Abt-Audi upbeat after Eifel-win: "We want to keep on annoying the others."
Stuttgart. Just a fortnight after the highly dramatic race at the Nurburgring, the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) gets underway into its third round of the season at the Motopark Oschersleben. After his victory in Hockenheim and his second place at the Nurburgring, Mercedes-driver Bernd Schneider (D2 AMG Mercedes) comes to the Magdeburg-area as the points leader, but Audi-driver Laurent Aiello (Team Abt Sportsline) is close behind after his sensational win in the Eifel, being only nine points down. The third make, Opel, wants to continue its upward line from the Eifelrennen. All the more so, as Oschersleben proved to be good for them in 2000: Opel won three out of four DTM-races there.
The goal of Abt Sportsline is clear: "We want to continue annoying the others", says team boss Hans-Jurgen Abt. Next to the victory of Le Mans- winner Aiello, 19 year-old Martin Tomczyk made a name for himself by finishing fourth in only his second DTM-race. "For us, this victory has made a dream come true", says racing driver Christian Abt. "But now we must keep up the pace, as there is still a lot of fine-tuning to be done on our Abt- Audi TT-R." Aiello announces: "When you have experienced that winning feeling once, you want to get back on top of the podium. And I will fight for that."
Plenty of fighting spirit at Opel, too. "I am confident that in Oschersleben, we can benefit more from our progress than at the Nurburgring says DTM-vice- champion Manuel Reuter (Opel Team Phoenix). "Especially our lap times in the Eifel are proving that we have made a major step." Opel motorsport director Volker Strycek: "After the disappointing season opener, we have completely analysed our V8 Coup." Many calculations and wind tunnel tests resulted into initial changes for the Nurburgring. Changes were mainly made to the spring/ shock absorber-unit and, regarding the airflow, by means of an additional barge board.
Reigning champion Schneider is convinced that qualifying is a very important factor in Oschersleben. "The track is narrow and offers hardly any opportunities for overtaking, which makes a good starting place very important." Especially the threefold left-hander is difficult: "This combination is very quick, one shouldn't make a mistake there." Thomas Jager (Original-Teile AMG Mercedes), who finished third in a 2000-spec Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM, says: "It will be really close again. I am sure that we will have some 15 cars within one second. And then, the co-operation between driver and engineer is very important for finding the right set-up."