Sachsenring: Abt Sportsline race report

Laurent Aiello triumphs in Saxony and extends his points lead With a dominant and never-threatened victory in the fourth round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters), Laurent Aiello has further extended his lead in the championship. At the ...

Laurent Aiello triumphs in Saxony and extends his points lead

With a dominant and never-threatened victory in the fourth round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters), Laurent Aiello has further extended his lead in the championship. At the Sachsenring, the French driver of the Team Abt Sportsline was in a class of his own and converted his pole position, hard earned on the day before, into two lights-to-flag victories in the qualification race and the main event. Youngster Mattias Ekström only just missed out on a championship point in seventh place.

59,000 spectators along the Sachsenring experienced one week-end of motor racing at its very best: a captive qualifying session on Saturday, exciting race action on Sunday and, with Laurent Aiello, a winner, who with an error-free race came on top of the podium already for the third time this season. After four of ten season rounds, the Frenchman has extended his lead in the championship and with 38 points, he is now ahead of former F1-star Jean Alesi (17 points), dominantly in the lead of the drivers' standings.

On Saturday, Aiello had claimed pole position with a tiny margin of only 19 thousandths of a second. With two impeccable starts in the qualification race and the main race, he immediately took the lead on race day and only gave it up briefly during the mandatory pit stops. The Abt crew completed this stop on Aiello's Hasseröder-yellow Abt-Audi TT-R within the fastest time of the day - another element for the dominant victory. Towards the end of the scheduled 28 laps, reigning champion Bernd Schneider came closer and closer to the quick resident of Paris, but Aiello had reserves and countered.

The other four drivers of the team from the Allgäu had a rather poor racing week-end at the fascinating up- and downhill track near Chemnitz. While Mattias Ekström only just missed out on championship points in seventh place, Karl Wendlinger, Martin Tomczyk and Christian Abt all had to retire earlier. Kufstein-based Wendlinger was pushed by team-mate Ekström right at the beginning of the qualification race. A problem with the power steering forced Wendlinger to retire after a furious overtaking race including the fastest lap in the qualification race.

Junior driver Martin Tomczyk once more showed a strong performance and had a possibility of scoring points. Following his tyre change, the 20-year old driver from Rosenheim didn't see the car of Mercedes-driver Jean Alesi as he came out of the pit lane: the two cars collided and landed in the gravel trap. Christian Abt, too, parked his car early at his team's pit box: following nice position fights in the leading group, the driver from Kempten had to cope with braking problems on what he calls his favourite track and drove into the pit lane with two laps to go.

Quotes after the race

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

"I had carefully planned for my race and the tyres, but unfortunately, it didn't quite work out that way. At the end, I still had to increase the pace, because Bernd Schneider was pushing from behind. I had never dreamt of three victories in four races. But nevertheless, we have to remain fully concentrated and can not make any mistakes. At the moment, everything is just perfect in our team. Every single member is working professionally at an incredibly high level. Motorsport is fun like this."

Martin Tomczyk (4th place/retired):

"It is quite easy: I just didn't see Jean Alesi as I drove out of the pit lane. I definitely didn't do it on purpose and I will apologize at the first opportunity. Now, we have a little summer break, and after that, I will be fully attacking at the Norisring."

Karl Wendlinger (retired/didn't start):

"Today, I am very disappointed that my race was already over that soon. We have been working so well during the whole week-end and created a good situation to work from. I think, my fastest lap in the qualification race clearly shows what would have been possible today. But such week-ends are also part of motorsport."

Christian Abt (8th place/retired):

"In the qualification race, part of the underfloor of my car broke off in a collision and after that, I had a lot of understeer. Still, I wanted to attack and at least bring home eighth place in the main race. Unfortunately, the brakes didn't work anymore, at the end, the pedal went to the floor completely. Of course, that especially annoys me on my favourite track, but at Abt Sportsline, we are thinking as a team. And as a team, we have come a step closer to our big dream of winning the championship, courtesy of Laurent's victory."

Mattias Ekström (14th place/7th place):

"Of course, I am sorry that I hit Karl's car. It was just after the start and there was little room, and it just happened. After that, I tried everything to still make it into the points and claim back my second place in the championship. Today, it didn't work, but after the next round, I want to be a part of Abt's leading pair again."

Hans-Jürgen Abt (team boss):

"The third victory in the fourth race is a real dream. This year, we certainly have a chance of winning the title in the DTM. But today, we have seen again that Opel and Mercedes are working hard to beat us and push us from the top position. Today, Laurent was in a class of his own and raced his Abt-Audi TT-R at the limit just perfectly."


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Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Karl Wendlinger , Laurent Aiello , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Hans-Jurgen Abt