When the DTM resumed amid much fanfare in 2000, it wasn't Audi that took the fight to that year's dominant manufacturer, Mercedes. And it certainly wasn't BMW - the only marque left in the DTM as it stands next year following Audi's decision to withdraw - as it wasn't until 2012 that it made its long-awaited return.
Rather, it was Opel, which had won the last edition of the DTM under class one rules in 1996 with Manuel Reuter, that posed the biggest threat to Mercedes dominance. Reuter won four times in 2000 - only two less than runaway champion Bernd Schneider - to finish the season as runner-up, while fellow Astra Coupe drivers Joachim Winkelhock and Uwe Alzen added a further four between them, amounting to exactly a 50/50 split with Mercedes over the 16 races.
Opel drivers had won five of the last six races in all, but hopes that it would be a sign of things to come in 2001 were quickly dashed as a Laurent Aiello-led Audi instead rose to the fore as Mercedes' principal challenger. Opel didn't even score a podium as lead driver Reuter slumped to tenth in the points, and it didn't get much better in 2002, as Aiello and Audi toppled Schneider for the title. Reuter's pole at Donington and Alain Menu's second at the Sachsenring were the main highlights.