Title contender EkstrÃ¶m shines with top time, Opel's FÃ¤ssler second The leading contender for the championship title, Mattias EkstrÃ¶m, threw down the gauntlet to his rivals by lapping almost five tenths of a second faster than the...
Title contender Ekström shines with top time, Opel's Fässler second
The leading contender for the championship title, Mattias Ekström, threw down the gauntlet to his rivals by lapping almost five tenths of a second faster than the second-placed driver in Brno, the Czech Republic. The Audi driver notched up a blistering time of 1:54.121 minutes to score the absolute top time from the two 90-minute-long training sessions for the ninth race of the season.
Swiss Marcel Fässler (1:54.605) in an Opel Vectra GTS V8 and Tom Kristensen (Audi, 1:54.759) charged into second and third position, respectively. The fastest driver in the morning session, Opel's Timo Scheider, managed the fourth-fastest lap around the 5.403 kilometre-long track in the Czech Republic.
Christijan Albers finished the session in fifth after 28 laps. The Mercedes-Benz driver is Ekström's toughest rival in the battle for the title, lying just 13 points behind the Swede. Heinz-Harald Frentzen led the field for a long time in the afternoon, and the former Formula 1 driver ultimately finished in sixth in his Opel Vectra GTS V8.
Mattias Ekström (Audi):
"We only found a good set up for tomorrow's qualifying very late on into today. But better late on Friday than not at all. I'm pleased to be able to go to sleep feeling good."
Marcel Fässler (Opel):
"We made a few changes from this morning. It would be nice if it were also like this on Saturday after qualifying. The car is definitely handling well. The problem with Brno is that the track takes a lot out of the tyres."
Christijan Albers (Mercedes-Benz):
"I am absolutely satisfied with today's performance, coming fifth and being the best Mercedes-Benz driver. With a good setup tomorrow in qualifying we'll be in at the front."