Zandvoort: Mercedes qualifying report

Christijan Albers Third, Marcel Fässler Sixth Three brands within nine thousandths of a second - the first four cars within 18 thousandths - Alesi and Schneider after surprising qualifying 11th and 13th Christijan Albers (ExpressService ...

Christijan Albers Third, Marcel Fässler Sixth
Three brands within nine thousandths of a second - the first four cars within 18 thousandths - Alesi and Schneider after surprising qualifying 11th and 13th

Christijan Albers (ExpressService AMG-Mercedes) and Marcel Fässler (AMG-Mercedes) will start Sunday’s ninth and penultimate round of the 2003 DTM at Zandvoort, Netherlands from third and sixth positions on the grid respectively. In the exciting single-lap qualifying for Super Pole, Albers achieved a time of 1:35.345. He was nine thousandths of a second behind pole sitter Timo Scheider (Opel Astra V8 Coupé) - 40.7 centimetres after a lap of exactly 4,307 metres. Scheider clinched his first DTM pole position with a 1:35.336 whilst Fässler was sixth with a 1:35.681 - 0.345sec behind the leading Opel.

After a turbulent qualifying which was interrupted once and which saw several yelloow flags, Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) was 11th with a 1:35.888 whilst Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) qualified 13th with a 1:35.986. For the first time both were not among the ten fastest drivers fighting for Super Pole.

Schneider aborted his second run after a short off two corners from the finish. When he made his third attempt, yellow flags were shown after Gary Paffett (Service 24h AMG-Mercedes) had spun into the gravel. With a 0.755sec gap Schneider was 13th and will line up on the seventh row side-by-side with defending champion Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R) who was 0.773sec behind. Thus both the 2001 and 2002 champions were not qualified for Super Pole.

Qualifying had been interrupted after three minutes following Peter Terting’s (Abt-Audi TT-R) spin into the gravel. Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes drivers Thomas Jäger and Bernd Mayländer as well as Katsutomo Kaneishi (ARTA AMG-Mercedes) had to abort their first runs.

Christijan Albers, ExpressService AMG-Mercedes, third (1:35.345):

"I’m happy to be the fastest Mercedes-Benz driver today, however it was impossible to beat Timo Scheider. Congratulations on his first pole position. I hope to end up on the podium on Sunday, but I don’t underestimate Bernd Schneider. In this close field he still can achieve a good result."

Marcel Fässler, AMG-Mercedes, sixth (1:35.681):

"Entering the first corner I braked too early, and at the third sector, I was just not fast enough, so that no better result but sixth place was possible."

Jean Alesi, AMG-Mercedes, AMG-Mercedes, 11th (1:35.888):

"The worst qualifying result of my DTM career. I don’t know what happened, we first have to analyse the data."

Bernd Schneider, Vodafone AMG-Mercedes, 13th (1:35.986):

"My second set of tyres was better than my first one, but with my short off I lost too much time and aborted the lap. On my third run the yellow flags after Gary Paffett’s spin prevented me from qualifying for Super Pole."

Thomas Jäger, Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes, 15th (1:36.567):

"I’m satisfied to be the fastest driver with a last year’s CLK. I’m happy with the weekend so far and I’m optimistic for Sunday’s race."

Gary Paffett, Service 24h AMG-Mercedes, 16th (1:36.719):

"I wanted to be fastest driver with a 2002 AMG-Mercedes CLK ahead of Thomas Jäger, therefore I pushed too hard on my third run and made a mistake under braking. I ran wide and spun into the gravel."

Bernd Mayländer, Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes, 17th (1:36.831):

"Our team did a good job and we significantly improved our lap times compared to last year. I’m quite happy with today’s result, however, it will be difficult to improve in the race."

Stefan Mücke, Service 24 h AMG-Mercedes, 19th (1:36.996):

"The qualifying result was not so important for me, because I have to start from the back of the grid. On Friday, we had forgotten to seal a brake disc. Nevertheless we tried everything to see how fast we are and I was satisfied with my time on my second run. In the end, we tried a different tyre pressure but were not able to improve."

Katsutomo Kaneishi, ARTA AMG-Mercedes, 20th (1:37.269):

"I didn’t drive in Zandvoort before, therefore it was difficult for me to get the optimum out of the car."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"This was one of the most exciting if not the most thrilling qualifying of DTM history at all, with the first four cars within 18 thousandths of a second and all three brands within nine thousandths. For the first time this year, only two of our this year’s AMG-Mercedes CLKs qualified for Super Pole."

"Jean Alesi missed the single-lap qualifying by 45 thousandths proving again the competitiveness of DTM. Referring to the theoretical best lap times, Jean and Bernd would have been seventh and ninth, but they didn’t manage to achieve the best sector times within one lap. With these theoretical best laps, all four Mercedes-Benz drivers are within 0.018sec. Congratulation to Opel for a well deserved pole position, I’m happy for Timo Scheider and everybody in the Opel team."


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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Laurent Aiello , Marcel Fassler , Bernd Schneider , Bernd Maylander , Christijan Albers , Timo Scheider , Norbert Haug , Thomas Jäger , Gary Paffett , Kaneishi Katsutomo , Stefan Mücke