Abt Sportsline is back again: Aiello triumphs at the NÃ¼rburgring With an undisputed victory by reigning champion Laurent Aiello at the NÃ¼rburgring, Abt Sportsline has proved that it is back again in the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) in an...
Abt Sportsline is back again: Aiello triumphs at the Nürburgring
With an undisputed victory by reigning champion Laurent Aiello at the Nürburgring, Abt Sportsline has proved that it is back again in the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) in an impressive way. The Frenchman took the lead from second place on the grid, never lost the lead until the finish and left no chance to championship leaders Bernd Schneider and Christijan Albers. Mattias Ekström, who had claimed pole-position on Saturday in the first night qualifying session in the history of the DTM, finished fourth.
Abt Sportsline had already dominated the motorsport spectacle at the Nürburgring during the entire weekend. Abt drivers were setting fastest times in nearly every session from Friday till Sunday, while Laurent Aiello crowned the strong team performance in the race with his first victory in the current season. In the process, the Frenchman benefited from a sensational start that put him past team-mate Mattias Ekström into the lead. Aiello only let go of this position during the pit stops and after 41 laps at the sprint circuit, he won with an advantage of almost 1.5 seconds. The reigning German touring car champion is now fourth in the championship.
Mattias Ekström was also considered a likely candidate for the first season win of the championship-winning team. Throughout the weekend, the Swede was in excellent form and especially proved to have strong nerves on Saturday evening: watched by many thousands of fans along the track and millions of viewers, watching qualifying before the world championship boxing match of Markus Beyer live on ARD, Ekström drove a qualifying lap that was both fast and error-free, putting his Abt-Audi TT-R in pole-position. In the race, he had to let some opponents go, but with his fourth place, he defended his sixth position in the championship.
While Karl Wendlinger -- like most recently at Donington -- only missed out on scoring points by one place after a nice battle, the race ended early for three other Abt drivers, Martin Tomczyk had to park his TT-R on the 14th lap, because he could no longer shift into any gear. Only two laps later, Christian Abt had the same problem after he had come close to a point scoring position from the back of the field (spin on the first corner). Youngster Peter Terting had to retire with six laps to go because of a broken suspension part, but was still classified 18th.
Quotes after the race
Laurent Aiello (1st place):
"It is quite a while ago already that we last scored such a result. It feels a little bit like the first victory of my career. It probably looked easily from the outside, but it wasn't. My car was very consistent and moreover, my pit crew has been working perfectly. We had a perfect strategy. I am overjoyed. I have had the chance of scoring good results for a few races already, but then, many things went wrong. Today, everything was perfect."
Mattias Ekström (4th place):
"My car was perfect all weekend, I felt well in every session. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite keep the pace of the front runners after the first pit stop and I lost some positions. Admittedly, after the second stop, I recovered quite well and I was even close to Bernd Schneider. But I would have needed some more laps to start an attack. That's what it is like in the DTM: when you are lacking only one percent, you are already fourth."
Karl Wendlinger (11th place):
"I am annoyed indeed for just having missed the points again. In practice, I was much closer to the front and had it not been for a technical problem in qualifying, I would have been in Super Pole. But that is now over and done with: in three weeks time, it is my home round at the A1-Ring, I am already looking forward to that."
Peter Terting (18th place):
"On the second lap, somebody ran into the left rear part of my car. In the process, something on the suspension was bent. After the first tyre change, my Abt-Audi was a little bit better again. I could keep the pace and also overtake a few opponents. Then, something on the left rear broke, and unfortunately, that was it."
Christian Abt (retired):
"I had such a great start and I could already overtake two or three cars on the straight already. On the first corner, I probably wanted a little bit too much and I accelerated too early. I made up to the midfield again, but then the gearbox failed. But our first victory is the most important thing for me today. Nice, that the hard work of the past few months has paid off."
Martin Tomczyk (retired):
"I could keep the pace of the front runners quite well. Then something broke on the gearbox after the first pit stop. When shifting down, I first missed one gear and then more and more, and finally, I had to retire. Too bad."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (team director):
"This is a great burden coming off our shoulders. The team never gave up and really fought for it, so that this could be achieved. The pit stops were probably the best we have ever done. Perfect. We are aware of our responsibilities, our fans want victories. Today, we have scored one."