DTM

Donington: Round six preview

6th round DTM Donington Park (GB), July 25-27, 2003 Catching up begins with the starting shot into the second half Return round and catching up -- with this motto, the DTM is starting into its second season half at the traditional circuit of ...

6th round DTM Donington Park (GB), July 25-27, 2003
Catching up begins with the starting shot into the second half

Return round and catching up -- with this motto, the DTM is starting into its second season half at the traditional circuit of Donington Park (GB) near Birmingham. "The situation in the championship is still open," says reigning champion Laurent Aiello. Only 14 points are separating Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R) in fifth place in the drivers' standings from points leader and three times' winner Christijan Albers (AMG-Mercedes CLK, 36 points).

Between them are the two Mercedes-Benz-drivers Bernd Schneider (35 points) and Marcel Fässler (29 points), as well as Peter Dumbreck (Opel Astra V8 Coupé, 23 points) in fourth position. At the halfway point last year, Aiello was already 25 points clear of his opponents.

Opel-ace Peter Dumbreck: "Donington is tailor-made for Opel"

"Donington is a very fast, fluent track with a lot of great, fast corners," British Opel-ace Peter Dumbreck describes his home circuit. "I am thinking about 'Old Hairpin' or 'Craner Curves', that are both flat. You approach downhill at some 250 km/h, you just shift down one gear -- just marvellous. This track is really fun and it suits me. Judging from our experience so far, the characteristic is like tailor-made for our Coupé."

Last year already, Opel's Manuel Reuter put the Astra on pole-position at Donington. Dumbreck is convinced that "we can look forward to a highly exciting race." His fellow-Opel-driver Alain Menu also has a home round: the Swiss has been British Touring Car Champion twice and has been living in the UK for years.

Last year's winner Jean Alesi: "For me, Donington is something very special"

"Coming to Donington is something very special for me, and not just because of the beautiful race track and my first DTM-win last year," Mercedes-star Jean Alesi says. "There, I always visit the racing car museum of circuit owner Tom Wheatcroft. It has some fascinating treasures. I am happy to race at the track owned by this gentleman, he likes racing just like I do." Moreover, the Frenchman likes the British fans: "They are really welcoming and enthusiastic."

Young Briton Gary Paffett is also looking forward to the race: "I expect a lot of friends and relatives who will be keeping their fingers crossed for me." Mercedes-Benz motorsport director Norbert Haug: "The DTM is heading into the second half of the season. The first five races have shown good and exciting competition and like in Formula 1, there are four drivers with chances of winning the title."

Champion Laurent Aiello: "We are well prepared for catching up"

"For my team Abt and for myself, the return round is now starting," reigning champion Laurent Aiello says. In 1999, he clinched the title in the British Touring Car Championship in a dominant way. "During the five weeks' summer break, we have been working hard and we feel well prepared for the second half. Now, we will start catching up!"

During two days of trouble-free testing in Italy with Aiello, Christian Abt, Mattias Ekström and Martin Tomczyk, work on the performance of the Abt-Audi TT-R continued. "Admittedly, the strict technical regulations in the DTM limit the possibilities", says team principal Hans-Jürgen Abt. "But we are still finding some details that can be improved."

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Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Laurent Aiello , Marcel Fassler , Peter Dumbreck , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Manuel Reuter , Norbert Haug , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Gary Paffett , Hans-Jurgen Abt , Alain Menu , Craner Curves