DTM

Lausitz: Mercedes qualifying report

Bernd Schneider on Pole Position Drivers of all three brands among top-three on the grid Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) will start Sunday's fourth round of the 2003 DTM from pole position after setting a time of 1:39.437 in Saturday's...

Bernd Schneider on Pole Position
Drivers of all three brands among top-three on the grid

Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) will start Sunday's fourth round of the 2003 DTM from pole position after setting a time of 1:39.437 in Saturday's single-lap qualifying for Super Pole. It is Bernd's second pole position of the year and the 20th of his DTM career. Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R/1:39.930) was second fastest ahead of Peter Dumbreck (Opel Astra V8 Coupé/1:40.114). Drivers of all three brands are among the top-three on the grid for the first time this season.

Marcel Fässler (AMG-Mercedes/1:40.204), pole sitter in the last two events, was fourth fastest. Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes/1:40.535) and Christijan Albers (ExpressService AMG-Mercedes/ 1:41.157), winner of the last two races, were eighth and ninth fastest respectively.

Schneider was also fastest in the qualifying, 0.066sec ahead of Fässler and 0.103sec ahead of Albers. After the 25-minute session, the first 13 drivers were within a little more than eight tenths of a second.

Other than planned, the DTM used the EuroSpeedway's 4.534 kilometres long Grand Prix track entering the infield at the end of the front straight instead of the high speed tri-oval's turn one. This had been tested last year in different conditions from today. This weekend the temperatures are 15 degrees higher than during the test in 2002 and the lap times are two seconds faster.

After tyre failures on Friday, the German motor sport federation DMSB decided to abandon the circuit layout with turn one and return to the Grand Prix circuit. The motor sport managers of the three brands racing in the DTM and their tyre partner Dunlop agreed.

Bernd Schneider, Vodafone AMG-Mercedes, Pole Position (1:39.437):

"I'm really happy about my pole position. Despite my careful approach in the first sector, I was already pretty fast, and in sectors two and three it worked out perfectly. My car's set-up was excellent all weekend; on the track with turn one yesterday as well as on the Grand Prix circuit today. It's great fun driving here. On the front straight, I drove closely along the pit wall today, because I had learned from Klaus Ludwig, that you have to go the shortest way to be fast. Hopefully Sunday's race will end as positive as today's qualifying."

Marcel Fässler, AMG-Mercedes, fourth (1:40.204):

"After a small mistake in the first sector, I was more careful for the rest of my qualifying lap. The last sector, too, was not perfect, therefore I'm satisfied with fourth place. It's a good grid position for the race."

Jean Alesi, AMG-Mercedes, AMG-Mercedes, eighth (1:40,535):

"In this morning's Free Practice I had problems to set up the car correctly after they had changed the track layout. We found a better balance for qualifying, but I still didn't manage to get a clean lap. However, I look forward to Sunday's race."

Christijan Albers, ExpressService AMG-Mercedes, ninth (1:41.157):

"I wasn't happy with my set-up at all. I made a mistake under braking in the infield's second corner and ran wide which cost me a lot of time. Also in the other sectors it didn't work well. We have some work to do before the race."

Gary Paffett, Service 24h AMG-Mercedes, 15th (1:41.259):

"In my second DTM qualifying, I'm again the fastest driver with a last year's model, and I'm again ahead of my team mate. I thank our team, because they worked on the car in the right direction."

Stefan Mücke, Service 24 h AMG-Mercedes, 16th (1:41.275):

"In Free Practice, we had some problems with the car, but the team solved them and we improved significantly in qualifying thanks to everybody's effort."

Thomas Jäger, Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes, 17th (1:41.300):

"I didn't make any mistakes, but with the car's set-up I was not able to end up further up the grid. With a good start and when I'm able to finish the race, a better result should be possible."

Bernd Mayländer, Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes, 18th (1:1:41.783):

"I suffered from understeer all weekend, and so far we were not able to solve this problem. However, our race results this season were always better than our qualifying positions, therefore I'm optimistic for tomorrow."

Katsutomo Kaneishi, ARTA AMG-Mercedes, 19th (1:42.344):

"Understeer and problems with the balance of the car prevented me from improving."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"The qualifying format proved to be good again, and all three brands are among the top-three on the grid for the first time this year. Bernd drove a dream lap and was a class of his own with an advantage of almost half a second. In the single-lap qualifying, the nerves are all what matters. Today, small mistakes produced bigger gaps in the super pole result than in qualifying when the first 13 drivers were within a little more than eight tenths of a second."

-mercedes-

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Marcel Fassler , Peter Dumbreck , Bernd Schneider , Bernd Maylander , Christijan Albers , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Klaus Ludwig , Thomas Jäger , Gary Paffett , Kaneishi Katsutomo , Stefan Mücke