Reuter scores another point for Opel Manuel Reuter once again added to Opel's DTM points score of round seven in front of 73,000 spectators at the Nurburgring, but tricky qualifying conditions on Saturday ultimately made it tough for the team to...
Reuter scores another point for Opel
Manuel Reuter once again added to Opel's DTM points score of round seven in front of 73,000 spectators at the Nurburgring, but tricky qualifying conditions on Saturday ultimately made it tough for the team to make an impact in the races on a circuit where overtaking is difficult.
Alain Menu (Opel Euroteam) qualified fifth, with Manuel Reuter (Opel Team Phoenix) seventh. But after two Astra V8 Coupes had finished one-two (Reuter, Menu) in Saturday's hour of free practice in the wet, and second (Scheider) and third (Reuter) overall in testing under perfect conditions the day before, the fickle Eifel region's weather and oil on the track prevented Opel from showing its full potential in qualifying taking the possible pole position.
Qualifying started damp, but got progressively drier as the minutes ticked by. With the 45-minute session drawing to a close and conditions were at their best, the Opel drivers were ready for a final attack on the timesheets, only for Audi driver Mattias Ekstrom to leak oil onto the track and prevent further improvements. Before that Reuter had set fastest time in every run.
"Testing proved how quick we were," said Menu. "It's always going to be tricky in qualifying when conditions are changing so much, but it was a shame about the oil on the track."
Menu was running in a strong fifth place in the qualification race, lapping at the same pace as the leaders, until he was hit by the Audi of Christian Abt and spun down the order to 20th position. He then made a great start to the main event, but once again ran out of luck as he was helpless to avoid the spinning Mercedes of former F1 star Jean Alesi at Turn 1 and was forced to retire.
Reuter, who finished eighth in the qualification race, took up the charge and came through to finish sixth in the main event. "I was lapping at the same speed as the leading group, but starting from where we did there was not much chance to challenge them and move further up," said Reuter, whose fastest lap was just 0.3secs slower than the race winner's.
Strycek added: "I'm not very happy with sixth place, because we want to get our cars to the front. We don't want to make up the numbers in the DTM, we want to beat the best of them."
Opel Team Holzer's Timo Scheider finished seventh, with his team-mate Michael Bartels recovering to 11th after being hit by the Mercedes of Bernd Maylander in the qualification race. Joachim Winkelhock (Team Phoenix) finished 15th. Yves Olivier (Opel Euroteam) retired.