N'ring, free practice 2: Audi v. quick - go figure...

The DTM title battle took a back seat as Laurent Aiello once again stole the show for the Abt Audi squad in the second hour of free practice at the Nurburgring

N'ring, free practice 2: Audi v. quick - go figure...

Aiello's team mate Christian Abt gave a taste of things to come when he set the fifth best time halfway through the session. But with 10 minutes to go, Aiello stunned the Opel and Mercedes ranks with a lap that put him on top of the time sheets by a quarter of a second.

Opel's Michael Bartels pulled out the stops in the closing minutes to just snick it from the Frenchman, but in a season when the pocket-size TT-Rs have been mostly fighting it out for last place, it was still an amazing performance, albeit one that was hinted at by the team's Oschersleben form. Timing-wise, it couldn't have come at a moer crucial time: Audi decides its motorsport programmes for 2001 just around now and the Abt DTM effort is currently run without any works support...

Back to the title battle and Reuter continued to keep to his part of the script, taking third overall. Uwe Alzen slipped to fourth, but could be a more than useful wing man if he qualifies ahead of points leader Bernd Schneider. Schneider was again top of the Mercs, in fifth, but again set his time with minimum effort and minimum track time - one assumes there is more in the tank.

Darren Turner was top of the Brits, taking 10th place, but will be forced to start at the back of the grid anyway, having changed his Merc's engine after the Oschersleben mega-shunt deprived its innards of oil. As thoughts turn to 2001 contracts, Turner is targetting an optimum race set-up and a fight through the field on Sunday.

Klaus Ludwig, the third and final driver with any chance of the title, again struggled and could do no better than 11th, one spot ahead of Peter Dumbreck.

Contrasting with Aiello and Abt's Audi form, James Thompson could manage only one pukka lap and finished the session 20th and last.

The grid for race one will be decided by a single hour of qualifying at 1400 local time (1300 BST), with the race two grid decided by the race one finishing order.


1 Michael Bartels, Opel, 1m37.496s
2 Laurent Aiello, Audi, 1m37.671s
3 Manuel Reuter, Opel, 1m37.755s
4 Uwe Alzen, Opel, 1m37.980s
5 Bernd Schneider, Mercedes, 1m37.986s
6 Christian Abt, Audi, 1m38.218s
7 Marcel Fassler, Mercedes, 1m38.298s
8 Jo Winkelhock, Opel, 1m38.340s
9 Christian Menzel, Opel, 1m38.441s
10 Darren Turner, Mercedes, 1m38.489s


11 Klaus Ludwig, Mercedes, 1m38.564s
12 Peter Dumbreck, Mercedes, 1m38.620s
20 James Thompson, Audi, 1m40.008s

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N'ring, free practice 1: Alzen ahead
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