Next to former F1-drivers Jean Alesi and Karl Wendlinger, who have been competing in the DTM since the start of the current season, the DTM has attracted another driver from the top league: 62 times Grand Prix-driver JJ Lehto will already be...
Next to former F1-drivers Jean Alesi and Karl Wendlinger, who have been competing in the DTM since the start of the current season, the DTM has attracted another driver from the top league: 62 times Grand Prix-driver JJ Lehto will already be racing an Opel Astra V8 Coupé in the eighth round at the A1-Ring (September 6 till 8). He will be replacing Belgian Yves Olivier, for the moment only at that event. Thus, with Alesi, Lehto, Wendlinger, reigning champion Bernd Schneider as well as Opel-drivers Michael Bartels and Joachim Winkelhock, there are six drivers in the DTM with Formula 1 experience.
The DTM-comeback of Finn JJ Lehto, who already was successful in the DTM for Opel in 1995 and 1996, was preceded by a test of the 36-year old at the French circuit of Dijon. Opel motorsport director Volker Strycek: "The co-operation with JJ was very positive. I am convinced that he is an asset for us and for the DTM."
Lehto himself says: "I am really happy to return to Opel and to the DTM. Since our time together with the Calibra, the contact has always remained upright. I have been following the new DTM from its very beginning and I have never made it a secret that I would like to race again in this series, especially as I will be seeing many familiar faces again."
JJ Lehto, who raced in Formula 1 with Benetton, Sauber, Dallara and Onyx, competed for the Opel-teams Joest and Rosberg in DTM and ITC in 1995 and 1996 and scored six podium finishes. This year, the Finn has a contract with General Motors and competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) for Cadillac.
With the eighth of ten rounds, the DTM enters the finish straight of the 2002 season at the A1-Ring. After four victories, Frenchman Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R) is leading the championship with a total of 62 points, followed by Bernd Schneider (Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM, 38 points), who claimed an early third DTM-title in Styria in 2001. Now, Aiello has his first matchball for the championship at the A1-Ring. There are still 39 points at stake in the remaining three races. Apart from the A1-Ring, these are the rounds at the Circuit Park Zandvoort in The Netherlands, September 29, and the DTM-final at the new Hockenheimring, October 6.