DTM

A1-Ring: Round eight preview

8th round DTM A1-Ring(A), September 6-8, 2002 September 2, 2002 First match ball for Aiello at A1-Ring -- can Schneider counter? Game, set and match: that is how Bernd Schneider played it at the A1-Ring last year. He converted his first match...

8th round DTM A1-Ring(A), September 6-8, 2002 September 2, 2002

First match ball for Aiello at A1-Ring -- can Schneider counter?

Game, set and match: that is how Bernd Schneider played it at the A1-Ring last year. He converted his first match point into an early title win. This year, Frenchman Laurent Aiello has all the aces to play -- match point for the four times winner at the eighth of ten rounds of the DTM 2002 at the A1-Ring. From September 6 till 8, the DTM will be racing at the 4.326 kilometres long track in Spielberg, Austria.

Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R) is leading the championship with 62 points, followed by Schneider (Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM, 38 points). With 29 points, Aiello's team-mate Mattias Ekström is within striking distance. Schneider warns: "As long as there still is a mathematical chance to become champion, no-one in our team will give up. But for me, the main thing is providing another great and exciting race for the spectators."

Alesi: "A1-Ring just beautiful -- but also a challenge"

After the DTM debut at the A1-Ring last year, the scene is now looking forward to the second event in Styria. Former F1-star Jean Alesi, who celebrated his first victory with the Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM in England in May, says: "One is always being welcomed so warmly in Austria, and the race track is just beautiful, but it is also a challenge with all its up-and downhill parts."

Opel-star Reuter:" Track well suited for fights and slipstream duels"

Manuel Reuter (Opel Astra V8 Coupé), who has lived in Saalfelden, Austria with his family for five years and therefore considers the Spielberg round as his home race, knows: "The track requires a special set-up. Because of the many straights, one should have little downforce, but on the other hand, you need a lot of it for the fast lefthander and the double right-hand corner and for the best braking. In any case, the track is very well suited for fights and slipstream duels because of its character, spectators can look forward to it."

In Austria, 62 times Grand Prix-driver JJ Lehto will be making his DTM come-back with the Opel Astra V8 Coupé of the Euroteam. The Finn raced in the DTM for Opel halfway through the 1990s already. At the A1-Ring, he will be replacing Belgian Yves Olivier.

Austrian Wendlinger: "For me, it is the highlight of the year"

It is only logical that Karl Wendlinger, who was born in the Austrian town of Kufstein, is looking forward to the race: "Of course, for me, it is the highlight of the year, and even more so, because in my home country, motorsport has a long and healthy tradition." Wendlinger, who has been racing in the DTM since the beginning of the season, says: "Next to sixth place at Hockenheim, my fifth position at Donington was my best result so far. In the DTM, racing is so close, that you have to get the maximum out of the car in qualifying and in the race, and get it all done without the slightest problem. But I will remain calm, because our car is very good. That is shown by the results of Laurent and Mattias."

Ekström, third in the championship, confirms: "DTM-cars are not easy to race. Therefore, my first DTM-season 2001 was quite hard for me."

-dtm-

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Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Karl Wendlinger , Laurent Aiello , Bernd Schneider , Manuel Reuter , Mattias Ekström , Yves Olivier , JJ Lehto