DTM

Schneider tops 1st day Hockenheim test

First encounter on German soil Just before the presentation of the DTM at the Europa-Park Rust on Wednesday, all three manufacturers are currently taking upon each other at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, the first time on German soil.

First encounter on German soil

Just before the presentation of the DTM at the Europa-Park Rust on Wednesday, all three manufacturers are currently taking upon each other at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, the first time on German soil. Less than three weeks before the season opener at Hockenheim on April 27, Abt-Audi and Opel showed the 2003-versions of the Abt-Audi TT-R and the Opel Astra V8 Coupé for the first time.

With 1.35.414 minutes, Bernd Schneider set the fastest time of the day on the 4.574 km long Grand Prix-track. The driver from the Saarland, residing in Monaco, outpaced his team-mate Jean Alesi, who was second, by 0.321 seconds. The Frenchman was closely followed by Mattias Ekström, who was only 0.021 seconds down on Alesi.

Also within striking distance: Alain Menu with the Opel Astra V8 Coupé, chassis number RCO 031. The Swiss set a fastest lap time of 1.35.915 minutes, 0.041 seconds slower than Ekström. With the brand-new 2003 Astra Coupé, Manuel Reuter completed a total of 19 laps, the fastest of which in 1.37.821 seconds.

For the Team Abt Sportsline, the first day of testing was also a possibility to judge its position. Today, the fourth generation of the Abt-Audi TT-R took on the opposition from Mercedes and Opel for the first time. The approximately 455 hp strong competition version of the Audi TT has been completely overhauled for the 2003 DTM. "The basis remained unaffected, but all details were put to the test", says Albert Deuring, technical director at Abt Sportsline in Kempten.

Modifications from last year's model can be identified at first sight. A new lay-out of the wheel arches allows a more favourable cw-rate and an improved airflow around the two-layer rear aerofoil. The position of the exhaust pipe is unseen at a DTM-car so far: instead of at the side, the pipes now emerge from the carbon fibre bodywork above the rear wheel arches.

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Bernd Schneider , Manuel Reuter , Mattias Ekström , Alain Menu