DTM

Estoril: Friday practices report

Albers in afternoon tersely ahead, Kristensen makes day's best time A promising end for the opening of DTM's second run in Estoril (Portugal): After 90 minutes of testing on the 4.183 km Grand Prix Circuit near Lisboa, 16 drivers (i.e. nearly ...

Albers in afternoon tersely ahead, Kristensen makes day's best time

A promising end for the opening of DTM's second run in Estoril (Portugal): After 90 minutes of testing on the 4.183 km Grand Prix Circuit near Lisboa, 16 drivers (i.e. nearly DTM's whole field of starters) drove within a range of 9/10 of a second. At a lap time of 1.35,064, DTM vice champion Christijan Albers took the top in an AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse, followed by his team-mate Bernd Schneider (1.35,112 minutes).

However, day's best time stayed in the hands of Tom Kristensen in an Audi A4 DTM. In the late morning, he had managed to drive a fabulous 1.34,770 minutes. The Dane finished the afternoon test as third at 1.35,286 minutes, ahead of former DTM champion Laurent Aiello in an Opel Vectra GTS V8 (1.35,315 minutes).

1997's Formula 1 vice champion Heinz-Harald Frentzen became seventh -- at only 0,304 seconds behind Albers. "In DTM, distances between drivers are increadibly small", says DTM novice Heinz-Harald Frentzen. "In Formula 1 times, at 3/10 of a second behind best, I would probably have grabbed second place..."

Laurent Aiello, Opel's fastest, summed up: "I am very pleased. We've run our programme with no problems and modifications in setup were effective both in the long runs and in single laps. Already at the test drives in March one could see that I can drive along with the leading pack. Today, this was validated."

Mercedes' youngster Christijan Albers, who finished season opening in Hockenheim as second, said: "Today, we tried out quite a few things and we encountered no problems. Still, we got quite a lot of work to do. Today we are all close to each other. Let's see how things work out at the qualifying tomorrow, 'cause that is were it counts."

"My Audi was fine from the very beginning", says Estoril's "king of best times", Tom Kristensen. "Right at the start of the first test, I got my best lap time. For me, today's testing day went far better then my last one in Hockenheim. Now we'll go into a huddle for data analysis, and tomorrow morning, at free practice, we will work for the qualifying."

-dtm-

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Series DTM
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Tom Kristensen , Laurent Aiello , Bernd Schneider , Christijan Albers