A1-Ring: Fassler fends off Schneider

Marcel Fässler showed he could live with the best in the business by absorbing intense Bernd Schneider pressure for 40 laps of the A1-Ring to take victory in the DTM race. It was a Mercedes-owned podium, with Fässler and Schneider followed home by Christijan Albers' car. The result gives Schneider a slight edge in the championship, but he still has a mere 3-point lead over Albers.

A1-Ring: Fassler fends off Schneider

Both Christian Abt (Audi) and Jean Alesi (Mercedes) were eliminated in a big first-lap smash between the first and second corners. Peter Dumbreck and Timo Scheider joined them on the retirement list with damage from the incident. That left Fässler to hold off the intimidating Schneider for the full distance after the safety car pulled in on lap 6. Despite a brake problem in the final laps and numerous close calls with Schneider, Fässler showed he could handle the heat on the big stage.

The first round of pit stops saw Schneider and Fässler stop together, and Bernd only just missed out on passing his HWA team-mate as the two cars left their pit boxes. The second stop gave Fässler a brief cushion, but it wasn't long before Schneider was breathing all over him again - a situation that got no less comfortable as the chequered flag drew nearer.

The end came as a big relief for Fässler: "Bernd was really pressuring me hard," he said. "I had a brake balance problem and I kept locking up in the tight corners. The last few laps were really difficult, but I knew that Bernd would not do anything stupid."

Third-placed Albers was never really in the hunt, his only excitement an early move on Laurent Aiello. Despite briefly dropping behind fellow Audi star Mattias Ekstrom, Aiello soon found a comfortable race-long niche in fourth place. Ekstrom stayed fifth, with late-stopping Brit Gary Paffett bringing the 2002-spec Mercedes home in an excellent sixth position.


Marcel Fässler (CH) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK, 1h02m53.685s
Bernd Schneider (D) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK, +0.683s
Christijan Albers (NL) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK, +5.835s
Laurent Aiello (F) Abt-Audi TT-R, +9.878s
Mattias Ekstrom (S) Abt-Audi TT-R, +23.820s
Gary Paffett (GB) '02 Team Rosberg Mercedes-Benz CLK, +30.042s
Alain Menu (CH) Holzer Opel Astra V8 Coupé, +35.852s
Martin Tomczyk (D) Abt-Audi TT-R, +36.393s
Tomas Jager (D) '02 Persson Mercedes-Benz CLK, +43.717s
Manuel Reuter (D) Holzer Opel Astra V8 Coupe, +44.449s

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