DTM

EuroSpeedway: Opel race report

Double points haul for Opel at Lausitz Opel's star drivers Manuel Reuter and Joachim Winkelhock both achieved points scoring finishes in the sixth round of the DTM at EuroSpeedway Lausitz in Germany on Sunday. Winkelhock, who finished seventh...

Double points haul for Opel at Lausitz

Opel's star drivers Manuel Reuter and Joachim Winkelhock both achieved points scoring finishes in the sixth round of the DTM at EuroSpeedway Lausitz in Germany on Sunday.

Winkelhock, who finished seventh in the earlier qualification race, amazed 59,000 spectators at the start of the main race by making a perfect getaway in his Phoenix-run Astra V8 Coupe, leaping from seventh on the grid to a brillant third place by the first corner. A fierce battle developed between Winkelhock and his nearest rivals, Abt-Audi's Mattias Ekstrom and the Mercedes of Marcel Fassler, keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats.

Winkelhock, best Opel driver in qualifying on eighth place, tried his best, but just couldn't keep the duo behind and dropped to fifth place. He was then overhauled by charging Phoenix team-mate Manuel Reuter, who had battled his way through from 11th on the grid.

Reuter enjoyed some fine battles, and his passing moves on the Abt-Audis of Martin Tomczyk and Christian Abt were acknowledged as the best of the day. His lap times were comparable with the race leaders and he finished in fifth position, with Winkelhock just two seconds behind him in sixth.

"I had some really good fights today, and fifth position from 11th on the grid was a good result," said Reuter. "Christian Abt is never easy to overtake, so I am pleased I did that although I had to brake very late to do it. I have to say he was very fair and left me room. For some reason it was very hot in the car, so I must say that it was one of the hardest races I have ever done. With all the fights I had today it left me feeling very hot and sweaty!"

Timo Scheider's Holzer-run Astra - his mechanics managed to change tires during pitstop in a record time of 5.59 seconds - scored another top 10 result, finishing just ahead of the Euroteam car of Alain Menu, who suffered a lack of grip after his pit stop and slipped down the order. Michael Bartels finished 17th after struggling to find a good balance for his Holzer machine over the weekend.

The unluckiest of the six Opel drivers was Belgium's Yves Olivier. He was second fastest in the morning warm-up, held in very wet conditions, and proved his pace by passing the Abt-Audi of former F1 driver Karl Wendlinger in the qualification race until he was forced to retire with a gearshift problem.

Opel Performance Centre chief Volker Strycek was pleased with the points scoring positions his squad achieved.

"Qualifying was not so good for us, but our speed in the race was okay," said Strycek. "We showed that we could fight and pass the Audis and Mercedes. But we are not completely satisfied, as our target is to finish races on the podium, not just in the points. However, we earned these points the hard way today, because none of the leaders dropped out of the race."

-opel-

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Series DTM
Drivers Marcel Fassler , Martin Tomczyk , Joachim Winkelhock , Manuel Reuter , Timo Scheider , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Michael Bartels , Yves Olivier , Volker Strycek , Alain Menu