N'ring, free practice 1: Alzen ahead

DTM 'champion-elect' Bernd Schneider played it cool, left it late to take his Mercedes CLK on track, but still posted third fastest time in the first hour of free practice at the Nurburgring

N'ring, free practice 1: Alzen ahead

Opel's Manuel Reuter and Schneider's Mercedes stable mate Klaus Ludwig are both mathematical contenders for the title, but Schneider needs only a pair of podiums at the 'Ring to sew things up with a round to spare, regardless of what his challengers manage.

Reuter took second fastest in crisp but cold conditions, just behind 'Ring one-lap specialist Uwe Alzen's Team Holzer-run Opel V8 Coupe, but Ludwig was a distant 17th with only one more hour of free practice before the afternoon's single qualifying session.

Jo Winkelhock made it three Opels in the top four, just edging the improving Pedro Lamy in his Team Rosberg Mercedes, but Laurent Aiello once again supplied the surprise of the session by taking sixth for the Abt Audi squad. The Frenchman took a fifth place last time out, at Oschersleben, and could supply a shock if conditions in the Eifel move towards damp.

Peter Dumbreck was quickest of the 'Brit pack', snatching 10th in the dying seconds of the session, with Darren Turner 12th after holding a top 10 slot for much of the session. A flu-wracked James Thompson was second quickest of the Audis in 16th.



1 Uwe Alzen, Opel, 1m37.918s
2 Manuel Reuter, Opel, 1m37.956s
3 Bernd Schneider, Mercedes, 1m38.093s
4 Jo Winkelhock, Opel, 1m38.174s
5 Pedro Lamy, Mercedes, 1m38.186s
6 Laurent Aiello, Audi, 1m38.191s
7 Christian Menzel, Opel, 1m38.199s
8 Thomas Jaeger, Mercedes, 1m38.391s
9 Marcel Fassler, Mercedes, 1m38.567s
10 Peter Dumbreck, Mercedes, 1m38.589s


12 Darren Turner, Mercedes, 1m38.763s
16 James Thompson, Audi, 1m38.989s
17 Klaus Ludwig, Mercedes, 1m39.084s



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Schneider on brink of title at 'Ring
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