2nd round DTM Circuit Zolder (B), May 3-5, 2002 Second double victory for Abt-Audi in a turbulent rain race Heavy rain in the second season round of the DTM at the Circuit Zolder (B) caused a turbulence race action with a safety-car phase and...
2nd round DTM Circuit Zolder (B), May 3-5, 2002
Second double victory for Abt-Audi in a turbulent rain race
Heavy rain in the second season round of the DTM at the Circuit Zolder (B) caused a turbulence race action with a safety-car phase and various excursions. Both the qualification race and the main race were started behind the safety car. Once more, Abt Sportsline celebrated a double victory: Laurent Aiello (F), winner of the opening round, won the race at the 3.977 km long track with the Abt-Audi TT-R from his team mate Christian Abt and thus extended his championship lead to 25 points.
With the Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM, Bernd Schneider finished third. Like in Hockenheim already, Opel-youngster Timo Scheider scored two points with the Opel Astra V8 Coupé in fourth place. Because of an accident just before the race (lap 23), the race was finally stopped with the red flag.
"Of course, this is a great result, both for me and for my team", says winner Laurent Aiello. After all, we hardly had any testing in the rain. The higher I rate the performance of our team, to prepare such a perfect set-up for our TT-Rs in these adverse conditions."
After Zandvoort in 2001, Abt-Audi driver Christian Abt claimed his second runner-up spot in the DTM. "My windscreen was misted, and so were my spectacles. I had no visibility, I had no radio contact. At the end, I had so much aquaplaning that I was happy when the race was finally over", Abt, who is known as a charging driver, admitted honestly. Team principal Hans-Jürgen Abt said: "In these circumstances, the quality of the drivers was deciding. And there, we were sorted really well."
Mercedes-Benz motorsport director Norbert Haug was also positive: "The race was exciting, the drivers were cautious and disciplined. The fact that one can slide off the track with so much aquaplaning is quite normal."
Third-placed Bernd Schneider, who moved up from fourth to third in the championship standings, said: "The problem with aquaplaning is, that our really low cars are so much affected by the water that they actually get out of control. I am happy with third place, after all, I started seventh. Fact is, that our CLK is still too slow. I am certain, that we will be quite close to the Audis at the next round in Donington in a fortnight."
"I am a little disappointed with the result", said best-placed Opel-driver Timo Scheider. "After all, I started into the main race from the second row and therefore, a podium finish would have been within reach. But we have all survived the rain chaos and have provided a good show for the spectators, who flocked to Zolder in spite of the cold and the rain, and that is what we owe our fans."
For Scheider's Holzer team-mate Michael Bartels, who was third in the qualification race (one point), the main race was unfortunate. After an excursion of another driver, the safety car went out onto the track alongside with Bartels, who was leading at the time. Because of the apparent mistake of having overtaken the safety car, Bartels was called into the pits for a time penalty. As a result, the Holzer-driver finished the race only in eighth place.