Audi sets the pace on Friday at Oschersleben In the first DTM test session at the MOTOPARK Oschersleben, Audi succeeded in securing all the top six positions, with Martin Tomczyk (1:21.722 minutes) setting the fastest lap time, while the...
Audi sets the pace on Friday at Oschersleben
In the first DTM test session at the MOTOPARK Oschersleben, Audi succeeded in securing all the top six positions, with Martin Tomczyk (1:21.722 minutes) setting the fastest lap time, while the following positions were taken by Tom Kristensen, Christian Abt, Mattias Ekström, Frank Stippler and Allan McNish. At the end of the session, Tomczyk had a 0.594-second lead over sixth placed Scotsman McNish.
The quickest driver behind the wheel of another car than an Audi was Bernd Schneider in his AMG-Mercedes C-Class. On his fastest lap, the DTM Record Champion lapped the 3.667-kilometre circuit in 1:22.410 minutes. Gary Paffett (1:22.552 minutes) finished eighth, directly behind his brand-mate, while the fastest Opel driver, Heinz-Harald Frentzen (1:22.567 minutes) was just fractions slower and took his Opel Vectra GTS V8 to ninth position.
"I have to admit that I'm slightly surprised that we succeeded in making it to the front end of the grid, in test one," said Christian Abt. "But our Audi A4 DTM turned out top have a great balance right from the start and we used the opportunity to work on the race set-up, during the first test session."
Session one took place without Opel works driver Laurent Aiello. The Frenchman missed the first test because his flight was delayed at the Paris airport due to heavy thunderstorms, thus preventing Aiello from arriving in time for session one, at 09:45 local time (08:45 GMT). Aiello arrived at Berlin only at 09:00, but for the second test session, at 14:30hrs, he will be back behind the wheel of his Opel Vectra GTS V8.
In the second test session for the MOTOPARK Oschersleben DTM round, the Audi drivers continued to set the pace, with reigning DTM Champion Mattias Ekström (1:20.858 minutes) setting the fastest time, thus improving the time his brand-mate Martin Tomczyk had set in the morning session (1:21.722 minutes) by nearly a second. And although the latter also improved by some three tenths of a second he had to settle for ninth position; while Tom Kristensen was just one tenth slower than Ekström and finished second.
"It's quite helpful to have gained some rally experience when it comes to racing at Oschersleben," said Ekström with a grin, "As there is so much gravel and dirt on the track. But in the closing stages of both sessions I focused on being a racing driver, not a rally driver, and worked on the set-up for the qualifying and the race. I think we are well armed for the remainder of the weekend."
Behind the Audi pairing, Mika Häkkinen took his AMG-Mercedes C-Class to third place, with his brand mates Gary Paffett, Jamie Green, Bernd Schneider, Bruno Spengler and Jean Alesi securing positions four to eight. Paffett, currently second in the championship, just three points behind Ekström, completed 40 laps, thus covering 146.68 kilometres, nearly the full race distance. On Sunday, the drivers will lap the circuit 42 times.
The man who completed the smallest number of laps was Opel's Laurent Aiello: just 18. "It's a shame that I had nearly no opportunity of testing," said the Frenchman at the end of session two. Aiello had been forced to miss session one as a thunderstorm had prevented his plane from taking off at Paris, yesterday night. Nevertheless, he was in a confident mood. "In the afternoon, the car handled quite alright, right from the start," Aiello revealed, "And we focused on working on the springs and shock absorbers." Aiello finished the afternoon session as 13th and fastest of the Opel drivers.
Altogether, the test session weren't hampered by any major incidents. Only once they had to be red-flagged: 25 minutes into the afternoon session, a piece of debris blocked the racing line in the 'Hasseröder Kurve' and couldn't be cleared while the test action was running. But directly after the debris was removed, the session was restarted.