A1-Ring: Mercedes race report

Marcel Fässler (AMG-Mercedes) won the eighth round of the 2003 DTM at Austria’s A1-Ring. After 40 laps and a thrilling battle with Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes), Fässler finished with a margin of 0.683sec; Christijan Albers ...

Marcel Fässler (AMG-Mercedes) won the eighth round of the 2003 DTM at Austria’s A1-Ring. After 40 laps and a thrilling battle with Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes), Fässler finished with a margin of 0.683sec; Christijan Albers (ExpressService AMG-Mercedes) came home third.

After three pole positions in 2003, it is Fässler’s first win this year and the third of his DTM career. With two races to go and a maximum of 20 points to score for one driver, Schneider leads the Drivers’ Championship with 57 points ahead of Albers with 54 and Fässler with 48. Defending champion Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R) was fourth in the race and is also fourth overall with 37 points.

Mercedes-Benz has already won the Manufacturers’ Championship. From pole position Fässler accelerated into an immediate lead at the start. Alesi, second in qualifying, had a poor start and dropped to eighth. Heading for the second corner he was involved in a collision which was not his fault and retired. The safety car was deployed until the end of lap 5.

After the re-start, Schneider passed Aiello and improved to third behind Fässler and Albers. On lap 10, Fässler and Schneider pitted simultaneously with Schneider’s team working faster than Fässler’s crew. However, the Swiss managed to rejoin the race still ahead of Schneider.

After all drivers had finished their first compulsory pit stops, Fässler led ahead of Schneider, Albers, Aiello and Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R): On lap 26 Schneider made his second stop with Fässler pitting one lap later. This time his crew worked faster than Schneider’s (3.9sec - record) and the Swiss extended his lead.

But Schneider closed the gap again and put a lot of pressure on Fässler in the closing stages, however, the Swiss maintained his lead and won. Gary Paffett (Service 24h AMG-Mercedes) came home sixth scoring the best result with a 2002 AMG-Mercedes CLK this year.

Marcel Fässler AMG-Mercedes:

"I’m very happy about my first win this year. In the closing stages I was under a lot of pressure from Bernd and I had to push so hard that I flat-spotted a tyre. Nevertheless everything turned out well. Congratulation to my pit crew. Their record stop contributed a lot to my victory."

Bernd Schneider Vodafone AMG-Mercedes:

"Although my car’s track has been slightly deranged during the start, the car’s balance was very good and I was able to put pressure on Marcel. However, he knew that with regard to the championship positions I was not able to take chances. Therefore I’m satisfied with my second place."

Christijan Albers ExpressService AMG-Mercedes:

"With the narrow margins in the overall ranking this third place is not bad. Unfortunately my car’s balance was not perfect, therefore I was not able to push hard."

Jean Alesi AMG-Mercedes:

"I had a bad start and was caught in a group of several cars. When we were heading for the second corner my car was hit hard by Christian Abt’s Audi. This was the end of my race."

Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes, Thomas Jäger came home ninth. Bernd Mayländer finished 15th. ARTA AMG-Mercedes, Katsutomo Kaneishi came home 17th. - Service 24 h AMG-Mercedes driver Stefan Mücke ended up 11th. Gary Paffett started 16th on the grid and finished sixth. He scored points for the second race in a row.

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"60,000 spectators here at the A1-Ring as well as the TV viewers saw a great DTM show. Our drivers at the top performed an exciting and fair race. Marcel did a great job under a lot of pressure from Bernd. Compliments to Gary Paffett for his sixth place in his last year’s car. Thanks to all of our teams for their efforts which enabled us to win the Manufacturers’ Championship prematurely. With two races to go and Bernd, Marcel and Christijan within nine points, we can expect a thrilling final of the season."


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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Laurent Aiello , Marcel Fassler , Bernd Schneider , Christijan Albers , Norbert Haug , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Thomas Jäger , Gary Paffett , Kaneishi Katsutomo , Stefan Mücke