already completed a test at Turn 1 of the tri-oval. "It is the fastest corner on the DTM-calendar, and its width is impressive, too," Reuter says. "Coming into the corner, you can chose from several lines, but you don't see the exit. It is like one would be driving towards a wall. Especially at the exit, Turn 1 becomes very narrow. Initially, you feel like there is plenty of room, but then, at the exit, there is the wall. With 21 DTM-cars driving through the corner, it will be a huge thing, surely highly interesting for the fans."

In the Lausitz, Opel motorsport director Volker Strycek would like to repeat the recent achievement in the Eifel where Opel won the 24-hour race with the Astra V8 Coupé: "I expect us to be contenders for pole and victory at the Lausitzring."

Christian Abt (Abt-Audi): "One will be needing courage at the banked corner"

Abt-Audi-driver Christian Abt is convinced: "The banked corner will be a thrill. Also, because we have to go for a harsh compromise in the set-up of the cars. At normal tracks, you need relatively much camber on the wheels in order to be quick at the corners. At a banked corner, however, you need little camber. So it will be a difficult thing for everyone. Probably, finding the very best compromise has never been more important in a DTM-race. One will certainly be needing courage at the banked corner, but courage always has been my piece of cake."

Team principal Hans-Jürgen Abt is optimistic -- after all, with three podium finishes from three races, Laurent Aiello is closely behind the front runners in the championship. "We must make sure that Laurent does better in qualifying, then he will be on top again soon. Fact is that in the 2003 DTM, things are even closer than before. You always have to give everything."

-dtm-

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Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Laurent Aiello , Marcel Fassler , Peter Dumbreck , Bernd Schneider , Manuel Reuter , Christijan Albers , Norbert Haug , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Volker Strycek , Peter Terting , Stefan Mücke , Hans-Jurgen Abt , Alain Menu