Laurent Aiello and Christian Abt on top in DTM rain fight In the second round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters), Abt Sportsline proved in a convincing way that the sensational double victory in the season opener was no co-incidence: In...
Laurent Aiello and Christian Abt on top in DTM rain fight
In the second round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters), Abt Sportsline proved in a convincing way that the sensational double victory in the season opener was no co-incidence: In the second round at Zolder, the 'A-team' of the company from Kempten came to the fore. Laurent Aiello won the main race from Christian Abt. Before, the French driver already had won the qualification race from his team-mate Mattias Ekström. In the championship, Laurent Aiello extended his lead and now has 25 points.
Pouring rain, poor visibility and a track on which small rivers of water were already flowing before the start - the second round of the season demanded everything from the DTM-drivers. The drivers of the Abt-Audi TT-Rs completed their task in an impressive way: Mattias Ekström and Laurent Aiello led the qualification race, swapped positions once and thus secured themselves the best starting places for the race. Pole-sitter Martin Tomczyk slid off into the gravel trap on the first lap and had to start from the back of the grid.
The main race was dominated by the Abt drivers as well: After the start, Laurent Aiello pulled away in front and thus avoided all the problems of having to drive through the spray. Following a spin in the qualification race, Christian Abt had climbed up to fifth place again and then benefited from his strong pit crew: they completed the mandatory change of all four wheels in a top time and sent the 34-year old from Kempten back out on the track after some seven seconds, where Abt slotted into second place behind his team-mate Aiello and then safely drove his podium finish home.
Bad luck, however, for Abt's team-mates: once more, Tomczyk became victim of the strong aquaplaning and slid off the track into the gravel trap at the same position where he had alreadt done it in the qualification race. Mattias Ekström, who clearly was on course for a podium finish in the main race once more, lost valuable time at the pit stop, because the car came off the ground too late. Abt's new signing Karl Wendlingr had a difficult week-end. His overtaking race from 16th on the grid was stopped by a defective windscreen blower, who deprived the former F1-driver of all visibility and forced him into the pits one lap before the end of the race.
Quotes after the race
Laurent Aiello (1st place / 1st place):
"I had a lot of luck that I could drive in front of the fueld and therefore hardly had any problems with the spray. Thus, I could set the pace and was not hindered by any spins or excursions. That we have two cars on the podium once more is just a dream. Nevertheless, we may not have a weak moment in the next round, as the season is still very long, and our competitors will surely have some new ideas."
Martin Tomczyk (retired / retired):
"Today, I slid off the track twice at the same spot - maybe, this chicane will now be named after me. Aquaplaning was very strong today, maybe I still had a little lack of experience there. Of course, I am also upset about myself and that corner, but I know one thing for sure: this won't happen to me again."
Karl Wendlinger (12th place / 18th place):
"I wanted to complete the qualification race in a relaxed way and then attack in the main race. The first part worked, because I was able to make up some positions. But in the race, the windscreen blower went, so that I couldn't see a thing anymore. I will now forget about this week-end and start looking forward to the race at Donington. There, I want to continue my performance from the season opener."
Christian Abt (5th place / 2nd place):
"Today, the trophy for second place actually belongs to my mechanics, who have completed a sensational pit stop. Before that, I was fifth, and after it, I was suddenly second behind Laurent. I am overjoyed with my second place. For me, it is important that Abt Sportsline is winning - in the end, I really don't care if the winner is called Aiello or Abt."
Mattias Ekström (2nd place / 4th place):
"I am satisfied with second place and the total of five points that I am bringing from Zolder. We are all working for the success of the team, with which we can become champion. Therefore, it was no question that I would let my team-mate Laurent go, as he was just quicker today."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (team boss):
"Before the season, we set ourselves the goal of fighting for the championship. But that we would start in such an incredible way into our third DTM-season with two double victories in a row, I never even dreamt about. But we have learned from our mistakes in the past, and now, we simply aren't making any mistakes anymore. After the season opener, my team didn't lay back and relax, but rather continued working hard on themselves and today has proven its strength in the most adverse conditions. I am incredibly proud of that."