DTM

Zolder: Round two preview

2nd round DTM Circuit Zolder (B), May 3-5, 2002 April 29, 2002 DTM in Zolder: demanding track, good opportunities for overtaking Only one week ago, the DTM had a blasting start into the season with a double victory for Abt-Audi at the ...

2nd round DTM Circuit Zolder (B), May 3-5, 2002 April 29, 2002

DTM in Zolder: demanding track, good opportunities for overtaking

Only one week ago, the DTM had a blasting start into the season with a double victory for Abt-Audi at the Hockenheimring. And the second round, May 3-5, is a special occasion, too: after an eight years' break, the DTM returns to the track, at which it had great events from 1984 to 1994 - at the 3.997 km long Circuit Zolder (B), only about 80 km away from Aachen. Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi) is coming to Zolder as the championship leader with 12 points, followed by his fellow-Audi-driver Mattias Ekström (7 points) and DTM-novice Jean Alesi (Mercedes-Benz, four points).

For three DTM-drivers, Zolder is some kind of home race: Belgian Yves Olivier (Opel) and the two Dutchmen Christijan Albers and Patrick Huisman (both Mercedes-Benz). "The track is very demanding. It is especially hard on the brakes", says Olivier, who is driving an Opel Astra V8 Coupé for the Italian Euroteam. "You can compare it with the Norisring, that is also very hard on the brakes, but there, you only have one chicane and two hairpins. In Zolder, however, you already have three chicanes which you have to brake for on every lap, then a hairpin and the narrow left-hander at the end of the main straight. The chicanes are crucial, good brakes and optimal traction are important." Olivier is looking forward to his home race: "There will be a lot of friends out there."

For Patrick Huisman, who is driving for the Team CEB AMG-Mercedes, the track has everything a racing driver likes: "Slow and fast corners, chicanes, straights and 'blind' corners where you can't see how the track continues." Moreover, the track is extremely slippery. "And, contrarily to the Hockenheimring, it offers many places where you can overtake well. Therefore, the race surely will be a highlight for the spectators."

Former F1-driver Karl Wendlinger, at his DTM-debut with the Abt-Audi TT-R third in qualifying and sixth in the race, dismisses a role as favourites for the Team Abt Sportsline's five Audi Coupés: "For everyone, the situation in Zolder is equal. Nobody has been testing there with a new DTM-car. Therefore, I believe that the driver who manages to find the perfect set-up of his car for this varying track within the limited test and practice time will be in front. A difficult affair. I don't see any advantages for Abt-Audi in that respect, even though we were that strong in Hockenheim."

Show programme with Alesi's Formula 1 Ferrari and the Cliff-Calibra

In Zolder, Jean Alesi will have a special reunion. Taking part in the Ferrari corso is the very Ferrari F642, with which the French driver raced in Formula 1 in 1991. Apart from the performance of approx. 600 bhp and the brutally roaring V12-engine, another special feature of this car is the unique bottle-shaped form of the chassis. Next to the F642, two cars will be present that were used by Michael Schumacher in Formula 1 in 1997 and 1998 respectively.

A historic race car from Opel can also be seen on display in the paddock and during demonstration laps on the track: the legendary Opel Calibra V6, the ITC championship-winning car of 1996 (Manuel Reuter). Furthermore, there will once again be powerslide demonstrations with historic rally cars, such as the Opel Ascona 400. As usual, race visitors will have the opportunity to win a passenger ride in one of the original DTM race cars that have been converted to race taxis.

-dtm-

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Series DTM
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Jean Alesi , Karl Wendlinger , Laurent Aiello , Manuel Reuter , Christijan Albers , Mattias Ekström , Patrick Huisman