DTM A1-Ring: FÃ¤ssler Wins ahead of Schneider and Alesi - Championship Still Open Marcel FÃ¤ssler won the turbulent eighth round of the 2002 DTM at Austria's A1-Ring. In a thrilling closing stage, Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) came...
DTM A1-Ring: Fässler Wins ahead of Schneider and Alesi - Championship Still Open
Marcel Fässler won the turbulent eighth round of the 2002 DTM at Austria's A1-Ring. In a thrilling closing stage, Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) came home second ahead of Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) and Uwe Alzen (Warsteiner AMG-Mercedes). Championship leader Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT) finished fifth so that the chgampionship remains open.
Qualification race (8 laps 34.608 km): Starting from third on the grid Schneider was third in the first corner behind Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R) and Aiello. Braking into turn 3 Schneider passed the Frenchman and defended his position until the chequered flag to finish second behind Aiello. Alesi came home fourth.
Main event (24 laps 103.824 km): From the start -- Ekström ahead of Schneider, Alesi and Aiello -- until the first pit stops on lap 8 the order at the front remained the same. Schneider pitted on lap 9 (7.1sec), but had got sideways at the pit lane entry, so that he lost some time and rejoined the race immediately behind Aiello whilst Alesi held the lead.
Fighting with Aiello Schneider ran wide into the gravel at the end of lap 16 and dropped to eighth when he was back on the track; Aiello was fourth. On lap 20, rain started to fall at the start-and-finish area and the front runners were even closer together. On lap 22, Aiello was second, Fässler passed Ekström to take third place, Schneider was seventh. Lap 23: Fässler passed Aiello, Schneider improved to fifth.
At the beginning of the final lap, Ekström touched Schneider and spun off. Whilst Alesi led unchallenged, Fässler, Aiello and Schneider fought door to door. At the final corner, Schneider ran wide and Aiello spun, but Fässler slipped through and won -- Alesi had slowed down to let Schneider past who is the Mercedes-Benz championship contender.
Marcel Fässler, Warsteiner AMG-Mercedes:
"We all are winners today, because the championship is still open. When Bernd and Laurent spun, I didn't know my position. After my performance this weekend so far I had never expected to win. I'm sorry for Bernd, I'd liked to let him pass, but it was too late."
Uwe Alzen was pushed into a spin on the opening lap, dropped to last place but recovered to finish fourth. On lap 15, he posted the fastest lap of the race with a 1:28.411.
Bernd Schneider, Vodafone AMG-Mercedes:
"Never before I've seen a race like this. When the rain began to fall, I had the luck which I had missed earlier this season. Our team performance was excellent -- after I had run wirde twice things could have gone worse as well. But I remembered our Technical Director Gerhard Ungar's slogan -- never give up."
Jean Alesi, Vodafone AMG-Mercedes:
"I had very good starts and was able to race with the front runners. The race was dramatic and there was mayhem in the end. Only the last two corners had become slippery by the rain. When Bernd and Laurent ran wide, I backed off to wait for Bernd so Marcel, too, was able to pass me."
Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes, Thomas Jäger had a damaged tyre caused by a collision and came home 17th. Peter Dumbreck finished 18th.
Oase AMG-Mercedes, Bernd Mayländer retired on lap 16 of the main race due to a gearbox failure. - CEB AMG-Mercedes, Patrick Huisman spun on lap 15 and ended up 12th.
Service 24 h AMG-Mercedes, Stefan Mücke finished 14th. -- Christijan Albers spun on lap 13 and came home 13th.
Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz Motorsportchef:
"This was great sport - I don't think that there has been such a thrilling race in the DTM before. There were hard but fair fights, and I'm sure the 40,000 spectators here as well as the TV spectators anyway enjoyed it. We reached our goal to further maintain our chance for the championship."