DTM

Zandvoort: Friday practices report

Audi dominates first encounter The first DTM test at the Circuit Park Zandvoort ended with five Audis on the first five places. Fastest driver of the brand with the four rings on Friday morning was Martin Tomczyk. The driver from Rosenheim set a...

Audi dominates first encounter

The first DTM test at the Circuit Park Zandvoort ended with five Audis on the first five places. Fastest driver of the brand with the four rings on Friday morning was Martin Tomczyk. The driver from Rosenheim set a fastest lap time of 1:34.758 minutes with his Audi A4 DTM on the 4.307 kilometres long track and was 0.027 seconds faster than Gary Paffett's DTM lap record at the track.

After 90 minutes of testing, his fellow-Audi driver Christian Abt was second with his one-year old car, exactly matching the lap record of 1:34.758 minutes. The Audi-dominance was completed by Tom Kristensen in third, Mattias Ekström in fourth and Timo Scheider in fifth position.

Fastest driver with a Mercedes-Benz was Bruno Spengler. The Canadian had been fourth behind the trio Kristensen, Ekström and Scheider for a long time, but then was pushed back into sixth after the fast lap times of Tomczyk and Abt. Spengler's fastest lap time with the AMG-Mercedes C-Class was 1:35.497 minutes, 0.739 seconds slower than Tomczyk. Mika Häkkinen was seventh behind Nürburgring-winner Spengler.

Ranking eighth with his 2004-spec Audi, Nicolas Kiesa made it into the top 10 and placed ahead of stalwart Jean Alesi and Stefan Mücke, both driving 2005-spec AMG-Mercedes C-Classes. DTM record champion and points leader, Bernd Schneider, occupied 13th place. Alexandros Margaritis only racked up little mileage in testing, as he had to park his AMG-Mercedes C-Class in the pits after five laps and then watched testing action from the pit wall. "On the first lap, we were already having trouble with the steering", the Greek explained.

Excellent time for Frentzen in second test

Contrarily to the first test session, the second test of the DTM at Zandvoort was initially dominated by Mercedes-Benz. But at the half-time mark, the situation was different as Heinz-Harald Frentzen set a fastest time that none of the 19 other DTM drivers was able to match during the remaining 45 minutes. The driver from Mönchengladbach lapped the 4.307 kilometres long track in 1.34.487 minutes, almost three tenths of a second faster than Tomczyk in the morning session.

After 90 minutes, second-placed Stefan Mücke was 0.415 seconds down with his AMG-Mercedes C-Class. Another eight thousandths of a second down, two times' race winner Spengler was third. Starting off with second-placed Mücke, twelve drivers ranged within three tenths of a second behind the fastest man of the day.

In completely dry conditions, numerous drivers used the second DTM test for long runs in order to find the right set-up for the race on Sunday. The three Audi teams completed a lot of work in the early stages of the session. Pierre Kaffer only joined into the action after 30 minutes, but then, he made the best of the time he had left and claimed ninth place.

Timo Scheider had to wait even longer before being able to go out: for him, the second test started only after 40 minutes. Eventually, he was twelfth. After a spin in the first test, there were problems with the floor section of Frank Stippler's Audi A4 DTM. In the second test, the Audi-driver had lack of grip. "Stippi" had too much pick-up on his new tyres and the team investigated to find out the reason. After 21 laps, Stippler was 19th.

Bruno Sperngler and Mika Häkkinen caused a lot of work for the Mercedes-crew. The winner of the last two DTM races came off the track coming out of the Tarzan corner and had plenty of work trying to avoid a crash. His mechanics remained unfazed and checked the C-Class.

After a spin in the second test, there was more work on Mika Häkkinen's AMG-Mercedes C-Class. The HWA-crew not only removed the gravel that he had picked up, but also removed the entire floor section to give the car a complete service overhaul. With a few minutes remaining, Häkkinen got back on the track. Eventually, the two times' Formula 1 World Champion was eighth.

The two seasoned title candidates, Tom Kristensen and Bernd Schneider, were well behind third-placed Bruno Spengler in the second test. 0.460 seconds down, Kristensen was seventh, Schneider was only 13th with a lap time of 1.35.202 minutes.

-credit: dtm

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Series DTM
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Jean Alesi , Mika Hakkinen , Nicolas Kiesa , Tom Kristensen , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Timo Scheider , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Bruno Spengler , Alexandros Margaritis , Pierre Kaffer , Frank Stippler , Stefan Mücke