DTM

Donington: Mercedes race notes

Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) drove his Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM to victory in the third round of the 2002 DTM at Donington Park, England, and scored his first win in his third DTM race. After 25 laps, Jean came home 12.5sec ahead of Abt-Audi drivers ...

Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) drove his Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM to victory in the third round of the 2002 DTM at Donington Park, England, and scored his first win in his third DTM race. After 25 laps, Jean came home 12.5sec ahead of Abt-Audi drivers Christian Abt and Mattias Ekström.

In Saturday's Qualifying, held in tricky conditions, Jean Alesi had secured second position on the grid, while Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) and Uwe Alzen (Warsteiner AMG-Mercedes) were caught out by the drizzle and had to start from 16th and 18th place respectively.

At the start of the 8-lap qualification race, Jean Alesi passed pole sitter Manuel Reuter (Opel Astra V8 Coupé) and led the field into the first corner, while behind them, Uwe Alzen hit Joachim Winkelhock's Opel which had stalled on the grid. The safety car was deployed for three laps, and when the race was re-started, Jean held off charging Martin Tomczyk (Abt-Audi TT-R) and won the sprint by 0.8sec.

"I drove side-by-side with Stefan Mücke, there was no room to avoid Winkelhock's car," Uwe Alzen explained. "I tried to brake, but it was too late."

In the main event, Jean started fastest again. However on lap 2 he first had to fight off Warsteiner AMG-Mercedes driver Marcel Fässler who had improved from fourth on the grid to second, and then Martin Tomczyk (Abt-Audi TT-R) who had passed Marcel. The Swiss received two stop-and-go penalties, one after his coming together with Tomczyk, the other because of jump starting and finally finished sixth.

From lap 5 on, Jean was under pressure from his team mate Bernd Schneider. When Jean pitted for fresh tyres on lap 8 he dropped to tenth, but when Bernd came in one lap later, he rejoined the race right behind Jean. Both had a close fight until lap 13 when Bernd had to pit again for a stop-and-go penalty (pit lane speeding). Jean took the chequered flag twelve laps later while Bernd came home twelfth after another stop-and-go penalty again for pit lane speeding.

"I'm happy about my first win since the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix," said Jean. "My starts and my good grid positions helped me to win. There were quite some fights first with Marcel and then with Bernd, but it was all very fair. I knew Bernd would be faster once he could overtake me so I gave it my all to stay in front. It's a shame that Bernd lost the chance to fight for a top position following his two penalties."

"My car ran well and I was in a good position to attack Jean," Bernd said. "Unfortunately I was called in for the two stop-and-go penalties." Service 24h AMG-Mercedes driver Christijan Albers finished fourth. His Rosberg team mate Stefan Mücke finished 14th.

Thomas Jäger (Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes) was tenth in the qualification race and had improved to third in the main event by lap 14, when he had to make an extra pit stop due to a tyre failure. He finally came home eleventh. His Persson team mate Peter Dumbreck finished tenth after two stop-and-go penalties (passing under yellow in the qualification race and car still being on air jacks after the three-minutes signal).

Patrick Huisman (CEB AMG-Mercedes) received a stop-and-go penalty in the qualification race (jump start), started the main event in 16th position and finished seventh. His Manthey team mate Bernd Mayländer (Oase AMG-Mercedes) encountered a brake problem and came home ninth.

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, commented: "I feel very happy for Jean, he did a good job in a dramatic race which I think the British fans have enjoyed. It must also have been a good show on TV. Today our performance was there and all the teams performed very well in their pit stops. I think we will have an exciting season ahead of us."

-mb-

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Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Marcel Fassler , Peter Dumbreck , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Joachim Winkelhock , Bernd Maylander , Uwe Alzen , Manuel Reuter , Christijan Albers , Norbert Haug , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Patrick Huisman , Thomas Jäger , Stefan Mücke