DTM

Nurburgring: Round seven preview

7th round DTM Nürburgring, August 2-4, 2002 New track section at the Nürburgring "absolutely spot-on" The Nürburgring has just celebrated its 75th anniversary, and still, the DTM is heading for a new venue at its seventh season round,...

7th round DTM Nürburgring, August 2-4, 2002

New track section at the Nürburgring "absolutely spot-on"

The Nürburgring has just celebrated its 75th anniversary, and still, the DTM is heading for a new venue at its seventh season round, August 2 till 4: after start and finish, a new track section has to be negotiated, on which none of the drivers has tested so far: the new "Mercedes-Arena". Apart from that, the DTM is racing on the short circuit of the Grand Prix-track, just like in 2001. The track is now 3.625 km long (main race 28 laps).

After the sixth round, Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R) is leading the championship with four wins and a total of 54 points, followed by Bernd Schneider (Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM, 33 points), who won the previous race at the Lausitzring. Aiello's fellow-Audi-driver Mattias Ekström is third with 29 points. With ten points for victory in the main race and three for the qualification race, 52 points are still at stake in the four remaining events.

Hans-Jürgen Abt, Abt Sportsline's team principal, sees Aiello in the role of the target. "We now have to be careful, as Mercedes and Opel will do everything to beat us. But I remain relaxed, because when we keep on scoring points constantly, we have a good chance of winning the title." Abt considers the new part of the track as "an enrichment, especially for the spectators. There is a great stadium-like atmosphere and the fans can see more of the race." The youngest driver in his quintet, 20-year old Martin Tomczyk, says: "The first corner could suit us. I think that there, you have to brake from about 230 km/h to 80 km/h, and our Audi is very good under braking."

According to Volker Strycek, the Eifel-track has a "completely different characteristic." The Opel motorsport director has already been able to try the new lay-out-- last week-end, he took part at the Langstreckenmeisterschaft endurance race at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife with a modified Opel Astra V8 Coupé. "The new part is difficult and provides many lines", says Strycek. "We have already seen in Formula 1 that the drivers were having a difficult time there."

Opel-ace Manuel Reuter, who most recently charged from eleventh to fifth place with exciting overtaking manoeuvres at the Lausitzring, judges: "The first part of the track now has become even slower and the second part down to the Veedol-Z is very, very fast. It will be decisive, how well one can get his race car balanced and how quickly one can cope with the new part. It will not be easy."

"Set-up will be a difficult affair", reigning champion Bernd Schneider says as well. "Although it is so narrow and we are racing on the short circuit, you don't need so much downforce as, for instance, on the short circuit in Hockenheim, but not too few downforce either, as you otherwise lose all the time in the new part." Schneider's Mercedes-Benz motorsport director Norbert Haug praises the reconstruction: "In Formula 1, it was absolutely spot-on. The fans can expect some great sport, and even more so, as there is plenty of overtaking in DTM anyway. The new part of the track makes this even easier."

Top-acts on the ARD-stage with Natural, Jeanette and Ben-- and SWR 3 race party

In the paddock, the DTM is providing plenty of action in the Eifel as well: on Sunday afternoon, shooting stars Natural, pop-princess Jeanette and Ben will be performing on the ARD-stage. Following the great success of their debut single "Put your arms around me", Natural are currently storming the charts with their second single. The five smart guys don't just have strong voices, each one of them is also playing an instrument. Multi-talent Jeanette has just released her first solo-album and Ben's song "Engel" is one of the current radio-hits. Show hosts will be VIVA's Mola Adebisi and SWR3's Michael Spleth. Tickets without paddock access also give admission to the ARD-stage. After the race, the SWR3 race party will take place on stage.

-dtm-

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Series DTM
Drivers Laurent Aiello , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Volker Strycek , Hans-Jurgen Abt , Mola Adebisi