EkstrÃ¶m fastest-- Schneider and Aiello separated by 0.039 seconds Mattias EkstrÃ¶m (Abt-Audi TT-R) set the fastest time on the test day before the eighth round of the DTM at the A1-Ring. With his fastest time of 1.28.072 minutes at the Grand ...
Ekström fastest-- Schneider and Aiello separated by 0.039 seconds
Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R) set the fastest time on the test day before the eighth round of the DTM at the A1-Ring. With his fastest time of 1.28.072 minutes at the Grand Prix-track in Styria in the afternoon session, the Swede was 0.029 seconds faster than reigning champion Bernd Schneider (Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM). The latter had an advantage of 0.039 seconds over points leader Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R), who can already secure himself the championship title early this week-end, just like Schneider did one year ago at the same venue.
In order to claim the title, the Frenchman just has to score two more points than Schneider. The Mercedes-Benz-driver, however, intends to do everything to keep the title race open, and at least had the upper hand on the test day, albeit with a tiny margin. "I am highly motivated to prevent Aiello from taking the title here. The A1-Ring suits me really well, I want to keep my chances upright," said Schneider. Aiello explained: "At the moment, we still have a slight lack of top speed, but we still have some ideas, which we will convert tomorrow."
In the morning session, during which the lap times were slower than in the afternoon, the three makes in the DTM shared the top three places. Bernd Schneider (Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM) was fastest from Alain Menu (Opel Astra V8 Coupé) and Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R). "I like this track, because it has not so much grip. One can play with the car and that really suits my driving style," Ekström said. Fastest Opel-driver of the day was Timo Scheider, who was seventh in the afternoon.
Local hero Karl Wendlinger had bad luck in the morning session: with his Abt-Audi TT-R, he slid off the track after eight laps already and then had to watch his colleagues improving their lap times more and more. In the afternoon session, the Tyrolean occupied 13th place. Wendlinger is not the only Austrian to drive a DTM-car at the A1-Ring this week-end: on Sunday, Alexander Wurz, the third driver of the West McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team, will be taking a few prominent guests for a lap on the track with the Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM race taxi, including ski world cup winner Michaela Dorfmeister.
DTM-novice JJ Lehto, who will be racing for the Italian Opel Euroteam at the A1-Ring, was impressed after his first outing. "Being back here again is really fun. I did not expect things to be easy. After all, there are many good drivers in the DTM and I have to find the limit step by step," said the Finnish Formula 1-driver, who was 19th in the afternoon session.