Opel completed a three-day test at Misano in Italy last week, preparing for the 2004 season and also running the first of the driver assessment programmes. As last winter, the manufacturer is testing quite a line up of drivers in consideration for next year.

Those taking part in the assessment included Brazilian former F1 driver and Ferrari tester Luciano Burti, German Formula 3 driver Timo Glock and teammate Briton Adam Caroll, German Porsche Supercup pilot Wolf Henzler, German former Mercedes DTM driver Thomas Jäger and South African Alan van der Merwe, who competed in British F3.

Unsurprisingly, with such a line up, the standard was high as the drivers got used to the Opel Astra V8 Coupé set up in an intensive training programme. "The professionalism of the drivers, who come from different categories, was refreshing and pleasing," said OPC's Dr. Ulrich Pfisterer, who oversaw the test programme. "The achievement level was high and remarkably balanced."

Meanwhile, Opel test driver Marcel Tiemann concentrated on component work with the Astra and development of the new Vectra GTS which the manufacturer intends to introduce to the DTM in 2004. Opel race driver Manuel Reuter was also on duty, working with another Astra V8 Coupé.