German Touring Car Masters (DTM), heat 7 + 8: Sachsenring
Klaus Ludwig Clinches Double Victory
Mercedes-Benz won all podium places twice - Peter Dumbreck finished second in both races - Bernd Schneider third in race 1 and 2 maintained championship lead Klaus Ludwig drove the Warsteiner AMG Mercedes CLK to victories in both heats of the fourth event of the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) at the Sachsenring. The 50-year-old scored his DTM wins 35 and 36 and his tenth double victory. Peter Dumbreck (Original-Teile AMG Mercedes CLK) finished second twice with Bernd Schneider (D2 AMG Mercedes CLK) third in both races after he had come from eleventh place in the first heat.
In the drivers' championship, Bernd Schneider leads with 106 points ahead of Manuel Reuter (Opel Astra V8 Coupe/79) and Klaus Ludwig (74) who improved from fifth to third.
In Saturday's qualifying, when the first 16 cars had been within one second, Klaus Ludwig had achieved his 15th DTM pole position. He took the lead at the start of the first race followed by Peter Dumbreck (Original-Teile AMG Mercedes CLK) who had qualified second. The pair opened a small gap over the rest of the field and finished in the same order.
Bernd Schneider started from eleventh position on the grid and was seventh after five out of 30 laps. When Opel Astra V8 Coupe drivers Joachim Winkelhock, Uwe Alzen and Manuel Reuter went off ahead of him due to tyre problems, Schneider finished third.
Marcel Fässler was involved in an incident after the start and had to pit to change the right rear wheel. He lost a lap, set the fastest lap of the race (1:19.971) and unlapped himself to finish tenth.
In the second race, which the race organizers shortened from 30 to 24 laps due to expected tyre problems, Ludwig took the lead again ahead of Dumbreck. Schneider lost one position and dropped to fourth behind Eric Helary (Opel Astra V8 Coupe). On lap 20, the Frenchman retired with a damaged tyre and Schneider finished third. Marcel Fässler came home fourth with Marcel Tiemann (Original-Teile AMG Mercedes CLK) in fifth place.
"It was like in the good old times," Klaus Ludwig said with tears in his eyes. "Fortunately, it was a perfect race."
Peter Dumbreck said: "I was able to go Klaus's speed. But when somebody like him doesn't make any mistake, it is impossible to pass. I'm proud of my result in this top-class field and I've never competed in a competitive championship as the DTM."
Bernd Schneider was happy, too: "To charge through the field from eleventh to third place in the first race was more than I'd expected, because on this track it is really harder to pass than anywhere else."
Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director Norbert Haug commented: "Eric Helary had a strong race in the second heat and was very fast due to the pressure put on him from Bernd. Opel's handicap already in the first race were the tyres. If you have to start from the back of the field you have no chance in this competitive championship. Congratulations to Klaus Ludwig, these two victories were some of the best of his many race wins. Our team enjoyed the event at the Sachsenring and the warm welcome by the more than 50,000 enthusiastic spectators. Last but not least, I thank all of our technicians, mechanics and drivers - they did a great job.