Christijan Albers Scores First DTM Win Marcel FÃ¤ssler fourth, Bernd Schneider fifth, Jean Alesi seventh Christijan Albers (ExpressService AMG-Mercedes) won the second round of the 2003 DTM at Italy's Adria International Raceway near Venice.
Christijan Albers Scores First DTM Win
Marcel Fässler fourth, Bernd Schneider fifth, Jean Alesi seventh
Christijan Albers (ExpressService AMG-Mercedes) won the second round of the 2003 DTM at Italy's Adria International Raceway near Venice. It was the 24-year-old Dutchman's first victory in his 22nd DTM race.
Marcel Fässler (AMG-Mercedes) came home fourth behind Abt-Audi TT-R drivers Mattias Ekström and Laurent Aiello. Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) finished fifth, Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) ended up seventh. Albers and Schneider are tied for the lead of the Drivers' Championship with 14 points each.
Fässler started the 47-lap race from pole position and took the lead ahead of Schneider and Albers. On lap 10, Schneider made his first compulsory pit stop, followed by sixth-ranked Alesi one lap later whilst Fässler and Albers both pitted on lap 12. Schneider (at the exit) and Alesi (at the entrance) exceeded the pitlane speed limit and consequently received a drive-through penalty.
Schneider was in the lead after the first round of pit stops and came in for his drive-through penalty on lap 22. One lap later he made his second compulsory pit stop. Fässler pitted for the second time on lap 27, Albers came in next time round. After the second round of pit stops the Dutchman was in the lead and extended the gap to 8.,511sec until the chequered flag.
Despite his extra stop Schneider was third again on lap 32. While charging through the field he posted the fastest lap of the race with a 1:11.669 (lap 25). Hampered by fading tyres, Schneider and Fässler were passed by Ekström and Aiello on laps 40 and 45 respectively.
Vodafone AMG-Mercedes, Bernd Schneider:
"My car ran perfectly and I made a good start, although my second gear didn't work. Otherwise I could have been in the lead. Obviously I was too fast in the pits during my first stop despite my speed limiter being on. This should not happen. Without this time loss I could have won."
ExpressService AMG-Mercedes, Christijan Albers:
"I'm really happy and I'm glad that with my first DTM win I could justify the confidence Norbert Haug, Hans Werner Aufrecht and the whole team have put in me. In the opening stage I was too hard on the brakes to maintain the narrow gap behind Bernd and Marcel. After I was in the lead on lap 22, I managed to save brakes and tyres."
AMG-Mercedes, Marcel Fässler:
"I made a good start but my first pit stop took too long. I had a problem with the traction of my fading tyres, therefore I wasn't able to maintain my position against Ekström and Aiello in the end."
AMG-Mercedes, Jean Alesi:
"Starting from tenth on the grid I drove aggressively from the beginning. It was my fault, that I was too fast in the pits because I braked too late. Due to the drive-through penalty the gap behind the leaders was too big to achieve a better result."
Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes, Thomas Jäger was involved in a collision after the start, lost the left door of his car and retired on lap 4. Bernd Mayländer, 21st in qualifying, was the best driver of a 2002 Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM and finished tenth.
ARTA AMG-Mercedes, Katsutomo Kaneishi finished 14th. Service 24 h AMG-Mercedes drivers Stefan Mücke and Patrick Huisman were involved in a collision right after the start and retired with damaged cars on the first lap..
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
"This was very good motor sport. The new circuit at the Adriatic Sea has stood the test. Congratulation to Christijan Albers on his first DTM win. He has justified the confidence we put in him by showing his talent with a well controlled race. After the drive-through penalty for Bernd and Jean there was excitement. Bernd lost about 15sec and fought back to third place. Unfortunately his tyres lost a little grip as well as Marcel's after a long 24-lap stint. Therefore the Abt-Audi of Alain Menu and Laurent Aiello were able to pass in the end - a great manoeuvre, congratulations."