Morning EkstrÃ¶m sets the first fastest time of the 2007 season The battle for the 2007 DTM title has now officially begun. The time of playing hide-and-seek and sandbagging in pre-season testing is over, from now on, it is serious: the battle...
Morning Ekström sets the first fastest time of the 2007 season
The battle for the 2007 DTM title has now officially begun. The time of playing hide-and-seek and sandbagging in pre-season testing is over, from now on, it is serious: the battle between Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Mattias Ekström with his Audi A4 DTM had the best start in the first test of the DTM at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. In the first encounter of the DTM, the Swede set the first fastest time of the 2007 season.
With his Audi A4 DTM, Ekström lapped the 4.574 kilometres long Grand Prix track in 1:34.761 minutes, which made hum 0.095 seconds quicker than second-placed Daniel La Rosa with his 2006-spec AMG-Mercedes C-Class. Third place in the first test on Friday went to Tom Kristensen. The Dane was 0.159 seconds down on his team-mate. For Ekström, however, setting the fastest time was no reason to be euphoric: "I think that we have to wait for at least three races before we really know what the situation between Audi and Mercedes-Benz will be."
The DTM-field was well mixed up in the results. Like La Rosa in second place, there were quite a few other rookies and drivers with year-old cars among the front runners. Behind Alexandre Prémat, Timo Scheider (both Audi), Paul di Resta (Mercedes-Benz) and Christian Abt (Audi), Bruno Spengler was the fastest driver with a new AMG-Mercedes C-Class in eighth place.
Susie Stoddart slightly damaged the front section of her AMG Mercedes C-Class while briefly getting off the track. In the closing stages of the session, Lucas Luhr had a brief off as well. The Audi-novice, who is attending a DTM event live for the first time in his life, locked up under braking before the Sachs-hairpin.
DTM returnee Gary Paffett and Alexandros Margaritis, who are racing this season together with di Resta at the Persson-team, didn't go out. "We have already been testing prior to the season at the Hockenheimring already", said Paffett. "At the moment, the track is still slippery. We will only attack when there is more grip and we save our tyres."
Afternoon Quick rookie: Paul di Resta sets fastest time of the day
Young guns to the fore: with Paul di Resta, a rookie set the fastest time in the second test of the DTM at the Hockenheimring. On the fastest of his total of 33 laps, the Scot completed the 4.574 kilometres long track in 1:34.752 minutes. Thus, he was faster than the top time of Mattias Ekström in the morning and secured himself the fastest time of the day.
With the 2005-spec AMG Mercedes C-Class, the 21-year old Scot ranked ahead of Timo Scheider. The resident of Austria was 0.062 seconds short of the top position. Third place went to Bruno Spengler, who was 0.132 seconds down with his current C-Class. At the end of the 90 minutes' session, 19 of the 20 DTM drivers ranked within one second.
The Audi and Mercedes-Benz teams mainly focussed on long runs during the second test session. The drivers completed significantly more laps than in the morning session. Bernd Schneider, Alexandre Premat and Jamie Green all drove an entire race distance of 37 laps at the 4.574 kilometres long Grand Prix circuit.
Like in the morning, drivers with year-old machinery were strong. Next to frontrunner Paul di Resta with his 2005-spec AMG Mercedes C-Class, Daniel La Rosa in fourth and Mathias Lauda in fifth place made it into the top ten, both of them driving a car from last year.
Behind the three Adi top drivers Tom Kristensen, Mattias Ekström and Martin Tomczyk in sixth through eighth place, Adam Carroll was ninth with his Futurecom-TME-A4. Susie Stoddart completed the top ten as the best-placed lady racer in tenth place.