DTM

Nurburgring II: Mercedes race report

Christijan Albers Second, Bernd Schneider Third Christijan Albers (ExpressService AMG-Mercedes) finished second in the seventh round of the 2003 DTM at the Nürburgring. Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) came home third. Laurent Aiello ...

Christijan Albers Second, Bernd Schneider Third

Christijan Albers (ExpressService AMG-Mercedes) finished second in the seventh round of the 2003 DTM at the Nürburgring. Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) came home third. Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R) won the race after 41 laps with thrilling battles. After Albers (three), Schneider (two) and Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes, one) had won the six races so far, Aiello was the fourth different winner this season.

Schneider leads the Drivers’ Championship with 49 points, one point ahead of Albers. A crowd of 85,000 experienced an exciting race weekend. This was a record attendance for DTM races at the Nürburgring. For the first time, the single-lap qualifying for Super Pole had been held on Saturday night in the dark on an illuminated track. Albers qualified third fastest whilst Schneider was sixth on the grid.

Albers was third at the first corner, behind Aiello and Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R). Schneider improved by one place and was fifth at the Mercedes Arena. On lap six, Albers and Marcel Fässler (AMG-Mercedes) made their first compulsory pit stops, followed by Alesi on lap seven and Schneider another lap later. After the pit stops, Fässler had improved from sixth to fourth.

At the beginning of lap 11, Albers passed Ekström and was second. On the same lap, Schneider overtook Fässler to take fourth place and improved another spot when he passed Ekström on lap 15. This order remained the same also after the second round of pit stops between laps 20 and 22.

Schneider passed Albers at the beginning of lap 28 entering the Mercedes Arena, but the Dutchman fought back two laps later and reduced the gap behind Aiello to about two seconds, but the Frenchman finally won ahead of Albers and Schneider.

Christijan Albers ExpressService AMG-Mercedes:

"I’m satisfied with second place, but not with my performance. With this car and with our team a better result was possible. Our team pushed me throughout the weekend and I learned a lot."

Bernd Schneider Vodafone AMG-Mercedes:

"After starting sixth on the grid, this was the best possible result. I had a good battle with Christijan, but once he had passed me I couldn’t fight back because of my tyres."

Marcel Fässler AMG-Mercedes:

"My start wasn’t bad, however, I was not able to push today. At least I scored four points. I suffered from a light flu this weekend, but this is no excuse."

Jean Alesi: AMG-Mercedes:

"I was not happy with my car’s set-up today. I did my best and got the maximum out of the car."

Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes, Thomas Jäger spun after a fight with Mücke and Paffett on lap two and lost several positions. On lap 18 he retired with a transmission failure. Bernd Mayländer finished 14th. ARTA AMG-Mercedes, Katsutomo Kaneishi came home 16th after a spin into the gravel. Service 24 h AMG-Mercedes driver Stefan Mücke ended up 12th.

Gary Paffett started 17th on the grid and finished eighth. He was the best driver with a 2002 CLK and scored his first point in his fifth DTM race. "It was a great race and I had lot of support from our team"

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"An exciting race and a great DTM weekend. Christijan and Bernd performed excellently and were always fair. The HWA team finished with all four cars among the top-six. Gary Paffett, too, did a good job scoring one point with a last year’s model. Congratulations to the Abt-Audi team and Laurent Aiello who is back among the championship contenders after today’s victory. The event was certainly great fun for the crowd of 85,000 at the circuit this weekend and for the TV spectators as well."

-mercedes-

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