Prac: Major Tom in control

Tom Kristensen is on a roll in the DTM right now, and continued his momentum by topping the times in the final practice session before qualifying at Zandvoort in Holland. The big story of the morning, however, was two big shunts that befell Opel drivers Laurent Aiello and Jeroen Bleekemolen

Prac: Major Tom in control

Both left the track at the ultra-quick Scheivlak bend, with Aiello's Vectra appearing to suffer a left-front suspension or tyre failure before skipping across the gravel trap, completely missing the tyre wall, and slamming into unprotected Armco. The impact was such that the barrier was bent back. Bleekemolen's shunt occurred out of sight of the TV cameras, but he too appears to have registered a similar impact that has wrecked the front-left corner of his new Vectra.

Opel was not alone in suffering dramas, however. Stefan Mucke's Mercedes CLK hit the barriers at the Hugenholtz hairpin, while spinners included Gary Paffett (Mercedes), Christian Abt (Audi) and Jarek Janis (Mercedes). Bernd Schneider ploughed straight on at Tarzan, but rejoined without hitting anything.

Kristensen lapped in 1m33.910s, the first sub-34s lap of the weekend, four tenths faster than Abt team-mate Martin Tomczyk. Manuel Reuter was next up to give Opel some cheer after a difficult morning, with series leader Mattias Ekstrom's Audi fourth, ahead of main title rival Christijan Albers (Mercedes)

Timo Scheider, who almost won here last year for Opel was sixth, ahead of team-mate Marcel Fassler. Opel's Heinz-Harald Frentzen was in eighth, with Frank Biela making a welcome return to the top 10 in his Audi. Paffett continues to struggle at Zandvoort and was down in 13th place, just ahead of Schneider and Opel's Peter Dumbreck.

Tom Kristensen, Audi A4, 1m33.910s
Martin Tomczyk, Audi A4, 1m34.340s
Manuel Reuter, Opel Vectra GTS, 1m34.518s
Mattias Ekstrom, Audi A4, 1m34.520s
Christijan Albers, Mercedes C-Class, 1m34.640s
Timo Scheider, Opel Vectra GTS, 1m34.755s

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