Norisring: Abt Sportsline race report

Finale furioso - Laurent Aiello takes fourth win at the Norisring The 81,000 spectators at the Norisring will not lightly forget this race. At the end of the fifth round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters), there were standing ovation for...

Finale furioso - Laurent Aiello takes fourth win at the Norisring

The 81,000 spectators at the Norisring will not lightly forget this race. At the end of the fifth round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters), there were standing ovation for Laurent Aiello. On the final corner, the Frenchman moved past Bernd Schneider, the race leader up to that point, in a spectacular way and went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. With his third place, Mattias Ekström completed the great result for the Team Abt Sportsline. The youngster from Sweden had won the qualification race and on the day before, he had claimed the maiden pole position of his DTM-career.

Bright sunshine and fascinating motor racing - the total of 126,000 spectators that flocked to the Norisring during the week-end, had plenty of reasons to cheer. Especially so for the finale furioso, in which the applauded main star was Laurent Aiello. The manoeuvre, that the Frenchman with his Abt-Audi TT-R had completed on the final corner, pulled the fans off their seats and will make it into DTM history.

On the inside, Aiello surprised Schneider, who had been in the lead up to that point and completed the final metres to collect his fourth win of the season. Already from the halfway point of the 44 lap race, the Mercedes-driver and Aiello had been showing a captive duel, in which the Hasseröder-yellow Abt-Audi TT-R had also be in front at some stages. With Aiello (48 points) and Mattias Ekström (23 points), two drivers of the Team Abt Sportsline are in the lead of the points standings after five of ten season rounds.

Youngster Ekström laid the basis for his third place on Saturday when he claimed the first position on the grid with a fabulous record lap (49.239 seconds) at the ultrafast Norisring. A premiere for the 23-year old Swede in the DTM. With the second fastest time, Laurent Aiello ensured that the first row on the grid on Sunday was completely locked out by the team from Kempten. Ekström won the qualification race, but after the start of the main race, he made a slight mistake under braking for the first corner, which made him drop back to fourth place for a while.

For the other three drivers of the team from the Allgäu, the race week-end in Nuremberg did not go that well. Youngster Martin Tomczyk had particularly bad luck, as he was sidelined for Sunday after a crash in qualifying. After a brake failure, the driver from Rosenheim hit the tyre barrier and suffered a bruised left shoulder. Tomczyk decided not to start in the race.

Austrian Karl Wendlinger became involved in a collision with two opponents immediately after the start of the qualification race. The mechanics succeeded in getting the damaged Abt-Audi TT-R ready again for the main race, but the driver from Kufstein had no chance to keep up with the front runners. Christian Abt collided with another car on the tenth lap of the race, which caused the 35-year old to retire.

Quotes after the race

Laurent Aiello (4th place / 1st place):

"That certainly was one of the best and toughest races of my career. Compliments and thanks to Bernd Schneider for the fair fight. To be honest, I didn't believe that I still could get past: I didn't want to take too many risks and I could have lived with six points for second place as well. But then, Bernd left a little gap on the final corner - and I used it. No doubt about it: this is the best victory of this year."

Mattias Ekström (1st place / 3rd place):

"I am a little disappointed, because I had that little mistake on the first corner. But then, I had a great race, although it is incredibly demanding to remain entirely concentrated for 44 laps. Therefore, I had the best place of all the spectators: nobody could watch the fight between Laurent and Bernd Schneider so close as I."

Karl Wendlinger (17th place / 12th place):

"For me, today's race started as bad as possible. I was hit twice and then got involved in a collision. In the main race, it went well, then I could make up a couple of places after a great start. After another collision, I didn't have any chance of scoring some points anymore."

Christian Abt (16th place / did not start):

"Today, I am just happy for Laurent, because at Abt Sportsline, we can slowly start dreaming about the championship. Today, we have seen once again, that the Norisring has its own tweaks and it can all be over within a few seconds. That is just a part of motorsport."

Martin Tomczyk (did not start):

"Today, I have been following a race from the pit wall for the first time and I am glad that I am not a team boss or an engineer, but a racing driver instead. But even when I would have preferred to be in the cockpit much more, it was great fun to watch this race. After such fights, I just can't await the next round at the EuroSpeedway."

Hans-Jürgen Abt (team boss):

"One thing is clear: when I would ever have a heart attack, it will certainly be on the pit wall of a race track! Today, we have seen motorsport as its best and a race that will certainly make it into DTM history. Of course, it is too bad, that Christian and Karl had bad luck with collisions. But things like that can happen at the Norisring."


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