Audi launch rearguard action

With their reigning Champion Mattias Ekstrom needing to win on Sunday to have any chance of retaining his title, Audi stepped up their efforts in free practice at the Hockenheim season-finale on Saturday morning

Audi launch rearguard action

Seven-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen lapped the German circuit in his Audi A4 in 1:34.636, just over a tenth quicker than Ekstrom. Martin Tomczyk made it an Audi 1-2-3, with Heinz-Harald Frentzen fourth in the leading Opel.

Christian Abt and Frank Stippler proved that the year-old Audis could play a role, by setting the fifth and sixth quickest times.

The leading Mercedes was that of Mika Hakkinen, who was only seventh fastest.

Ekstrom needs to win on Sunday with series leader Gary Paffett outside the points. Paffett was only 11th fastest on Saturday, but is refusing to panic ahead of qualifying.

Pos  Driver           Make                   Time              Laps
 1.  Tom Kristensen   Audi A4 DTM            1:34.636           21
 2.  Mattias Ekstrom  Audi A4 DTM            1:34.785 + 0.149   18
 3.  Martin Tomczyk   Audi A4 DTM            1:34.843 + 0.207   14
 4.  H.H. Frentzen    Opel Vectra GTS V8     1:34.950 + 0.314   16
 5.  Christian Abt    Audi A4 DTM            1:35.056 + 0.420   12
 6.  Frank Stippler   Audi A4 DTM            1:35.069 + 0.433   18
 7.  Mika Hakkinen    AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse  1:35.111 + 0.475   16
 8.  Bruno Spengler   AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse  1:35.190 + 0.554   18
 9.  Laurent Aiello   Opel Vectra GTS V8     1:35.311 + 0.675   13
10.  Manuel Reuter    Opel Vectra GTS V8     1:35.326 + 0.690   21
11.  Gary Paffett     AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse  1:35.389 + 0.753   13
12.  Pierre Kaffer    Audi A4 DTM            1:35.467 + 0.831   19
13.  Rinaldo Capello  Audi A4 DTM            1:35.477 + 0.841   20
14.  Jean Alesi       AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse  1:35.502 + 0.866   16
15.  A. Margaritis    AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse  1:35.592 + 0.956   20
16.  Marcel Fassler   Opel Vectra GTS V8     1:35.798 + 1.162   14
17.  Allan McNish     Audi A4 DTM            1:35.809 + 1.173   14
18.  Stefan Mucke     AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse  1:35.902 + 1.266   23
19.  Jamie Green      AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse  1:35.994 + 1.358    6
20.  Bernd Schneider  AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse  1:36.112 + 1.476   14
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