Title favourite Aiello claims pole-position, rival Schneider only seventh Things couldn't have been better for points leader Laurent Aiello in qualifying for the ninth and penultimate round of the DTM at the Circuit Park Zandvoort: with a ...
Title favourite Aiello claims pole-position, rival Schneider only seventh
Things couldn't have been better for points leader Laurent Aiello in qualifying for the ninth and penultimate round of the DTM at the Circuit Park Zandvoort: with a sensational advantage of 0.322 seconds in his Abt-Audi TT-R, the Frenchman claimed the first starting place for tomorrow's qualification race (DTM live on ARD from 15.05 h).
Marcel Fässler will be starting from second place with the Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM, followed by the two Abt-Audi-drivers Christian Abt and Mattias Ekström. The third grid row has been locked out by Opel with Manuel Reuter and Alain Menu (Opel Astra V8 Coupé). Aiello's only remaining rival for the championship title, Bernd Schneider (Mercedes-Benz) is only seventh. Qualifying started 45 minutes later than scheduled, because the rescue helicopter had to take an injured driver from the GT-series to hospital.
Laurent Aiello: "I am not thinking about the championship title"
"Conditions were extremely difficult, as grip on the track was changing from one lap to another", the fastest from qualifying said. "I am all the more happy that I claimed pole-position and that my team-mates Christian and Mattias are not far away." About the championship title, that is within reach, the successful Frenchman said laconically: "I am not thinking about it at all, because other people are doing so for me already..."
Christian Abt, who only just missed out on victory on the final yards of the race last year, confirmed: "When you were out on the track at the wrong time or just came slightly off the right line, grip was gone immediately." About possible team play in the race, the Abt-driver said: "Laurent is so quick, he usually doesn't need any support. And we, as the other Abt-drivers, are no water bearers, I would rather call us just friends."
Bernd Schneider: "I always give my best, no matter from which grid position"
He tried "everything, but eventually didn't find the right set-up", defending champion Bernd Schneider explained his grid position. "Now, I just have to live with seventh place, but maybe, I can make up one or two places in the qualification race and with a little bit of luck, make it into the points during the race. In any case, I am highly motivated. I would also be giving my best, even if I would have to start from last place."
Young Swiss Marcel Fässler, who made it into the first grid row with his Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM, said: "Bernd is always dangerous, he will get to the front over a race distance. I myself would like to concentrate on the race and stay out of everything."
Manuel Reuter: "Astra Coupé extremely good at a wet track"
"Not dissatisfied, but not entirely satisfied either," the best Opel-driver was with his result in fifth place. "It was quite hard: a slight error, a little bit on the fine sand, and the time was gone already. At the end, I was on a sensationally fast lap, but then, I was behind another driver, came on the dirt and unfortunately, that was it."
There was mainly satisfaction about the team result, as four of the six Opel works-drivers made it into the top ten. The drivers of the manufacturer with the "Blitz" would have preferred rain in qualifying, like on Friday and Saturday morning. Both times, Opel-drivers were in front, once Timo Scheider, then Joachim Winkelhock. "Our Astra Coupé was extraordinarily well on a wet track, we got the best out of our Dunlop tyres there," said Reuter.