N?rburgring: Abt Sportsline race report

Laurent Aiello on the podium after great recovery He did it again: like in the previous race in Italy, Abt driver Laurent Aiello made his way up to the podium from eleventh place on the grid in the third round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen ...

Laurent Aiello on the podium after great recovery

He did it again: like in the previous race in Italy, Abt driver Laurent Aiello made his way up to the podium from eleventh place on the grid in the third round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) at the Nürburgring. In the process, the reigning German touring car champion showed some great duels with his arch rival Bernd Schneider (Mercedes-Benz). With the trophy for third place, he made himself the best belated present for his 34th birthday that he had celebrated on Friday before the race.

With third place during the first appearance at the Nürburgring this year, Laurent Aiello became the only driver in the 21 strong DTM-starting field who has made it onto the podium at all three rounds held so far this season. Next to a good start, some successful overtaking manoeuvres and the defence against all attacks made by Bernd Schneider, two perfect pit stops were also a guarantee for the repeated success.

Mattias Ekström's experience in the Eifel was quite the contrary: the young Swede, most recently second in the round at the Adria coast, made it from fourth place into first with a sensational start and extended his lead after ten laps to almost eleven seconds. But two pit stops that went wrong, because the nut on the right rear wheel didn't completely go on like it had to, cost the secret favourite of the 2003 season valuable seconds at first and then all chances of victory as well. A slight consolation: with seventh place, the youngster still scored two points.

Christian Abt claimed one point from the Eifel. After a collision and the subsequent spin in the first few corners already, the driver from Kempten dropped back to 19th place, where all his perspectives appeared to be gone. But once again, Christian Abt showed his competitive abilities and in 40 entirely error-free and fast laps, he made up one place after another and finished eighth.

While Martin Tomczyk lost his chances of scoring points in the early stages after a drive through penalty and Karl Wendlinger did so with a collision in which be became innocently involved, Peter Terting had a small premiere at the Nürburgring: because he came in very late for his first mandatory pit stop, the only 19-year old from Kempten led a DTM-race for the first time. Eventually, the junior finished 14th after another immaculate race.

Quotes after the race

Laurent Aiello (3rd place):

"I am satisfied with the results, but not so with the grid position. In the race, my car was very quick and a good strategy and perfect pit stops allowed me to make up into third place. We still have to understand our car even better, because it works in the race, but it doesn't in practice. I am racing for the championship and when we want to stay in touch with the leaders, I have to be starting further up to the front."

Mattias Ekström (7th place):

"To be able to win in the DTM, you have to be the best in every respect: in qualifying, on the track during the race and in the pit lane. Unfortunately, for us, the latter factor didn't work flawlessly for us today, which has cost a podium finish or maybe even victory. Of course, I am disappointed, but I am not making any insults: my team has already helped me so often on the way to champagne, so mistakes may happen as well."

Christian Abt (8th place):

"Unfortunately, somebody drove into the rear of my TT-R in the first few corners already. This really upset me, because the spin ruined my race. Then, I only went for it and still made it into the points indeed. The duels with Opel and Mercedes have been real fun, and they have also shown that overtaking is also possible without any harsh contact."

Peter Terting (14th place):

"I am overjoyed having made it into the finish once again. I didn't make any spins and any major mistakes. For the first time, I have overtaken opponents during a DTM-race and for a short while, I was even leading the race. That was a great feeling and real fun. It can go on like this. This weekend, I have learned a lot once again and after the race, I am even more motivated and self-confident for the EuroSpeedway."

Karl Wendlinger (16th place):

"For me, the weekend started really well: in testing and in practice, we found the optimal set-up for the race and we were accordingly optimistic going into the race. But after some contact at the start and the quick repair in the pits that was necessary, the 41 laps were just a little but more than a practice session. Fortunately, there are now two races within a fortnight, during which we can get the feeling of success again."

Martin Tomczyk (18th place):

"I started as the first Audi, I finished as the last Audi. After the excellent qualifying, that obviously wasn't my goal. In the race, I could have scored some points, also after the first pit stop, that took a little bit longer, and the drive through, that clearly was my fault, I just hadn't thought of the white line. After the second stop, I came back just behind Bleekemolen. I couldn't get past, although I was faster. That finally forced me into making a mistake."

Hans-Jürgen Abt (team director):

"That was not a perfect day for us, but we can still be satisfied with Laurent's third place. During the pit stops, mistakes can always happen under the huge pressure. For Laurent, they were perfect, for Mattias, they weren't. I feel really sorry for him, because today could have been his big day. Christian has been driving a good race, too. And a big hand to Peter Terting: he has been working very well here and he was very quick in the race. He is on the way up."


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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Karl Wendlinger , Laurent Aiello , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Peter Terting , Hans-Jurgen Abt