Lausitz II: Friday practices report

First practice: Alesi sets the quickest time on his very last lap For the second time this season, DTM makes a stop at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz. The first 90 minutes of testing took place in rainy conditions and Jean Alesi set the first...

First practice: Alesi sets the quickest time on his very last lap

For the second time this season, DTM makes a stop at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz. The first 90 minutes of testing took place in rainy conditions and Jean Alesi set the first session's fastest lap time, in his AMG-Mercedes C-Class.

The Frenchman covered a total of 33 laps, and in his final lap at the 3.442-kilometre track he outclassed the lap time of the previously quickest, Gary Paffett, by 0.108 seconds, while Jamie Green (1:32.574 minutes) came third, thus completing the Mercedes-Benz trio at the front end of the field.

Tom Kristensen was the fastest of the Audi drivers and at the end of the 90-minute session, the Dane took fourth place, 0.299 seconds behind Alesi, with Marcel Fässler (1:32.821 minutes) taking the fastest of the Opel Vectra GTS V8 to sixth place, behind Bernd Schneider. While Mattias Ekström, Paffett's opponent in the battle for the title, finish seventh, more than half a second behind Alesi.

The first test session took place in extremely difficult weather conditions, with temperatures about 14°C and on a wet track. Hence, several of the DTM drivers took their cars beyond the limit - again and again. Yet, the numerous off-track moments had no consequences. "The track conditions are anything but nice," explained Audi works driver Christian Abt.

While the Friday conditions shouldn't represent a major problem for the experienced DTM drivers, the rookies in the field might suffer dearly, should the forecasters be right and the conditions improve massively, during the course of the weekend. In this case, the experiences gained in the Friday tests will turn out to be virtually useless.

Fortunately, the teams have gained dry weather data in May, hence, they have got at least basic information regarding a dry weather set-up. Yet, you will have to wait and see if this basic information is enough for the qualifying session where the battle for the Super Pole positions uses to be extremely close.

Two-time Formula One World champion Mika Häkkinen completed just five laps, in the first test session. Due to a technical problem on his AMG-Mercedes C-Class' power steering, the Finn spent nearly the entire session in his team's garages.

In the second session, however, Mika is going to push hard to meet the expectations. After all, he finished third in the 2005 season's first EuroSpeedway race in May, thus securing his maiden DTM podium finish. And in the following race, at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, he gained his maiden DTM win.

Second practice: Alesi the quickest on day one, at the EuroSpeedway

Just as it was the case in session one, experienced Jean Alesi once again set the fastest lap time in the second 90-minute test session at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz. Behind the wheel of his AMG-Mercedes C-Class, the Frenchman's 1:26.443-minute lap set in the afternoon session turned out to be the fastest lap time of the day.

Second and third places were secured by DTM rookies Frank Stippler and Allan McNish. With his 2004-spec Audi A4 DTM, Stippler lapped the circuit just 0.131 seconds slower than Alesi, while Alesi's 0.555-second lead over third placed McNish turned out to be unfamiliarly big for a DTM session.

While the morning session took place in wet conditions, the weather improved during the course of session two and in the closing stages, the drivers had the chance of completing some laps on a nearly completely dry track. Hence, it didn't come as a surprise that the positions were swapped nearly second by second.

At the end of the 90-minute session, Audi's Pierre Kaffer and Mattias Ekström finished fourth and fifth respectively, while Heinz-Harald Frentzen in his Opel Vectra GTS V8 finished sixth, behind Alesi and the following Audi quartet. Yet, the former Formula one ace's fastest lap was a massive 2.083 seconds slower than the one of Alesi. Jamie Green, Alexandros Margaritis, Tom Kristensen and Laurent Aiello completed the top ten of the second test session.

Mika Häkkinen, who had completed just six laps in the morning session, due to a technical problem, could join the afternoon action. He completed 26 laps and finished 17th. Great Britain's championship leader, Gary Paffett, covered a total of 31 laps but had to settle for 19th place.


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Series DTM
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Jean Alesi , Mika Hakkinen , Tom Kristensen , Allan McNish , Laurent Aiello , Marcel Fassler , Bernd Schneider , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Gary Paffett , Pierre Kaffer , Frank Stippler , Jamie Green