Bernd Schneider Second, Marcel FÃ¤ssler Third -- Laurent Aiello Champion Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) finished second in the ninth and penultimate round of the 2002 DTM at Zandvoort; Marcel FÃ¤ssler (Warsteiner AMG-Mercedes) came home...
Bernd Schneider Second, Marcel Fässler Third -- Laurent Aiello Champion
Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) finished second in the ninth and penultimate round of the 2002 DTM at Zandvoort; Marcel Fässler (Warsteiner AMG-Mercedes) came home third. One week before the season's final at Hockenheim, Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT) clinched the Championship title with a sixth-place finish whilst his team mate Mattias Ekström won the race. A crowd of 45,000 attended the event during the weekend.
Qualification race (8 laps 34.400 km):
Starting from his second DTM pole position, Fässler won ahead of Abt-Audi drivers Abt and Ekström. Schneider came home sixth. Aiello, who had set the fastest time in Qualifying, had been disqualified for the qualification race.
Main event (24 laps 103.200 km):
At the start, Fässler dropped to sixth whilst Schneider accelerated to fourth in the first corner, behind Abt, Ekström and Opel driver Alain Menu. On lap eight, Schneider came into the pits for his compulsory tyre change. With a stand still of 5.441sec he passed Abt (9.123sec) and Menu (6.619) who pitted immediately in front of him.
On lap 15, when all drivers had made their pit stops, Schneider was running in third position behind Ekström and Fässler. Aiello who had started from last place on the grid was seventh. At the beginning of lap 18, the Frenchman hit Uwe Alzen's car who spun and had to make an extra pit stop because of a damaged right front tyre. Alzen came home 17th.
On the final lap, Schneider passed Fässler to finish second 5.545sec behind Ekström.
Bernd Schneider Vodafone AMG-Mercedes:
"Congratulations to Laurent Aiello, he deserves the Championship. Together with the Abt-Audi team he was hard to beat this year. Today my car's set-up was not perfect and I was not able to go the pace of Ekström and Fässler, therefore I'm satisfied with second place."
Vodafone AMG-Mercedes Jean Alesi qualified twelfth fastest in his first race at Zandvoort. In the qualification race he ended up 14th and improved to eighth in the main event.
Uwe Alzen Warsteiner AMG-Mercedes:
"At the first corner I braked as usual, but then Aiello hit me from behind. I had expected a reaction of the marshals. Anyway, congratulations to the new champion and his team"
Marcel Fässler Warsteiner AMG Mercedes:
"Congratulations to Laurent Aiello and Abt-Audi. I made a small, but crucial mistake at the start of the main event. On the first few metres everything was fine, but then I almost stalled the engine and therefore lost contact to the front runners right at the beginning."
Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes, Thomas Jäger was the best driver of a 2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM and finished ninth. Peter Dumbreck, 20th in Qualifying, improved to 13th at the chequered flag.
Oase AMG-Mercedes, Bernd Mayländer had been pushed into a spin in the first corner of the qualification race and dropped to last position. In the main event, he came home 11th. - CEB AMG-Mercedes, Patrick Huisman had two battles with fellow Dutchman Christijan Albers; one in the qualification race and one in the main event, and finished 16th.
Service 24 h AMG-Mercedes, Stefan Mücke, had achieved 13th in Qualifying, his best DTM grid position, and ended up 15h. -- Christijan Albers finished twelfth.
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
"In the name of DaimlerChrysler and Mercedes-Benz I want to congratulate Laurent Aiello and the Abt-Audi team on the 2002 DTM Championship title. Everybody, especially millions of TV viewers, have seen a great season. I thank our teams and drivers for their good job and great sport. They all look forward now to the final race at Hockenheim next weekend, where 12,000 Mercedes-Benz employees will support us live."