DTM

Zandvoort: Friday practice report

The tension is increasing: Schneider beats Aiello on the test day Incredible, but true: at the end of the DTM test day, a continuation of the duel of the 2002 season looks likely for the ninth and penultimate round of the DTM at the Circuit Park...

The tension is increasing: Schneider beats Aiello on the test day

Incredible, but true: at the end of the DTM test day, a continuation of the duel of the 2002 season looks likely for the ninth and penultimate round of the DTM at the Circuit Park Zandvoort/NL. In the 90 minutes' test session in the afternoon, defending champion Bernd Schneider topped the time sheets with his Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM on a dry track, followed by points leader Laurent Aiello with the Abt-Audi TT-R.

At the 4.3 kilometres long track at the North Sea coast, seven drivers were within four tenths of a second. After four victories this season, Frenchman Aiello is only seven points away from wrapping up the title.

"Today was just a test", Schneider warned for too early expectations. "Tomorrow afternoon in qualifying, it really counts. And for that, we still have to work a little bit on the set-up in free practice in the morning. The track is very demanding and I like it. For the spectators, I hope that the weather will be nice. I don't care if it is dry or if it rains, because then, the conditions are equal for all."

Rival Laurent Aiello said: "A particular thing for this thing is that conditions almost vary from one lap to another. Therefore, it is really difficult to remain focussed on finding the right set-up. Tomorrow in qualifying, it will be essential to do a perfect lap at the right time."

On a rain-soaked track in the morning session, the Opel works-team had delivered a very good performance: after the 90 minutes, five of the six Opel Astra V8 Coupés were on first till seventh place. Junior driver Timo Scheider had claimed the top position. And DTM-returnee Eric Helary (F) did quite a good job, too, with 17th place in his first DTM-test after an absence of over one year.

"Rain man" Timo Scheider said: "In the rain, my Astra Coupé was perfect right away, so that we didn't make too many changes on the set-up at all. I could concentrate on improving my ideal line and moreover, we experimented with things like tyre pressure."

-dtm-

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Laurent Aiello , Timo Scheider , Eric Helary