DTM

Donington: Round three preview

3rd round DTM Donington Park (GB), May 17-19 2002 May 14, 2002 With three British champions in Donington, "A track with fast corners" There is excitement among the DTM-racing drivers before the third round of the season. The return to the ...

3rd round DTM Donington Park (GB), May 17-19 2002 May 14, 2002

With three British champions in Donington, "A track with fast corners"

There is excitement among the DTM-racing drivers before the third round of the season. The return to the traditional track of Donington Park (GB) near Birmingham invokes pleasant memories for many of them, especially Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R), Alain Menu and Joachim Winkelhock (both Opel Astra V8 Coupé): all three of them are past champions of the British Touring Car Championship. Aiello claimed the title in 1999, Menu in the seasons 1997 and 2000, Winkelhock in 1993. Aiello is coming to Great Britain as the clear points leader (25 points), followed by his fellow-Abt-Audi-driver Mattias Ekström (12) and Bernd Schneider (7) with the Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM.

Swiss Menu, who has been living in England with his family for many years, is looking forward to the race, not just because of his successes in the past. "The track just has everything", the Opel-driver says. "The major part is very fast, with long, fluent corners, some uphill, some downhill. The rest is rather slow, with narrow corners and hairpins. In order to achieve a good lap time, you have to brake very late and you need good traction." Opel-colleague Winkelhock judges: "The track is demanding, it is a great challenge." When racing in Britain, the Swabian quickly was given the nickname "Smoking Joe", because of his spectacular driving style with smoking tyres, and because of his passion for smoking. "My three years in England were great, the fans really took me into their hearts."

Frenchman Laurent Aiello likes to reflect about 1999. "I am really happy to race in England again. In Donington, I have never won yet; maybe I can achieve that now." For the championship leader, who has scored two wins, it is now "not just about wins anymore, but mainly about constantly scoring points. As the hunted, the DTM is getting more difficult from race to race. But when we continue to work in a concentrated way, then I am sure that we can cope with the pressure." Aiello's fellow-Audi-driver in the Team Abt Sportsline, Austrian Karl Wendlinger, is, like Mercedes-driver Jean Alesi (F), looking back to a Formula 1-race in Donington in 1993. Alesi says: "The track is magnificent and I think it is perfectly suited for the DTM."

Two drivers of the current DTM already have won DTM-races at the 4.023 km long track in the Midlands halfway through the 1990s: Manuel Reuter with the Opel V6 Calibra in 1994 (the first Calibra-victory in the DTM), Bernd Schneider one year later with the Mercedes C-Class. "Donington is a track that I like very much", says Schneider. "The right-hand corner at the end of the main straight is downhill and is incredibly fast. All in all, the fast section of the track should suit our CLK-Coupé." With the C-Class, Schneider had an impeccable record during his first DTM-championship year 1995: fastest time in qualifying, fastest lap in both races, two victories. It is obvious that Peter Dumbreck, as a Briton, is looking forward to the race in Donington. "There will be many friends and family members, who want to support me", says the Mercedes-Benz-driver. "That is great, but it also increases the pressure on me."

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Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Karl Wendlinger , Laurent Aiello , Peter Dumbreck , Bernd Schneider , Joachim Winkelhock , Manuel Reuter , Mattias Ekström , Alain Menu