Norisring: Round five preview

5th round DTM Norisring, June 20-22, 2003 Half-time and highlight -- DTM at the Norisring will be mega Every time the only street circuit on the DTM-calendar is on, the DTM-race drivers are talking superlatives -- unique, ...

5th round DTM Norisring, June 20-22, 2003
Half-time and highlight -- DTM at the Norisring will be mega

Every time the only street circuit on the DTM-calendar is on, the DTM-race drivers are talking superlatives -- unique, exceptional, extraordinary being the most frequently used adjectives. It's all about the race at the Norisring in Nuremberg. The fifth round of the 2003 DTM-season is half-time and highlight at once.

Following his victory in the Lausitz, Bernd Schneider is the points leader coming to the Franken-region. He is closely followed by fellow-Mercedes-Benz-drivers Christijan Albers and Marcel Fässler, as well as Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi) and Peter Dumbreck (Opel), who claimed fifth position in the points' standings with his second place at the Lausitzring, and who is within striking distance of Schneider, only eleven points down. With the new race format, 72 laps (165.600 kilometres) will be covered instead of the 44 laps in previous years.

Highly motivated after Lausitz success: Peter Dumbreck and the Opel crew

Three Opel Astra V8 Coupé in the top six, second place for Peter Dumbreck -- the Opel-team broke its duck at the Lausitzring. "In the points, I am in a good position ad I must try to score as many points as possible at the Norisring, too," the Scot says. "I am looking forward to the unique atmosphere and the many spectators."

He rates the 2.3 kilometres short track with its hairpins as "difficult. The surface is extremely bumpy. You need a good suspension for accelerating and braking. Especially coming out of the Dutzendteich-hairpin, the car tends to get more and more to the outside on the bumps. Engine performance, too, is a decisive factor here."

Opel's motorsport boss Volker Strycek adds: "The track is very hard on the brakes. Before the Grundig-hairpin, you are braking from 250 km/h into first gear, and there is little time for the brakes to regenerate. Therefore, cooling has to be perfect. After our success at the Lausitzring, we are really enthusiastic. I suppose that we can keep up our great performance at the Norisring."

Home round for Abt Sportsline: thousands of Audi-fans keep fingers crossed

Laurent Aiello likes to repeat his performance from last year: back then, he overtook Bernd Schneider on the final corner after a breath-taking fight, first winning the race and then going on to win the title. "I want a fight like that any time again," the Frenchman says. "But preferably with the same result like last year..." For his team Abt Sportsline, the race is a home round, as mother company Audi is only 70 kilometres away and the headquarters in Kempten is not very far away either.

"As a Bavarian team, we particularly enjoy the Norisring and its wonderful atmosphere. There are always thousands and thousands of Audi-fans, and we would like best to thank them with a decent result," team principal Hans-Jürgen Abt says, knowing: "It has become incredibly close in the DTM. Next to a perfect race car and the skills of the drivers, you also need a very good strategy, and the proverbial little bit of luck in order to be driving in front."

Mercedes motorsport director Haug: "Many duels, a great atmosphere"

"I am expecting a very exciting race with many duels, a great atmosphere and an enthusiastic crowd," Mercedes-Benz motorsport director Norbert Haug says. "In 2002, Laurent Aiello and Bernd Schneider already showed what good racing looks like. I suppose that this time, more than two drivers will be fighting for the lead. The race at the Lausitzring has proven that the DTM is more balanced than ever. For the first time this season, all three makes involved in the DTM finished on the podium. Now, Opel is just as capable of winning as are Audi and Mercedes."

Bernd Schneider rates the chances for himself and his fellow-Mercedes-drivers as favourable: "The track characteristics should suit us, because the CLK is quick on the straights and good on the brakes. However, unfortunately, this is the case for Opel, too. And the Audis have always been strong at the Norisring." He sums up: "It will be incredibly close."

Schneider may be the points leader, coming to Nuremberg, but his margin is only three points: "With our new points scheme, you can't allow yourself not to score, otherwise you drop down immediately. And the season is still long, it is only halftime at the Norisring."


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