Norisring: Abt Sportsline preview

Abt Sportsline looking forward to DTM home round in Nuremberg For Abt Sportsline, the fifth round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) at the Norisring is the home round of the season. The fascinating street course might not have been ...

Abt Sportsline looking forward to DTM home round in Nuremberg

For Abt Sportsline, the fifth round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) at the Norisring is the home round of the season. The fascinating street course might not have been particularly successful for the team from Kempten in the Allgäu so far, but that should change this year: Laurent Aiello wants to defend his points lead in Nuremberg and his team mates, Christian Abt, Mattias Ekström, Martin Tomczyk and Karl Wendlinger, also have high ambitions for the highlight of the DTM season.

Walls alongside the circuit, 21 cars on the narrow track between the Armco barriers, the paddock on the border of the Dutzendteich-lake and in excess of 100,000 fans on the grandstands - the race at the Norisring is fascinating for spectators and drivers alike. "Even if expectations for the Norisring spectacle are running high, things will be very difficult for us in Nuremberg," says Hans-Jürgen Abt. The team boss knows: "Our TT-R is better suited for tracks with many semi-fast corner sections rather than for such long straights like next week-end."

The motivation of the Abt team remains intact: before the halfway-point of the DTM 2002, Abt-driver Laurent Aiello is leading the overall standings with a 21 points advantage over Jean Alesi, Mattias Ekström and Christian Abt are following in third and fifth place respectively. Abt Sportsline is also in front in the teams' classification. "We know that we can take the title. But we also know that we have to continue giving everything to get it," says Hans-Jürgen Abt. "But that is the kind of pressure we like to live with.."

Therefore, his team has not been resting during the four weeks break since Laurent Aiello's victory at the Sachsenring. After a lot of detail work in the race shop in Kempten and a brief test for the points leader in France, Abt Sportsline is coming to the DTM season highlight perfectly prepared.

Quotes before the race

Christian Abt (#10):

"The Norisring is unique: nowhere else, you are racing so close along the walls and you are so close to the fans. Not even Monaco can offer that. In fact, the long straights don't suit our car at all, but I just won't worry about that this weekend. After all, a podium finish or even a win in our home round has been my dream forever. Even when many drivers are saying, they don't notice the fans on the grandstands for sheer concentration: I can see every cap and every banner at the Norisring - and each form of support gives us at least one horsepower more."

Laurent Aiello (#3):

"At the Norisring, there always is a very special, unique atmosphere. Last year, we were quick, but on race day, we had a lot of bad luck in collisions. This year, the situation is clear: I want to finish the race and score points. When it's enough for victory, I will of course be happy to take it, but with the current situation in the championship, it is not the most important goal. Of course, I am concentrating on the title 100 percent. But it really is far too early to talk about the title. We will continue to give our best during every minute of the weekend."

Mattias Ekström (#9):

"Last year, I had to pay dearly for my first outing as I unfortunately hit the wall a little. It is a special race, because the track is so short and we therefore are driving many laps. My goal in Nuremberg is clear: I want to catch Jean Alesi in the championship standings and meanwhile don't let Bernd Schneider catch me."

Martin Tomczyk (#23):

"It will be my fifth race at the Norisring - and so far, I never had particularly much luck. But I have a fast car, a strong team and a lot of additional experience. I am looking forward to the race, because the work in the awnings is special for us as drivers, too. Finally, we are really close to the spectators and the fans."

Karl Wendlinger (#4):

"Although the last time I raced at the Norisring was more than ten years ago, for me, the race is the ultimate touring car classic. Apart from the entire surroundings and the many spectators, the surface is quite particular as well: because it isn't a permanent circuit, the tarmac is usually quite dirty and bumpy and will provide a decent amount of grip only after the test sessions on Friday."


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