Adria: Round three preview

3rd DTM round, Adria International Raceway, 14th to 16th May, 2004 DTM goes Adria - with the youngsters wanting to go for it once again From the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean - after the round at Estoril, Portugal, DTM is making its next...

3rd DTM round, Adria International Raceway, 14th to 16th May, 2004
DTM goes Adria - with the youngsters wanting to go for it once again

From the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean - after the round at Estoril, Portugal, DTM is making its next stop in Italy. This weekend (14th to 16th May), the Adria International Raceway will be the venue of round three of the 2004 DTM season.

After the impressive performances of the DTM young guns in the first two races at Hockenheim and Estoril, the 22 to 25-year old championship leaders - Christijan Albers (18 points), Mattias Ekström (14 points), Gary Paffett and Martin Tomczyk (10 points each) are keen on once again giving the old hands a hard time. 36-year old Tom Kristensen (10 points) is the only veteran on the grid who has succeeded in scoring as many points as the latter two of the youngsters.

In 2003, the race at the short and narrow 2.702-kilometre Adria Raceway with its four hairpins was the scene of numerous spectacular overtaking manoeuvres. When the starting lights go out this Sunday, 16th May, at 14.00hrs local time (13.00hrs GMST), the DTM field will have to complete 47 laps and 126.994 kilometres respectively.

Mattias Ekström: "We are keen on striking back"

In the DTM round at Estoril, Portugal, Swedish Audi A4 DTM driver Mattias Ekström crossed the line just 0.652 seconds behind winner Christijan Albers. Battling wheel to wheel and bumper to bumper, the two young guns provided the spectators with motor racing at its best until they took the chequered flag.

"Now everybody at Audi is keen on striking back," said Ekström, thus proving his fighting spirit. "And in the twisty sections of the Estoril circuit our Audi has proven to be a car that handles great in narrow corners." Martin Tomczyk, who came third at Estoril, is also determined to deliver another convincing performance. "After my successful start into the season I want to add further points to my tally in Italy," says the German.

And Audi Motorsport Director Dr Wolfgang Ullrich stresses: "Having come third at the Hockenheimring and second at Estoril, a victory must be our next goal. We have proven that our Audi has got what it needs to win."

Gary Paffett: "I look forward to the challenge"

In Portugal, the winner of the season opener had to make do with 13th place after an unscheduled pit stop. But AMG-Mercedes C-Class driver Gary Paffett is determined to compensate for this set-back. "I have never contested a race at Adria, therefore, I look forward to the new challenge," said the Briton. "After the test sessions it will become clear if I will have a chance to reduce my gap to the leaders." 2003 AMG-Mercedes CLK driver, Markus Winkelhock, says: "It's my goal to finish as good as possible, maybe even in the top-ten."

Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director Norbert Haug also hopes for a good race. "At the first glance the Adria Raceway seems to be a small, unimpressive circuit. But it's a demanding one. To be successful here, you need a perfect strategy - particularly when it comes to the tyres - with your drivers performing likewise. Should all brands succeed in achieving these goals, the race in Italy will be just as thrilling and fair as the last round at Estoril, thus providing the DTM enthusiasts with exactly what they want to see."

Peter Dumbreck: "The Aria Raceway should suit our Vectra"

Timo Scheider's fastest race lap at Estoril was just one thousandth of a second slower than the one of second placed Ekström. 25-year old Scheider is a further representative of the blinding fast DTM young guns. At Estoril, he was third and on the way to take a podium result when he lost three places due to a technical issue with just twelve more laps to go. Therefore, he had to make do with sixth place.

"Estoril was the proof that we are competitive and can go the pace of the other brands," said Opel's Motorsport Director Volker Strycek. Opel driver Peter Dumbreck added: "The Adria Raceway's track surface is extremely smooth, this should suit our Vectra. From a physical point of view, the race will be truly demanding as you have to brake and to change gears all the time. Last year's race was the toughest I have contested so far with my feet being burnt already after only four laps."

His team-mate Laurent Aiello is convinced: "There will be good overtaking opportunities while braking into the corners. And as the spectators can see a great part of the circuit, it will be an interesting race for them, too."


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Series DTM
Drivers Tom Kristensen , Laurent Aiello , Peter Dumbreck , Martin Tomczyk , Christijan Albers , Timo Scheider , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Volker Strycek , Gary Paffett , Markus Winkelhock