Jean Alesi Takes First 2003 Victory Bernd Schneider in the Overall Lead Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) won the sixth round of the 2003 DTM at Donington, England clinching his first win of the season and his second DTM career victory after winning...
Jean Alesi Takes First 2003 Victory Bernd Schneider in the Overall Lead
Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) won the sixth round of the 2003 DTM at Donington, England clinching his first win of the season and his second DTM career victory after winning last year’s race at the Leicestershire track. After leading with less than a second ahead of Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) for most of the race, Alesi finally won with a 1.466sec margin. Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R) came home third. Schneider regained the lead of the Drivers' Championship with 43 points ahead of Christijan Albers (ExpressService AMG-Mercedes/40) who finished the race in fifth place. Schneider started from his 22nd DTM career pole position, but Alesi, who had qualified second, accelerated even faster and led the field into the first corner. Behind them, Marcel Fässler (AMG-Mercedes) improved from fifth to third squeezing through between the Abt-Audi TT-Rs of Ekström and Laurent Aiello whilst Albers passed the two Abt-Audis during the first lap.
Schneider and Fässler followed Alesi closely. After the first compulsory pit stops on lap 7 (Alesi/Schneider) and lap 8 (Fässler/Albers) the order of the leading three drivers remained the same. Albers dropped to fifth behind Ekström.
On lap 21, Alesi and Schneider pitted again simultaneously, and again Alesi defended his lead ahead of Schneider. Fässler who stopped one lap later was passed by Ekström at the pit lane exit.
Alesi won with a 1.4sec gap whilst Schneider posted the fastest lap of the race (1:29.640); his fifth fastest lap of the year in six races. Fässler came home fourth ahead of Albers. Thomas Jäger (Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes) ended up seventh. He was the best driver of a 2002 AMG-Mercedes CLK and scored his first points of the season. AMG-Mercedes, Jean Alesi: “I’m absolutely happy about my victory today. This is a very emotional moment. Finally everything worked fine and obviously Donington is my lucky track. It was a tough race with Bernd putting pressure on me from the beginning, however, after my good start I was able to control the race from the lead.” - Vodafone AMG-Mercedes, Bernd Schneider: “I’m satisfied with the championship lead, but not with the race. My car was capable of winning but after Jean’s sensational start and due to his faultless race I had no chance.” - AMG-Mercedes, Marcel Fässler: “My start was really good. Unfortunately, after my second pit stop I dropped behind Ekström. Behind him I lost a lot of time. As a result of running too close to Ekström my tyres faded a little and I was not able to attack.” - ExpressService AMG-Mercedes, Christijan Albers: “Fighting with Aiello on the first lap we had contacts several times so the toe link at the left front was damaged and I was lucky that I could go the leaders’ pace.” - Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes, Thomas Jäger: “I’m happy to be the first driver this year to score points with a last year’s CLK. This is a great reward for the team and we’re now hungry for more.” - Bernd Mayländer came home twelfth. - ARTA AMG-Mercedes, Katsutomo Kaneishi retired on lap 20 after his engine stalled and did not start again. The reason for that is still to be investigated. - Service 24 h AMG-Mercedes driver Stefan Mücke finished 11th. Gary Paffett fought for seventh place with Jäger in the beginning but lost a possible points finish after a short off on lap 8. He ended up ninth.
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “Congratulations to Jean on a great race. His excellent start was decisive for the outcome of the race, although Bernd put a lot of pressure on him and was able to drive faster for a while. Jean’s and Bernd’s pit crews made no mistakes, when both drivers pitted simultaneously twice. The result was good for the sport and for the team spirit. Thomas Jäger’s seventh place in a last year’s CLK is a satisfying result, he scored the first points with a 2002 model this year.”