Adria: Abt Sportsline race report

DTM at its best: Ekström and Aiello make it on the podium Motorsport-fans at the track and in front of the television screens have seen one of the most exciting races in the history of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters): during the second...

DTM at its best: Ekström and Aiello make it on the podium

Motorsport-fans at the track and in front of the television screens have seen one of the most exciting races in the history of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters): during the second round at the Adria International Raceway in Italy, Abt drivers Mattias Ekström and Laurent Aiello claimed second and third place after sensational overtaking manoeuvres and only were beaten by Mercedes-youngster Christijan Albers.

The new season is only two races old, but already now, the DTM saw a highlight that will be hard to beat in the remaining eight races. At the Adria Raceway, some 70 kilometres south of Venice, the great duel once again was Abt Sportsline against Mercedes-Benz, with leading roles for Laurent Aiello, Mattias Ekström, Bernd Schneider and Marcel Fässler. And like it was with the title win in 2002, the team from the Allgäu had the upper hand this time, too.

After a turbulent opening part and the two mandatory pit stops at the extremely narrow 2.702 kilometres long track, the three Mercedes-drivers appeared to be on their way to a safe three-way victory: Albers led Fässler and Schneider. In the breath-taking closing stages of the race, however, it was the time of the Abt drivers Ekström and Aiello. First of all, they caught former champion Bernd Schneider on the 40th of 47 laps and only five laps after that, pole sitter Fässler was beaten by the Swedish-French duo, too. On two occasions, the two Abt-Audi TT-Rs made their way past the Mercedes.

Next to the drivers on the podium, the race near the Italian coast of the Adriatic Sea had another winner: Peter Terting, with 19 years the youngest DTM-driver ever, ended his first race in Europe's premier touring car series after 46 error-free laps in 13th place and thus reached a first major goal in his still young DTM-career.

The strong performance by Martin Tomczyk, who had started from sixth place, and Austrian Karl Wendlinger weren't rewarded. The 21-year old from Rosenheim had to park his TT-R in the pits with 17 laps to go due to brake problems. Former F1-driver Karl Wendlinger first lost time during the pit stop and then had to make do with the unsatisfying twelfth place after some nice duels. For Christian Abt, the race was over after a jump start and the subsequent penalty.

Quotes after the race

Mattias Ekström (2nd place):

"Apart from my bad start, it was a great race. I was a little bit too cautious while getting away. This made me drop back to seventh place and really upset me. Then, it was just full throttle and maximum attack! I gave everything. The car was running great, and I overtook all but one."

Laurent Aiello (3rd place):

"Congratulations to Mattias, who has shown a great race and today, just was faster than me. My thanks especially to the mechanics: they have been working hard for three days and prepared a perfect car for the race. The duels with Mercedes were fair and great fun. Overtaking Bernd Schneider and Marcel Fässler with two drivers at the same time -- this really is something you don't do every day."

Karl Wendlinger (12th place):

"I feel a little bit sorry: 47 laps in these extreme conditions, I have at least hoped for one point as a reward. My start was okay, the lap times and the tactics were right, too. But that is what it is like in the DTM: lose a little bit of time in the pit lane, and it already becomes incredibly difficult making it into the top ten."

Peter Terting (13th place):

"Incredible: I finished my first DTM-race, and in the heat like this. In the car, we had in between 60 and 65 degrees and the track was extremely demanding. I can hardly stand upright anymore, but I am totally happy. For a novice, coming from the VW Lupo Cup, 13th place is not too bad. And next time, I will improve further."

Martin Tomczyk (retired):

"My start was great, and everything was running fine up to the first pit stop. Then, the throttle got stuck time and again. I had to brake very hard and that probably was too much for the brakes. The pedal fell through, I had to retire. My team is working so hard and is providing me with a great car all the time. Then, of course, it is disappointing when something like that happens."

Christian Abt (retired):

"It is long ago that I had such a perfect car like today. It is all the more disappointing that I couldn't compete for podium places with it. I got a drive-through penalty for a jump start, but given all the duels of our team on the track, this information didn't get through to me in the cockpit right away, and I had to park my car. As a team, we have shown a great fight for the podium today, so we will be dealing with such a mistake together, too."

Hans-Jürgen Abt (team director):

"This was one of the first race that I have ever seen real team work on the track. The way in which Mattias and Laurent dealt with the two Mercedes was a sensation. Congratulations to the whole team! Admittedly, we have made a few mistakes, but all in all, we were better than at Hockenheim. In the DTM, you also have to deliver a top performance in the pit lane. When you look at the results, we weren't that bad."


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Series DTM
Drivers Karl Wendlinger , Laurent Aiello , Marcel Fassler , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Christijan Albers , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Peter Terting , Hans-Jurgen Abt