Fabulous time for Mercedes-driver Schneider at DTM-debut in the Lausitz, Alzen best Opel-driver in the second row
By Harald Bloche - Motorsport.com For the first time in the only short history of the new DTM, there are three Mercedes-Benz CLK on the first three places on the grid - the record in the new era however is still being held by Opel in Oschersleben, mid-June, there were four Opel V8 Coupe on the first two grid rows. Best qualifying time at the brand new EuroSpeedway Lausitz, which has its first car races this week- end with the eleventh and twelth race of the 2000 DTM-season, was set by points leader Bernd Schneider (D2 AMG Mercedes). With a fabulous time of 1:42.072 minutes, he outplaced his rivals by half a second - an astronomic margin in the close DTM-field. Bernd Schneider, his fellow-Mercedes-drivers Marcel Fassler (Warsteiner AMG Mercedes) and Pedro Lamy (24h Service AMG Mercedes) qualified second and third.

Uwe Alzen (Opel Team Holzer) missed out on the first grid row, as he had been for the last round at the Nurburgring, by only 0.04 seconds. "Bernd Schneider is just mega", Alzen said respectfully. "There was no way to beat his time." Opel sport director Volker Strycek said: "Of course we are not satisfied with a place on the second row, even if we are so close to the first row."

Mercedes sport director Norbert Haug analysed: "There are twelve drivers within six tenth of a second, six Opel and six Mercedes. The only exception is Bernd Schneider. And to deny all the rumours, there is no special Schneider-car, only a special Schneider. Bernd is in the form of his life." Schneider himself only had one explanation: "I was just doing well", the German smiled about his third pole of the season.

A fabulous time of a different kind was achieved by Christian Abt in the Abt-Audi TT-R. Only 0.8 seconds down on the top of the field, bar Schneider's best time, are a big step forward when it comes down to competetiveness. "The track is really fun", the Bavarian said. "And with its combination of fast and slow corners, it really suits our car. In this morning's free practice, my team colleague Laurent Aiello was eighth in the rain, and the rest of us took eleventh and 13th place."

Results qualifying (top 10):

Pos Driver Car Time 1 BerndJSchneiderJ(D) Mercedes-Benz CLK 1:42.072 2 MarcelJFasslerJ(CH) Mercedes-Benz CLK + 0.508 3 PedroJLamyJ(P) Mercedes-Benz CLK 0.525 4 UweJAlzenJ(D) Opel V8 Coupe 0.552 5 EricJHelaryJ(F) Opel V8 Coupe 0.583 6 PeterJDumbreckJ(GB) Mercedes-Benz CLK 0.592 7 StefanoJModenaJ(I) Opel V8 Coupe 0.753 8 ThomasJJagerJ(D) Mercedes-Benz CLK 0.769 9 TimoJScheiderJ(D) Opel V8 Coupe 0.896 10 DarrenJTurnerJ(GB) Mercedes-Benz CLK 0.974