DTM

Brno: Opel race report

Fässler and Frentzen shine for Opel at Brno Opel just missed out on another podium finish on the DTM's return to Brno in the Czech Republic on Sunday, as Marcel Fässler finished fourth, with two more Vectra GTS racecars also scoring points.

Fässler and Frentzen shine for Opel at Brno

Opel just missed out on another podium finish on the DTM's return to Brno in the Czech Republic on Sunday, as Marcel Fässler finished fourth, with two more Vectra GTS racecars also scoring points. Ex-Formula 1 star Heinz-Harald Frentzen scored his first points as an Opel driver, finishing sixth after a strong drive.

The weekend already got off to a positive start when Timo Scheider (OPC Team Holzer) set the fastest time in the first test session, a result backed up by Marcel Fässler (OPC Team Phoenix) in the afternoon session, which he ended second fastest, with Scheider in fourth. "I am very satisfied," said Scheider. "We immediately found a good balance and only had to improve a few small things."

Fässler slipped back to sixth fastest in Saturday's free practice, the only Opel in the top 10, but bounced back when it mattered in qualifying. Fässler, Peter Dumbreck (OPC Team Phoenix) and Heinz-Harald Frentzen (OPC Team Holzer) all made it into the Super Pole by finishing in the top 10. In the Super Pole itself, Frentzen produced a stellar lap time to grab fifth position on the grid, with Fässler just a tenth of a second behind in sixth.

"I gave my all and I'm very satisfied with my best qualifying result so far," said Frentzen. "I hope it will be possible to finish in the points from this position, because I am miffed that I haven't been able to score a point so far. I found two tenths of a second on my Super Pole lap, so I was very pleased with that. It was a big challenge, so I am pleased to have met it so well."

Opel's motorsport chief Volker Strycek said: "It was a real 'wow!' moment when Heinz-Harald set his time. I am very happy for him, and it's great to see such good pace. He has proved outing to outing this year that he is learning about the DTM all the time."

Dumbreck would start ninth, which was not a bad effort following his massive accident at Zandvoort a fortnight previously, and considering he hadn't driven his replacement Vectra until Friday. "It has been going well for me this weekend, I feel I am back on track after Zandvoort," said Peter. "The new car feels just fine, and I could have gained some positions on the grid if I had not made a big mistake in the final sector."

Scheider and Manuel Reuter (OPC Team Holzer) just missed the Super Pole session by fractions of a second, and would start 11th and 12th, with Laurent Aiello (OPC Team Phoenix) back in 16th, just behind another champion, Bernd Schneider of Mercedes.

There was chaos on the opening lap, and Scheider was involved in a collision with Christian Abt, which damaged his car slightly, while Aiello was pushed into a spin by Schneider. Manuel Reuter had also spun at Turn 1 following a collision with Frank Biela's Audi. Steering clear of trouble, Fässler ended the opening lap in fifth position, with Dumbreck battling with championship protagonist Gary Paffett of Mercedes in seventh.

Fässler worked his way up to third, as frontrunners Christijan Albers (Mercedes) and Martin Tomczyk (Audi) clashed, but lost a place to the charging Paffett, who was trying to keep his title hopes alive. Fässler kept the British driver in his sights until the finish, but was unable to repeat Manuel Reuter's podium finish at Oschersleben.

Behind him, Frentzen drove a brilliant race to storm up to sixth place, and was chased home closely by Scheider. Dumbreck just missed out on a point, but enjoyed a great battle with ex-F1 star Jean Alesi (Mercedes) and outgoing champion Schneider to finish ninth. Reuter recovered to finish 12th, with Aiello and the Euroteam-run Astra V8 Coupé of Jeroen Bleekemolen 16th and 17th respectively.

-opel-

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Jean Alesi , Frank Biela , Laurent Aiello , Marcel Fassler , Peter Dumbreck , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Manuel Reuter , Christijan Albers , Timo Scheider , Christian Abt , Volker Strycek , Gary Paffett , Jeroen Bleekemolen