Hockenheim report

The races What a day - for Opel on the one hand and Uwe Alzen on the other. Opel conquered not only the first ever DTM victory, but even a double victory by last year's champion Klaus Ludwig - which meant the third position in the championship...

The races

What a day - for Opel on the one hand and Uwe Alzen on the other. Opel conquered not only the first ever DTM victory, but even a double victory by last year's champion Klaus Ludwig - which meant the third position in the championship for him - and a second position in race one by Manuel Reuter. A sensational result, but an even bigger surprise was performed by Uwe Alzen, who succeeded in conquering one third (race one) and one second position on his '94 Mercedes, keeping all the '95 cars of his manufacturer behind himself twice.

Race one

All the Opel fans at the Hockenheimring, hoping for an Opel victory this weekend, cheered in lap two, when Manuel Reuter succeeded in overtaking the leading Dario Franchitti. But one lap later they already had to be afraid of another disappointment, when the young Scotsman reconquered the lead and pulled away lap after lap. Behind those two followed Klaus Ludwig and Jorg van Ommen, while Nicola Larini, who had started from fourth position, suffered engine problems and fell back very fast before he had to retire in lap seven. Meanwhile van Ommen and Ludwig battled for third position, a battle which was won by Ludwig in lap four. This seemed to motivate the ex-champion. Nearer and nearer he caught up to his works mate Reuter to attack him in lap seven and taking his second position away.

More than this second place however seemed to be impossible, for leader Franchitti showed an absolute fascinating performance and seemed to be definitely out of reach for anybody else. But only until lap 10, when suddenly a big fire stopped his impressing ride. And Ludwig returned to the stadium as the new leader, cheered on by thousands of Opel fans, who hadn't dared to hope for this. Ludwig kept the lead to the finish line, followed by Manuel Reuter, completing Opel's first double victory in DTM's history. But the two Opel drivers weren't the only ones who had reason to be happy.

Uwe Alzen indeed was the man of the weekend. Started from 13th (!) position in his '94 Mercedes he attacked and attacked and gained position after position. Lap 14 saw him on place 4, only the two Opels and Mercedes works mate van Ommen in front of him. And Alzen didn't even think about staying behind van Ommen to ensure his fantastic fourth position. No! In the last lap he performed a marvellous attack and gained the first podium position of his DTM career. Best Alfa Romeo driver was Alessandro Nannini in fifth position.

Race two

This race didn't produce as much tension as the first one did, but the crowds on the stands loved it nevertheless. Klaus Ludwig took the lead right from the start and kept it to the chequered flag, while Reuter fell back to fourth position (which he also kept to the finish line). J”rg van Ommen took second position, and again it was Uwe Alzen, who followed him like a shadow, while he had to take care of Manuel Reuter. And those three really fascinated all the fans. Reuter trying to overtake Alzen, Alzen attacking van Ommen and van Ommen doing everything to keep the other two behind him. But in lap nine van Ommen couldn't take the pressure any longer and had to let Alzen pass him.

Now it was Reuter, who pressurised van Ommen, but meanwhile Reuter himself had to watch his mirrors. Sandy Grau had caught up and proved, that he wanted more than fifth place. This struggle continued until the chequered flag was shown - but without any further changes in position. Although the last two laps produced some more excitement for Reuter, for he had to finish the race with flames rising out of the rear bottom of his car. In the Alfa pits disappointment was even bigger than in race one - Giancarlo Fisichella in tenth position was the best Alfa driver.

1 - Klaus Ludwig "I was driving as if it was a dream. This was the first time, that my car finished two races without any problems. Now the fight with the other manufacturers is really going to start. Next year - that's for sure - we'll have a competitive car. All the week I thought about what kind of a present I could give to Keke on the occasion of his retirement. Now I know: two victories."

9 - Manuel Reuter "My car and my tyres were perfect during all the two races. But I couldn't go the pace of Dario and Klaus, so I let Klaus pass. In race two my back started aching again. When I was informed, that my car was on fire, I was rather depressed, but fortunately I could manage to cross the line without loosing positions or even retirement."

22 - Uwe Alzen "Now we've got an engine with pneumatic valve control. In race one my car was absolutely perfect, in race two I had a slight clutch problem, but it was a great fight. I hope, that I'll be able to be as competitive next year too."

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Dario Franchitti , Uwe Alzen , Manuel Reuter , Klaus Ludwig , Alessandro Nannini , Nicola Larini , Jörg van Ommen