Zandvoort: Audi Friday practices report

Audi driver Frentzen is quickest again Day's best time for "HHF" at Zandvoort Tom Kristensen impresses in race simulation Christian Abt in third place best driver of a 2005-spec car In the Dutch DTM round at Zandvoort, Audi driver ...

Audi driver Frentzen is quickest again

Day's best time for "HHF" at Zandvoort Tom Kristensen impresses in race simulation Christian Abt in third place best driver of a 2005-spec car In the Dutch DTM round at Zandvoort, Audi driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen set the pace on the first day of practice yet again. Like at the Nürburgring two weeks ago, the former Formula 1 driver in the Veltins Audi A4 DTM entered by Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline achieved the days's best time time on Friday - and what is more - with an impressive lead of nearly three tenths of a second.

Audi left a generally strong impression on the 4.307-kilometre circuit in the dunes along the North Sea Coast on Friday. In the morning's first test, Martin Tomczyk, Christian Abt, Tom Kristensen, Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider were driving as many as five Audi A4 DTM cars to the front of the field.

In the afternoon session, Heinz-Harald Frentzen was not the only one to impress by clocking the best time of 1m 34.487s. In race simulations the Audi drivers were the fastest contenders as well - led by Tom Kristensen, who on his long-run overtook the current DTM leader, Bernd Schneider, in his Mercedes. Shortly thereafter Schneider in a tough duel had to admit defeat to former Champion Mattias Ekström too.

The third-quickest time of the day was set by Christian Abt in the Playboy Audi A4 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix. This made the Bavarian from Bavaria, who had clinched his first DTM pole position at Zandvoort in 2001, the best driver of a car with last year's specifications. That the Champion's car from the 2004 season continues to be competitive too was proved by Nicolas Kiesa from the Audi customer team Futurecom TME: the Dane finished eighth in the first test and remained the fastest driver of a 2004-spec car in the afternoon as well.

Quotes after Friday's tests

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Fortunately, we had a streak of dry weather and were therefore able to work consistently. We've come up with good set-ups out on the track which we're now going to consolidate. The long-runs were very good also. I think we're well prepared for the weekend."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "The weekend's off to a very good start. the circuit here at Zandvoort does seem to suit me well. But the times on Friday never mean all that much in the DTM. Today, the set-up for the race was one of our top priorities. Even a fast lap on new tyres worked out immediately although we hadn't even been shooting for it. First we need to do our homework for an optimum race trim."

Martin Tomczyk: "I'm satisfied with the way today went. In the morning we worked for the qualifying and came up with a good set-up on the track, as my time confirmed. This afternoon the main focus was on the set-up for the race, with which I managed to do quite a decent long-run. Now we've got lots of data to analyse and then I'm hoping that we'll be able translate it all into a good result tomorrow."

Christian Abt: "I'm satisfied with Friday. In the first test we tried to set good times for the qualifying. We found a good base and only drove long distances in the second practice session. We didn't try any new tyres at all. Even on used ones we're doing quite well."

Tom Kristensen: "It was a very typical Friday on which we always gather lots of data which we now need to analyse. We completed our programme exactly as planned today and concentrated fully on going through various set-up strategies. For dry conditions, we should be well prepared now. My long-run in the afternoon was very good. I was out together with Bernd Schneider, managed to overtake him and set consistently good times."

Mattias Ekström: "Even when we started our work here we had a good car already and have been able to make a few more improvements on my A4 DTM. That's why I'm confident about the race. My boys did a super job. Unfortunately, they now have to replace a few body parts because towards the end of the afternoon session I had an encounter with the Championship leader who didn't want to let the former Champion pass."

Pierre Kaffer: "We had an eventful day: in the first practice session I spun in the second timed lap and hit the guard rails. For safety reasons, we replaced the entire rear suspension. Before the second test we noticed that the jack was defective. That's why I was only able to drive for one hour. The boys did a great job because after the repair the car was good straight away. So I'm actually quite satisfied."

Timo Scheider: "In the morning we used only one, and in the afternoon another set of new tyres. In the second test we weren't quick enough even though there's merely a gap of two-and-a-half tenths of a second between second place and myself. On my fastest lap I made a mistake which cost me one to two tenths. It'll be very close here. On Saturday, you've immediately got to get the first or second lap right."

Nicolas Kiesa: "This was a good and productive day for us. I was quick straight away. Today we didn't concentrate that much on individual fast laps but on the race set-up. Even across 25 to 30 laps our tyre sets held up well."

Frank Stippler: "We were struggling quite a bit, which is unusual because so far I've always gotten along well at Zandvoort. The car feels as if it were running on thin ice. The tyres are picking up way too much rubber from other cars. Only at the end of the day did we see light at the end of the tunnel. But we've still got more work to do."

Vanina Ickx: "I received some advance warnings from other drivers that this circuit is really not easy. And that's exactly true. It's a bit like a roller-coaster. You've got to choose a very soft driving style. The smallest things can immediately throw the car off balance. There's a lot to be done still."

Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "This has been a good Friday on which we tried out a lot of different things. All cars were consistently fast across long distances. This makes us feel positive for the weekend."

Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "With Christian, we did a good job and found a race set-up requiring merely minute changes. With Pierre, we lost the entire first test after his excursion off the track. When a jack failed, this cost us time again. Only during the final hour did we gather some findings with him."

Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Timo's morning session was quite decent. In the afternoon I wasn't dissatisfied either although there's still a bit of work left to do. Frank has a bigger problem. His tyres are picking up a lot of rubber from the track. We don't know the reason yet - this is something we've got to work on."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Veltins Audi A4 DTM #6
11th place / 1st place, 1m 34.487s

Martin Tomczyk
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #4
1st place / 15th place, 1m 34.758s

Christian Abt
Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Playboy Audi A4 DTM #12
2nd place / 14th place, 1m 34.785s

Tom Kristensen
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Siemens Audi A4 DTM #7
3rd place / 7th place, 1m 34.859s

Mattias Ekström
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #5
4th place / 4th place, 1m 34.911s

Pierre Kaffer
Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Castrol Audi A4 DTM #14
12th place / 9th place, 1m 34.980s

Timo Scheider
Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Gebrauchtwagen:plus Audi A4 DTM #16
5th place / 12th place, 1m 35.170s

Nicolas Kiesa
Futurecom TME, Futurecom Audi A4 DTM #19
8th place / 16th place, 1m 35.679s

Frank Stippler
Audi Sport Team Rosberg, S line Audi A4 DTM #15
16th place / 19th place, 1m 36.270s

Vanina Ickx
Futurecom TME, Original Zubehör Audi A4 DTM #20
19th place / 20th place, 1m 37.655s

-credit: audi

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Nicolas Kiesa , Tom Kristensen , Vanina Ickx , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Timo Scheider , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Pierre Kaffer , Frank Stippler , Hans-Jurgen Abt
Teams Team Abt , Phoenix Racing , Audi Sport Team Rosberg