DTM

Zolder: Mercedes-Benz race notes

Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) finished third in the second round of the 2002 DTM at Zolder, Belgium. In pouring rain, Bernd came home 7.9sec behind winner Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R). After 22 out of the 26 scheduled laps, the race...

Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) finished third in the second round of the 2002 DTM at Zolder, Belgium. In pouring rain, Bernd came home 7.9sec behind winner Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R). After 22 out of the 26 scheduled laps, the race was red-flagged after Christijan Albers’s car (Service 24h AMG-Mercedes) came to a halt in the gravel bed of the chicane at the end of the back straight.

Starting from seventh position on the grid, Schneider finished sixth in the qualifying race which was started behind the safety car due to the wet conditions. After an accident of Yves Olivier on lap 5, the safety car was deployed again and the race was stopped after seven instead of eight laps because the 15min time limit had been exceeded. Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R) won the qualifying race.

In the main event the safety car again led the field through the first four laps. When it had pulled into the pits at the beginning of lap 5, Bernd improved to fourth within two laps and was second when he came into the pits for the compulsory tyre change.

At this time, the safety car had been deployed again following an accident of Abt-Audi driver Martin Tomczyk. After the pit stops and the re-start on lap 13, Bernd was fourth. He improved to third, when Michael Bartels (Opel Astra V8 Coupé) was black flagged and called to the pits on lap 15.

"Today we experienced extremely difficult conditions, and for me it was important to stay on the track first," Bernd said. "The handling of my car was fine until the pit stop. Our strategy could have helped me to improve, however I lost this chance due to a problem with the right front wheel nut. After the stop, I suffered from oversteer with my second set of tyres in right hand corners, and I wasn't able to push anymore."

Bernd's team mate Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) came home tenth. "The visibility was poor, and I had almost no opportunity to pass," Jean said. "After 13th position in qualifying, this was a weekend to forget."

Service 24h AMG-Mercedes driver Christijan Albers finished sixth. "When I braked into the chicane I suddenly lost the rear of the car, but I'm happy about my first point of the season," Christijan said. When a race is red flagged, the order of the previous lap is counted for the result, and at that time Albers was sixth. His Rosberg team mate Stefan Mücke came home eleventh.

Warsteiner AMG-Mercedes drivers Uwe Alzen and Marcel Fässler finished seventh and ninth respectively. In the qualifying race, Uwe had a short off from fifth place and therefore started eighth in the main event. Marcel was tenth in the qualifying race and was seventh in the main event, when he spun off the track and finally came home ninth.

Thomas Jäger (Original-Teile AMG-Mercedes) was hit by Tomczyk in the Gilles Villeneuve corner. After the marshals had pulled him out of the gravel, he came into the pits and changed tyres. He rejoined the race but retired due to a throttle problem. His Persson team mate Peter Dumbreck had a short off on lap 18 and finished 13th.

Patrick Huisman (CEB AMG-Mercedes) was sixth when he entered lap 21, but slid off the track in the first left hand corner and finished twelfth. "I had brake problems throughout and had to brake earlier than usual," he said. "Moreover the wiper didn't work." His Manthey team mate Bernd Mayländer (Oase AMG-Mercedes) came home 16th.

NORBERT HAUG, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"Today we saw good sport in extremely difficult conditions and the drivers were disciplined. Bernd performed well and finished third. During his pit stop the right front wheel nut got stuck, therefore he lost about seven seconds and a better result. The sixth position of Christijan Albers is satisfying, he scored a point with a 2001 car."

-mercedes-

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Laurent Aiello , Marcel Fassler , Peter Dumbreck , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Bernd Maylander , Uwe Alzen , Christijan Albers , Michael Bartels , Patrick Huisman , Thomas Jäger , Yves Olivier , Stefan Mücke