DTM

N?rburgring: Qualifying report

Youth to the fore - Fässler, Albers, Tomczyk on top in qualifying The young hotshots of the DTM were on top in qualifying for the third round of the DTM at the Nürburgring: like most recently at the Adria Raceway, Swiss Marcel Fässler (26) ...

Youth to the fore - Fässler, Albers, Tomczyk on top in qualifying

The young hotshots of the DTM were on top in qualifying for the third round of the DTM at the Nürburgring: like most recently at the Adria Raceway, Swiss Marcel Fässler (26) claimed pole-position with the AMG-Mercedes CLK. Tomorrow Fässler's fellow-Mercedes-driver, Adria-winner Christijan Albers (24) from The Netherlands will be starting from second place.

In the spectacular single-lap qualifying, the second row of the starting grid was locked out by Martin Tomczyk (21) and Mattias Ekström (24) from Sweden (both Abt-Audi TT-R). Fifth and best-placed Opel-driver was Alain Menu with the Astra V8 Coupé from Bernd Schneider (AMG-Mercedes CLK). In eleventh place after timed practice, champion Laurent Aiello just failed to make it into the Super-Pole.

Marcel Fässler: "I can benefit from my experience"

"I am still feeling young," 26-year old Marcel Fässler says, "but this already is my fourth year in the DTM, so I can certainly benefit from my experience. I managed a perfect lap exactly at the right time. Now, I have to make more of it in the race than at the Adria." In Italy, Fässler finished fourth.

Mercedes-Benz Motorsport-director Norbert Haug praised the new qualifying mode with 25 minutes of timed practice for all drivers and the subsequent single-lap session for the ten fastest drivers. "It is an absolute hit, Formula 1 can take this as an example." Haug doesn't see a generation change in the DTM: "The next time round, it can be completely different again. Maybe, the lay-out of the sprint track, that requires an absolutely fluent driving style, suits the young drivers more."

Martin Tomczyk: "I am not lacking any speed"

Fastest Abt-Audi-driver Martin Tomczyk remains unaffected by his technical problems at Hockenheim and at the Adria: "My car is very well prepared and I have shown once again that I am not lacking any speed. It was just down to some unlucky coincidences, but I am sure that I will be able to break my duck soon."

Last year's winner Laurent Aiello will be starting from eleventh place: "I just haven't managed to find a perfect set-up, but I remain calm: in Italy, I still finished third in the race, so anything can happen tomorrow."

Team principal Hans-Jürgen Abt said: "I am happy to have some strong drivers. And at the end of the day, Laurent's position shows how close things are at the top." In timed practice, 15 drivers were within 0.9 seconds. "Thus, it can happen that you drop out of the top ten quite quickly."

Alain Menu: "I am very happy with what I have achieved"

Up to the final corner of his flying lap, Swiss Alain Menu looked all set to claim a slot on the first or the second row of the grid. "Then, I made a slight mistake, too bad", the 38-year old said. "But still, I am totally happy with what I have achieved, because my time shows, that we have made a big step forward with our Astra Coupé since the last race. Of course, my goal here in the Eifel is a podium finish."

Opel-motorsport director Strycek was happy with the fact that, next to Menu, seventh-placed Peter Dumbreck and young Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen in ninth position had also made it into the top ten on the grid, but said self-critical: "It could have been better, so therefore, I am not satisfied. But this season, we will make it into the first grid row. We have come within striking distance to the others, and that is good." Strycek also praised the new qualifying format: "The Super-Pole is really exciting."

-dtm-

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Series DTM
Drivers Laurent Aiello , Marcel Fassler , Peter Dumbreck , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Christijan Albers , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Jeroen Bleekemolen , Hans-Jurgen Abt , Alain Menu