Sprint race: Aiello gives Audi first win
|Sunday, May 6th 2001, 13:51 GMT|
Laurent Aiello stayed well ahead of the unfolding chaos behind him to win the privateer Abt Audi squad's first ever DTM race in the seven-lap sprint race at the Nurburgring.
Aiello didn't make a mistake in the damp conditions as he led the impressive rookie Martin Tomczyk home in a TT-R one-two. Tomzcyk finished 3.3s behind the Frenchman, with the best of the rest, Mercedes' Peter Dumbreck, a further 7.3s in arrears.
"It was quite tricky out there," said Aiello. "The conditions were very special. As soon as we started it stopped raining, but it was very slippery. We managed to stay on and finish first and second, but it's the second race that really counts."
The result means that Aiello pockets three points, Tomczyk two and Dumbreck one. But more importantly, it means Audi holds the front row for the big-points pit stop race.
Choas at the rolling start saw the Mercs of Bernd Schneider and Marcel Fassler, plus Christian Abt's Audi making contact in the first right-hander. Abt was able to hobble round to retirement, while Fassler rejoined bonnet-less and seventh, with Schneider having to begin a fight back from outside the top dozen.
At the end of the first lap, Mattias Ekstrom made it an Audi one-two-three, but was slowly swallowed by the chasing pack of Mercedes CLKs. Dumbreck took third on the third lap and was only momentarily relieved of it by a charging Fassler on the way to a precious point.
Tomas Jager finished fourth in the best of the 2000-spec Mercs, with Pedro Lamy fighting off a recovering Bernd Schneider to finish fifth, then spending the recess between races arguing with Merc's top brass over his 'robust' tactics.
Darren Turner scythed through from 18th on the grid to ninth, but noted that the circuit being half-wet, half-dry merely added to the fun.
For Opel it was another race to forget. The best of the Astras was Yves Olivier's 2000-spec car in 14th, but the race will be remembered more for Manuel Reuter's high-speed near-roll that left the 2000 runner-up lucky to emerge unscathed.
Reuter, along with Abt, will not start the second, 22-lap pit stop race.
Nurburgring DTM, sprint race
Pos, Driver, Car/team, Time/gap to leader
1 Laurent Aiello, 2001 Abt Audi TT-R
2 Martin Tomczyk, 2001 Abt Audi TT-R, +3.3
3 Peter Dumbreck, 2001 D2 AMG Mercedes CLK, +10.6
4 Tomas Jager, 2000 Persson Mercedes CLK, +10.8
5 Pedro Lamy, 2000 Rosberg Mercedes CLK, +11.0
6 Bernd Schneider, 2001 D2 AMG Mercedes CLK, +11.5
7 Uwe Alzen, 2001 Warsteiner AMG Mercedes CLK, +12.0
8 Marcel Fassler, Warsteiner AMG Mercedes CLK, +12.6
9 Darren Turner, 2000 Rosberg Mercedes CLK, +13.2
10 Mattias Ekstrom, 2001 Abt Audi TT-R, +13.4