Pit stops decide about DTM victory at Lausitz Fascinating battles, an old hand as the race winner and 76,000 spectators made the racing weekend at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz to a huge success. After his victory in the season opener at the ...
Pit stops decide about DTM victory at Lausitz
Fascinating battles, an old hand as the race winner and 76,000 spectators made the racing weekend at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz to a huge success. After his victory in the season opener at the Hockenheimring, record DTM champion Bernd Schneider again proved himself to be in excellent shape.
After 48 laps and a distance of 165.216 kilometres, the 41-year old Mercedes-Benz driver won and is now leading with 20 points in the championship standings. "This was hard work. I did it for my son, who had his birthday on Friday," a satisfied Schneider said. For Bernd Schneider, it was his 41st DTM victory. Mercedes-Benz scored its 130th win in the most popular international touring car series.
Danish Audi-driver Tom Kristensen secured himself second place, 1.428 seconds behind the winner. He finished ahead of crowd favourite (AMG-Mercedes). With his Audi A4 DTM, record Le Mans-winner Kristensen still claimed eighth valuable points in the fight for the championship after fascinating battles in the field.
The decision in the battle for victory in the second season round of the DTM at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz fell in the pit lane. For a long time, former Formula 1 world champion Mika Häkkinen looked on course for victory. However, he encountered problems on the left rear wheel during his second pit stop while leading the race.
His rivals took their chances and caught up. After exciting battles and an overtaking manoeuvre on the final lap, Häkkinen still secured himself a position on the podium.
Already at the start, pole-sitter Jamie Green lost his excellent position. The Briton had a bad getaway and saw Häkkinen, Mattias Ekström and Schneider overtaking. Eventually, Green finished in fourth place, ahead of his Mercedes-Benz-colleague, Canadian Bruno Spengler.
Alexandros Margaritis was delighted with his sixth position. The Greek was the best-placed driver with year-old machinery. The top ten was completed by Frenchman Jean Alesi (Stern AMG Mercedes) and a trio of Audi-drivers with Martin Tomczyk, Timo Scheider and Pierre Kaffer.
The 2004 DTM champion, Mattias Ekström, was deeply disappointed. Until two laps before the end, the Swede was running in second place, but then, he had to park his car due to lack of fuel.
Fellow Audi-driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen also lost valuable time in the pits. During his second stop, there were problems with the left rear wheel. The driver from Mönchengladbach ended the second DTM race of the year in 13th place. The two ladies in the field of 20 drivers, Susie Stoddart and Vanina Ickx, finished 15th and 16th in the Lower Lausitz.
In the points' standings, Bernd Schneider is leading with 20 points from Tom Kristensen (16) and Mika Häkkinen (11). The third DTM round of the season is taking place at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben on May 21.
Bernd Schneider (winner, Vodafone AMG-Mercedes):
"Today, it was hard work. But all in all, it was a wonderful race. I was having great fun and our strategy was right. This is an excellent result."
Tom Kristensen (2nd place, Audi Sport Team Abt):
"This was a great race and a fortunate afternoon. I had great battles with Jamie Green and Bruno Spengler, that were fair throughout. Something like this is just great fun. Making it up from fifth to second is a good achievement."
Mika Häkkinen (3. Platz, AMG-Mercedes):
"It was a challenging weekend and by no means easy going. We found the best possible set-up. In the race, I was having some slight problems, so I am satisfied with my podium finish and the points."
Norbert Haug Mercedes-Benz motor sport director:
"It was a very exciting race. Trouble with the pit stop, during which a wheel nut got stuck, eventually cost Mika the race win. Bernd Schneider was fighting in a very cool and dominant way. When you are having problems with one car, it is good when another car is there to take over. Overall, we were a little but better here than Audi."
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich Audi motor sport director:
"Today, we have seen a very exciting anf fair race, during which there were tough battles. Mattias Ekström was safely running in second place. Unfortunately, a mistake happened in re-fuelling during the second pit stop. He just ran out of fuel. At the moment, he is just having bad luck, but we will do everything to turn this around. Because of his good strategy, Tom Kristensen managed to finish the race in second place."