DTM

N?rburgring: Race report

Christijan Albers wins DTM-thriller in the Eifel Christijan Albers is only 24 years old, but he showed an extraordinarily mature performance behind the wheel of his AMG-Mercedes CLK at the sprint track of the Nürburgring. After 41 laps, the ...

Christijan Albers wins DTM-thriller in the Eifel

Christijan Albers is only 24 years old, but he showed an extraordinarily mature performance behind the wheel of his AMG-Mercedes CLK at the sprint track of the Nürburgring. After 41 laps, the Dutchman won the turbulent third season round of the DTM in a dominant way with an advantage of 7.954 seconds over his fellow Mercedes-driver Marcel Fässler.

With his second victory of the season, Albers is also in the lead of the championship standings. After a great recovery from eleventh place on the grid, champion Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi) still made it onto the podium in third place. He claimed it after a great fight with three times' DTM-champion Bernd Schneider (AMG-Mercedes CLK), who came home fourth.

During the race, the two best-placed Opel-drivers were well on course towards a podium finish. Peter Dumbreck however dropped back after a collision with Bernd Schneider, Alain Menu lost third place after crossing a line on the track when leaving the pit lane after his second mandatory pit stop and then had to come in again for a drive through penalty. During the race weekend, 38,000 spectators came to the Nürburgring. They got to see touring car racing at its best. Three Mercedes-Benz, three Abt-Audi and two Opel made it into the points.

CHRISTIJAN ALBERS: "A GREAT PERFORMANCE OF THE ENTIRE TEAM"

In the fight for pole position, Christijan Albers was defeated by his fellow Mercedes-driver Marcel Fässler by only two hundredths of a second, but 24 hours later, the youngster had things going his way. After his fine display at the Adria Raceway a fortnight ago, he claimed the second DTM-victory of his career. "I would like to thank my entire team. They have given me a great car. Driving in a works team is fascinating. Here, I can show what I have learned", an overjoyed Albers said. Mercedes motorsport-director Norbert Haug praised: "An excellent drive by Christijan and Marcel. The DTM has never been more closely fought than this year."

LAURENT AIELLO: "THE PRESENT I MADE MYSELF"

Two days before the race, Laurent Aiello became 34 years old. "The biggest present", the DTM-champion had predicted, "I will make myself on Sunday with a trophy." In order to do so, eleventh place on the grid did not really fit into the schedule. But an error-free and charging performance saw the Frenchman claiming third place: "I took it easy in the race. In race trim, my car was very good. Moreover, my pit stops were excellent and so was the strategy. But when I want to challenge for the title, I still have to improve in qualifying." Aiello's fellow Audi-driver Mattias Ekström had chances to win. At the start, the Swede took the lead, but then a wheel nut that got stuck during his pit stop cost him so much time that he only finished seventh. Team principal Hans-Jürgen Abt regretted: "Too bad, Mattias drove sensationally. But mistakes do happen."

PETER DUMBRECK: "AT THE NüRBURGRING, OUR ASTRA WAS REALLY STRONG"

Mixed feelings at Opel: after all, those two drivers that eventually finished in the points scoring fifth and sixth place, Peter Dumbreck and Alain Menu, were on their way to a podium finish during the race. Peter Dumbreck dropped back after a spin, the result of a collision with Bernd Schneider. "All in all, I am happy that we can keep the racing pace of the Audi and the Mercedes", the Scot said. And

Dumbreck couldn't just keep the pace: during the race, he set fastest lap times on several occasions. "This was a great demonstration of the potential of our Astra V8 Coupé", Opel motorsport-director Volker Strycek said. "Progress with the car is fantastic. At Hockenheim, we were six tenths of a second down with our brand-new Astra, and now, we already are right at the exhaust pipe of our rivals." Opel's best-placed driver Peter Dumbreck confirmed: "At the Nürburgring, our Astra was very strong. When we can take this form into the next race at the Lausitzring, we are well suited for podium places there."

-dtm-

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