Audi Lead Test Sessions

With the DTM title race building up to its endgame at the Nurburgring in Germany, the seventh round of the 11-race touring car series, recent top dogs Mercedes-Benz seemed to suffer an unexpected wobble in the early exchanges of Friday testing

Audi Lead Test Sessions

Cars from arch rivals Audi, including reigning champion Mattias Ekstrom, locked in a title scrap with Mercedes' series leader Gary Paffett, set the pace as the fickle Eifel climate played a role.

Audi's Martin Tomczyk set the fastest time of the day in the dry morning session, the German lapping his A4 in 1:24.141, closely followed by Opel's Marcel Fassler and Tomczyk's Abt Sportsline Audi teammate Tom Kristensen, who were 0.032s and 0.066s in arrears respectively.

The best Mercedes was Paffett, down in seventh place and three-quarters of a second off the pace.

Mercedes endured a poor day, however, with Bernd Schneider (13th), Mika Hakkinen (14th), Jean Alesi (16th) and Jamie Green (18th) all struggling to unlock speed from their C-class machines.

Ekstrom set the pace in the second session, which was wet or damp throughout,­ conditions that forecasters expect will continue for the duration of the weekend.

His best time was 126.186 and well clear of the chasing pack, which surprisingly included Frank Stippler's 2004-spec Audi, plus Fassler and Allan McNish (Audi).

Paffett was fifth fastest in the second session, but his Mercedes teammates struggled once again. Alesi was 11th; Schneider 15th; Hakkinen 19th and Green 20th.

Morning times:

Pos  Driver           Make                    Time               Laps

 1.  Martin Tomczyk   Audi A4 DTM             1:24.141            29
 2.  Marcel Fassler   Opel Vectra GTS V8      1:24.173  +  0.032  33
 3.  Tom Kristensen   Audi A4 DTM             1:24.207  +  0.066  26
 4.  Frank Stippler   Audi A4 DTM             1:24.398  +  0.257  27
 5.  Christian Abt    Audi A4 DTM             1:24.522  +  0.381  18
 6.  Bruno Spengler   AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse   1:24.597  +  0.456  32
 7.  Gary Paffett     AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse   1:24.869  +  0.728  27
 8.  H.H. Frentzen    Opel Vectra GTS V8      1:24.982  +  0.841  25
 9.  Mattias Ekstrom  Audi A4 DTM             1:25.047  +  0.906  23
10.  A. Margaritis    AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse   1:25.061  +  0.920  29
11.  Stefan Mucke     AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse   1:25.125  +  0.984  31
12.  Laurent Aiello   Opel Vectra GTS V8      1:25.139  +  0.998  22
13.  Bernd Schneider  AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse   1:25.154  +  1.013  30
14.  Mika Häkkinen    AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse   1:25.282  +  1.141  21
15.  Rinaldo Capello  Audi A4 DTM             1:25.296  +  1.155  25
16.  Jean Alesi       AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse   1:25.406  +  1.265  27
17.  Allan McNish     Audi A4 DTM             1:25.560  +  1.419  33
18.  Jamie Green      AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse   1:25.626  +  1.485  29
19.  Manuel Reuter    Opel Vectra GTS V8      1:25.676  +  1.535  29
20.  Pierre Kaffer    Audi A4 DTM             1:25.870  +  1.729  25

Afternoon times:

Pos Driver Make Time Laps 1. Mattias Ekstrom Audi A4 DTM 1:26.186 28 2. Frank Stippler Audi A4 DTM 1:26.726 + 0.540 29 3. Marcel Fassler Opel Vectra GTS V8 1:26.923 + 0.737 31 4. Allan McNish Audi A4 DTM 1:27.014 + 0.828 31 5. Gary Paffett AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 1:27.024 + 0.838 28 6. A. Margaritis AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 1:27.201 + 1.015 25 7. Pierre Kaffer Audi A4 DTM 1:27.394 + 1.208 27 8. Christian Abt Audi A4 DTM 1:27.420 + 1.234 17 9. H.H. Frentzen Opel Vectra GTS V8 1:27.458 + 1.272 31 10. Bruno Spengler AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 1:27.465 + 1.279 25 11. Jean Alesi AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 1:27.571 + 1.385 18 12. Martin Tomczyk Audi A4 DTM 1:27.798 + 1.612 26 13. Tom Kristensen Audi A4 DTM 1:27.834 + 1.648 33 14. Laurent Aiello Opel Vectra GTS V8 1:27.927 + 1.741 18 15. Bernd Schneider AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 1:28.508 + 2.322 30 16. Stefan Mucke AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 1:28.514 + 2.328 24 17. Manuel Reuter Opel Vectra GTS V8 1:29.186 + 3.000 24 18. Rinaldo Capello Audi A4 DTM 1:29.401 + 3.215 19 19. Mika Hakkinen AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 1:34.072 + 7.886 27 20. Jamie Green AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 1:36.401 + 10.215 25 All Timing Unofficial 
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