DTM

Alesi adapting well

Alesi adapting well

Jean Alesi is confident that he has adapted to the DTM and thinks the new single race format will suit his style. Prior to the season opener at Hockenheim last weekend, Alesi spent time testing and was happy with improvements made to the ...

Jean Alesi is confident that he has adapted to the DTM and thinks the new single race format will suit his style. Prior to the season opener at Hockenheim last weekend, Alesi spent time testing and was happy with improvements made to the car.

Jean Alesi.
Photo by Elmar Vat.
"The last tests in the DTM CLK were really encouraging," he told his website. "The Mercedes engineers corrected all the slight faults in the previous version and I now feel more confident when I'm driving the car, which is what you need when you are trying to find that elusive tenth of a second, the unit of time that DTM is measured in."

After his debut season in 2002, when he finished fifth in the Drivers' championship, Alesi believes he has got used to driving what he calls 'unusual' cars: "I also think I have finished my observation period," he said. "I have assimilated the methods of getting the most out of these slightly unusual cars : qualifying and the race require different strategies, and distinct ways of driving."

With his years in Formula One the Frenchman is used to a long race and now the sprint, or qualifying, race has been abandoned from DTM in favour of one race, Alesi thinks it will benefit him.

"In addition, the race format has changed this year, and I think that the new version will suit me much better. While the endurance tests used to be divided into two very short races, we now do more laps with a set number of pitstops. It is fun for the public and for me too : my strategy is often to overtake a few opponents before the first braking and build up my race slowly from then on."

Finishing fourth at Hockenheim was not too bad although Alesi thinks he could have achieved a podium finish if not for a radio problem. However, he's positive for the future.

"My first race of the season at Hockenheim showed that I have adapted to DTM. I was fifth on the grid (in qualifying), and I could have got onto the podium were it not for a slight communication problem with my pit crew. It is really encouraging for the rest of the season."

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Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi