N'ring, race 1: Reuter win keeps slim hopes alive

Manuel Reuter kept his slim DTM title hopes alive for one more race when he won the first 22-lapper at the Nurburgring - but with runaway points leader Bernd Schneider tailing him home in second, the Mercedes ace is now 54 points ahead, with just 60 points still available

N'ring, race 1: Reuter win keeps slim hopes alive

In the opening laps, Opel seemed to have played its tactical gambit to perfection: Jo Winkelhock converted pole into an early lead, with Reuter behind him and Uwe Alzen third after out-dragging Schneider at the rolling start.

On lap 10, Smokin' Jo did the team player thing and let Reuter past and into the lead, making it best case scenario for the 1996 ITC champ's title hopes. But Schneider clung on to the trio of V8 Coupes and finally, after getting a nose ahead at Coca Cola, he passed Alzen with a move down the inside at the first corner, the Castrol chicane, starting the 12th lap.

Five laps later, Schneider was past Winkelhock too, carrying out an identi-kit pass at the Castrol curve. Winkelhock went slightly wide in the move and dropped to fifth, leaving Alzen on the one hand trying to catch and re-pass Schneider and on the other trying to keep Marcel Fassler's fourth-placed Merc behind him.

Schneider wasn't content to settle with second and took a look down the inside of Reuter at Shell, but the Opel fended off the CLK and actually eked out a couple of tenths in the closing laps.

Opel motorsport boss Volker Strycek's jubilation as Reuter crossed the line was heartfelt, but masking the fact that in race two - barring mechanical failure or an Opel-shaped torpedo - Schneider should wrap up the championship with a Hockenheim finale to spare.

Best of the Brit finishers was Peter Dumbreck's Team Persson Merc. The Scot had been chasing his CLK's handling all weekend, but knuckled down for the ride and eventually finished 10th, three places ahead of back-of-the-grid starter Darren Turner, with James Thompson rolling in 15th in his Audi.



(gap shown is to leader)
1 Manuel Reuter, Opel, 22 laps
2 Bernd Schneider, Mercedes, +0.7s
3 Uwe Alzen, Opel, +1.7s
4 Marcel Fassler, Mercedes, +3.3s
5 Jo Winkelhock, Opel, +4.6s
6 Michael Bartels, Opel, +14.2s
7 Thomas Jager, Mercedes, +14.7s
8 Pedro Lamy, Mercedes, +14.9s
9 Laurent Aiello, Audi, +18.4s
10 Peter Dumbreck, Mercedes, +20.6s


13 Darren Turner, Mercedes, +22.9s
15 James Thompson, Audi, +54.9s

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