DTM

EuroSpeedway: Race report

First victory for Schneider, points leader Aiello only fourth For the sovereign champion of the previous year, crossing the finish line was also a liberation: the victory of Bernd Schneider (Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM) in the sixth round of the DTM...

First victory for Schneider, points leader Aiello only fourth

For the sovereign champion of the previous year, crossing the finish line was also a liberation: the victory of Bernd Schneider (Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM) in the sixth round of the DTM at the Lausitzring, was the first win of the reigning champion this season. Thus, the Saarland-born driver promoted to second in the championship (33 points). As four times' winner and points leader Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R, 54 points) only finished fourth, Schneider reduced the gap to the points leader to 21 points.

At the 4.534 km long Lausitzring, Aiello's fellow-Audi-driver Mattias Ekström finished second from Marcel Fässler (Mercedes-Benz). The two Opel works-drivers Manuel Reuter and Joachim Winkelhock occupied fifth and sixth place, both scoring points with their Opel Astra V8 Coupé.

Bernd Schneider:" People want to see fair motor racing"

"I was highly concentrated until the end, because both in Donington and at the Norisring, I only just lost victory in the closing stages", said an overjoyed and sweated Schneider." My car was perfect, the pit strategy of my team and our tyre change was just mega. Once, it was very close between Christian Abt and myself, but it was absolutely fair. And I am convinced that that is what people want to see-- fair motor racing." Schneider's fellow

Mercedes-driver Marcel Fässler spoke about an absolutely great race. "I was under pressure throughout, I had to defend my place from Laurent Aiello and I had to give everything."

Hans-Jürgen Abt:" Today, it was impossible to overtake Bernd"

"That was the toughest race of my career", judged Swede Mattias Ekström, who celebrated his 24th birthday on race day."The race was really demanding, but I couldn't give in, because Marcel Fässler was closing up from behind and put a lot of pressure on me."

Ekström may now have lost second place in the drivers' standings to Schneider, but with 29 points, he is still within striking distance. Therefore, team principal was "not unhappy with the result". Laurent Aiello had lost second place during the pit stop as a wheel nut was stuck." But even if Laurent wouldn't have had this bad luck, he certainly would not have succeeded in overtaking Bernd."

Manuel Reuter: made up six places

Hobby triathlete Manuel Reuter was sweated too, but he was happy: "When you want to finish in the top six in the DTM, you have to give 100 percent, and it was incredibly hot in the car." Reuter had made up from eleventh to fifth place with his Opel Astra V8 Coupé." And all the overtaking manoeuvres were fair", the Austrian-based driver said." We were racing door to door, but none has come off the track. Unfortunately, our car wasn't optimally sorted in qualifying. In the race, I could overtake drivers of both Audi and Mercedes. This makes me confident for the next race at the Nürburgring early August."

Opel motorsport director Volker Strycek admitted:" Great, that Manuel has achieved this result by his own means and that our car can bring this performance. However, our goal is not just reaching points scoring position, but rather podium places."

-dtm-

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Series DTM
Drivers Laurent Aiello , Marcel Fassler , Bernd Schneider , Manuel Reuter , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Volker Strycek , Hans-Jurgen Abt