In front of the dream backdrop of 128,000 spectators, Audi Junior Peter Terting achieved the best ever result of his still young DTM career at the Norisring in Nurnberg. Peter Terting, the youngest DTM driver of all time, crossed the finish line...
In front of the dream backdrop of 128,000 spectators, Audi Junior Peter Terting achieved the best ever result of his still young DTM career at the Norisring in Nurnberg. Peter Terting, the youngest DTM driver of all time, crossed the finish line in 12th position immediately behind his team colleague Karl Wendlinger. "For a newcomer, the Norisring is everything but easy, that's why I'm really delighted with this result," mentioned Terting after the 72-lap marathon around the street course neighbouring the Dutzendteich. "The car was great. I looked after the brakes at the beginning, and was therefore able to work my way slowly but surely towards the front. I overtook several cars and was able to follow Karl Wendlinger at the end. It was a fantastic feeling."
The DTM's only street race developed, as expected, into a battle against the heat with cockpit temperatures exceeding 60 degrees Celsius. The Audi Juniors were well prepared for probably the hardest race of the year thanks to an intensive fitness-training programme. "I put a home trainer in the sauna, and cycle for almost one hour in 60 degrees, so that I can get used to breathing in hot air," revealed Terting. "The race was hard, but I had no problems."
Whilst Terting celebrated his successful DTM debut at the Norisring, the "home race" for his team colleague in the S line Audi Junior Team, Martin Tomczyk, ran anything smoothly. "I don't think I'll ever like the Norisring, even if I win here one day," said Tomczyk, who, as 11th in Saturday's qualifying, narrowly missed qualifying for the single lap qualifying run ("Super Pole"). The 21-year old stalled the engine of his Abt-Audi TT-R at the start. "I was a little irritated as the light changed because several drivers jumped the start," said Tomczyk. The bonnet of his TT-R came loose after a collision in the first corner, which resulted in a long unscheduled pit stop. Tomczyk spun exiting the S-curve a few laps before the chequered flag, and was forced to retire. Nevertheless he was classified in 18th position at the finish.
Mattias Ekstrom, who was the quickest Audi driver in qualifying and held a promising third place during the initial stages of the race, was dogged by bad luck. The Swede had to pull off in his Abt-Audi TT-R during the 18th lap, due to a faulty steering servo oil line. "There was so much smoke in the cockpit, I could hardly see where I was going," explained Ekstrom.
Both Laurent Aiello and Christian Abt finished in points scoring positions. While Aiello, who temporarily held fourth place, complained of deteriorating grip and was overtaken by the Mercedes drivers Bernd Schneider and Jean Alesi, Christian Abt shone during an impressive fight back, which brought him from tenth to seventh position at the flag. "I'm satisfied with the result," said Team Director Hans-Jurgen Abt. "We are simply on the limit at quick circuits with the possibilities available to us. That's why I'm happy that we scored points with two cars."
Audi customer teams duel in Road Atlanta ALMS: A new challenge confronts both Team ADT Champion Racing and Infineon Team Joest with their Audi R8 sports cars at the second race of the 2003 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at Road Atlanta. In contrast to the traditional final race in October ("Petit Le Mans"), the distance of the "Grand Prix of Atlanta" on Sunday (29 June), the additional race included in the schedule, is not 1000 miles but a mere 2 hours 45 minutes long. "The race will be very hard," believes Audi driver Frank Biela. "The circuit is very challenging and physically demanding. During such a short race you cannot pace yourself physically as you would normally over a longer distance. On top of this, it should be much hotter in Atlanta at the end of June than in October."
Infineon Team Joest arrive at Road Atlanta as overall championship leaders after winning the season opener at Sebring in March. Frank Biela has already won there in 2001, his team colleague Marco Werner competes for the first time on the circuit located in the US state of Georgia. "From now on, all the circuits in America are new to me," said Werner. "I can't wait as I've only heard good things about Road Atlanta. I'm really looking forward to the roller coaster sections, which should suit me."
The race is a very special one for Team ADT Champion Racing: For the first time Johnny Herbert, the Briton, and the Finn JJ Lehto share the cockpit of the "American" Audi R8. Following the success in Le Mans (third place), Dave Maraj's team is aiming for their first ALMS victory. "It could have already happened in Sebring, unfortunately we had some bad luck at the end," said JJ Lehto. "It is only a question of time before Champion win their first ALMS race."
Infineon Team Joest, unbeaten in Road Atlanta till now, aims to prevent this. At last years final race of the season, Champion and Joest were involved in an exiting race long duel. The two Audi R8 racers were separated by less than one minute after 394 laps. "I'm really interested to see how strong the driver duo of Johnny Herbert and JJ Lehto at Champion Racing will be -- it will certainly be a hard fought contest," said Marco Werner.
Coming up this week
Second race of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in Road Atlanta (Sunday) ... Fifth round of the SPEED World Challenge in Road Atlanta (Saturday) ... Johnny Herbert will be 39-years old on Wednesday, Randy Pobst 46 on Thursday