Bernd Schneider Fastest
The first three cars within 68 Thousandths of a second Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) qualified fastest in the seventh round of the 2003 DTM at the Nürburgring. Schneider set a time of 1:25.031 and was 13 thousandths of a second ahead of Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R) in second place followed by Martin Tomczyk (Abt-Audi TT-R) another 55 thousandths behind. The starting grid of the ten fastest drivers will be decided in the single-lap qualifying held on Saturday night on 10:35 p.m.
Schneider was fastest on his second run and improved his time again on his third attempt. Behind him, three Abt-Audi TT-R, three Opel Astra V8 Coupé and three more AMG-Mercedes CLK qualified for the night session. This year’s three-times winner Christijan Albers (ExpressService AMG-Mercedes) was eighth fastest with a 1:26.529 followed by Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes/1:25.575) and Marcel Fässler (AMG-Mercedes/1:25.663). The first twelve cars were within a little more than seven tenths of a second.
Bernd Schneider, Vodafone AMG-Mercedes, fastest (1:25.301):
"Although I was not able to take part in yesterday’s afternoon session after the incident with Manuel Reuter, we managed to improve the car in the night and this morning. Therefore I’m particularly happy about my fastest time. I’m looking forward to the single-lap qualifying tonight, and I hope there will be more night sessions to come."
Christijan Albers, ExpressService AMG-Mercedes, eighth (1:25.529):
"We were able to improve our car from session to session. I hope we will be even faster tonight as there is less than a tenth of a second between me and fifth place."
Jean Alesi, AMG-Mercedes, AMG-Mercedes, ninth (1:25.575):
"My tyres’ quality was different from set to set. First I had understeer, than I had oversteer. Now I have to wait and see how we will do tonight."
Marcel Fässler, AMG-Mercedes, tenth (1:25.663):
"I had expected a better result than tenths place, however, we had the wrong strategy for qualifying today. We’d better planned two laps per set of tyres because we were not able to get the optimum out of the tyres with only one lap per set. Now I hope to do better tonight."
Thomas Jäger, Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes, 16th (1:26.333):
"I’m happy about my performance, as we managed to get the optimum out of the car. I’m the fastest driver of a 2002 model which makes me optimistic for Sunday’s race."
Gary Paffett, Service 24h AMG-Mercedes, 17th (1:26.497):
"In most of my qualifying sessions so far I was fastest of the drivers of a last year’s CLK, therefore I’m a bit disappointed today. First we had problems in the first sector, after we had solved them, I was slower in the second sector."
Stefan Mücke, Service 24 h AMG-Mercedes, 19th (1:26.701):
"I’m not satisfied with my result, because I had expected a better outcome after my lap times in the Free Practice sessions. However, we set up the car for the race already, therefore I’m optimistic for tomorrow."
Bernd Mayländer, Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes, 20th (1:26.972):
"My tyres didn’t become warm enough today, therefore the gap to the 2003 CLKs increased. I’m not satisfied."
Katsutomo Kaneishi, ARTA AMG-Mercedes, 21st (1:27.080):
"I didn’t have a good set-up today and I suffered from understeer. In addition, I made two mistakes which meant that I was not able to do better today."
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
"This was an exciting qualifying attended by a huge crowd on Saturday. 13 thousandths of a second between the fastest, Bernd Schneider, and the second, Mattias Ekström, 68 thousandths between the first three and a little more than seven tenths between the first twelve drivers demonstrate that the DTM is a close fought championship. Behind Bernd, there are three groups of three cars each of Abt-Audi, Opel and Mercedes proving the competitiveness of all three brands. For the spectators, this is not only exciting sport but great entertainment. The single-lap qualifying tonight followed by the boxing fight will make this DTM weekend a very special experience."