Donington: Alesi scores first win of 2003

Jean Alesi converted a front row starting position into a win after race-long pressure from championship leader and poleman Bernd Schneider in an incident strewn race

Donington: Alesi scores first win of 2003

Alesi, who won at Donington last year too, led from start to finish after outdragging his pole-sitting team-mate Schneider away from the startline. Schneider spent the next 36 laps applying as much pressure as he could to Alesi, and even got alongside him at Melbourne on the opening lap, but the Frenchman stood firm.

To give its drivers an equal chance of winning, Mercedes allowed Alesi and Schneider, plus the following Marcel Fassler and Christijan Albers, to pit in unison so as not to disrupt their races. Each time, Alesi beat Schneider out of the pits, as Fassler did likewise to Albers in their personal battle.

Alesi went on to finish just 1.4secs ahead of Schneider for his second win in the DTM since joining its ranks in 2002.

"It was difficult, because I knew a small mistake would cost me the lead," he said. "I had perfect pitstops and I pushed hard when I had to."

Schneider, who moves into the series lead thanks to finishing second, said: "I'm satisfied with the points, but not with the race. I had the package to win but I lost out at the start."

The interloper into the AMG Mercedes ranks was Mattias Ekstrom's Abt Sportsline Audi. He made an awful start, and squeezed out the Opel of Peter Dumbreck going into the first corner. But a blinding pace on his second and third sets of tyres, coupled with a canny pit strategy, allowed him to leapfrog the Fassler/Albers battle and into third place.

"The start was really a disaster and I could not follow the Mercs on my first set of tyres," said Ekstrom. "But after that it was much better. I'm going to go away and practice my starts now."

Fassler held off Albers for fourth, while Peter Dumbreck was the first Opel home in sixth position, the Scot even finding time for a quick spin at the Melbourne hairpin.


Jean Alesi (F) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK, 36 laps
Bernd Schneider (D) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK, +1.466s
Mattias Ekstrom (S) Abt-Audi TT-R, +1.841s
Marcel Fässler (CH) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK, +4.497s
Christijan Albers (NL) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK, +5.459s
Peter Dumbreck (GB) Phoenix Opel Astra V8 Coupé, +24.430s
Thomas Jager (D) 2002 Persson Mercedes-Benz CLK, +41.669s
Timo Scheider (D) Phoenix Opel Astra V8 Coupé, +49.075s
Gary Paffett (D) 2002 Rosberg Mercedes-Benz CLK, +55.115s
Joachim Winkelhock (D) Euroteam Opel Astra V8 Coupé, +58.363s

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