Title rivals EkstrÃ¶m and Albers in first start row, Frentzen fifth The battle for the DTM championship 2004 could hardly be any more exciting. The two fiercest rivals for the overall title will start the DTM's ninth race of the season in Brno,...
Title rivals Ekström and Albers in first start row, Frentzen fifth
The battle for the DTM championship 2004 could hardly be any more exciting. The two fiercest rivals for the overall title will start the DTM's ninth race of the season in Brno, Czech Republic, from the first row tomorrow.
Swede Mattias Ekström set the pace in the super pole with his Audi A4 DTM for a time of 1:53.003 minutes. Christijan Albers placed second, two tenths of a second off the pace (1:53.231). The Mercedes-Benz driver is 13 points behind the leading Ekström. That means that the Swede now has match point: a second place is enough for him to seize the title early.
Martin Tomczyk came third ahead of his Audi team mate Tom Kristensen. Former Formula 1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen managed his best result in training this season, snatching start place five in his Opel Vectra GTS V8. Team mate Marcel Fässler will start in sixth next to Frentzen.
Gary Paffett came seventh in the AMG-Mercedes C-class. The Briton still has a chance to win the title, lying 16 points behind Ekström. Four-times DTM champion Bernd Schneider missed out on single lap qualifying of the top 10 for the first time this year. The ninth DTM race from Brno will be broadcast live by ARD from 1345 CET.
Mattias Ekström (1st start place, Audi Sport Team Abt):
"Brno is a very nice race track as it goes a bit up and downhill and the turns are very fluent and partly very fast. Although I do prefer the shorter tracks, it is interesting driving here. I feel at home. And to end up in pole position is the best."
Christijan Albers (2nd start place, DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes):
"I'm really satisfied with this result. The team did a good job and we were able to make up some time between qualifying and the super pole. That's why I'm happy to be in the first start row, although of course the pole position would have been better. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's race."
Martin Tomczyk (3rd start place, Audi Sport Team Abt):
"Third position isn't bad at all. Of course my job tomorrow will be to protect Mattias Ekström and to help him as much as possible. After all, we want to win the title tomorrow."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen (5th start place, OPC Team Holzer):
"I gave my all and am very satisfied with my best training result to date. I hope to be able to drive into the points tomorrow from this starting position. To be quite honest, I'm pretty miffed about not having any points yet. But the championship is simply very competitive."
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich Audi Motorsport Director:
"I am absolutely satisfied. Five Audi A4 DTMs in the top 10 is an excellent team result. Mattias clinched start place one with a flawless drive and thereby created an excellent foundation for the race and the battle for the title. Both qualifying and the super pole were thrilling and exceedingly close. I would say we're well prepared for the race."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director:
"I must say our lads did a good job. Christijan Albers a great job with start place two. I'm especially pleased for Opel and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. The DTM is a closely fought championship. You have to be fair to see that it's extremely difficult for newcomers to assert themselves against the experienced drivers. I was surprised to see so many spectators already here today. Up to now things have gone perfectly here in Brno, and I'd like to thank the organisers for that, especially Antonin Charouz."
Volker Strycek, Opel Motorsport Director:
"Heinz-Harald did a great job all weekend. I'm more than satisfied with having three drivers among the top 10. Tests over longer distances yesterday on Friday showed that the three DTM brands are equal in speed. It promises to be a thrilling race."