Qualifying: Aiello heads Abt Audi one-two

Laurent Aiello, who raved about his stretched Audi TT-R's potential at the DTM season-opener two weeks ago, proved its potency with pole position for round two at the Nurburgring. The former BTCC champion headed up rookie Martin Tomczyk in a one-two on the grid for the privateer Abt squad.

Qualifying: Aiello heads Abt Audi one-two

It was Audi's first DTM pole since Frank Biela put a V8 Quattro on the top spot at the Avus street track in 1992 and its first front row slot since the new-style DTM cranked into life at the start of 2000.

Aiello, who set his time with just under five minutes of the grey and cold 45-minute session remaining, was assured of his maiden DTM pole when Mercedes ace Bernd Schneider stopped the clocks just 0.230s shy on his last-gasp flyer after problems with yellow flags and gravel on the track.

Schneider lines up third, with fellow Merc drivers Marcel Fassler and Tomas Jager fourth and fifth. It was a particularly impressive result for Jager, whose Persson-run CLK is a 2000-spec car.

Christian Abt in the third of the four Audis completed the top six, with Mattias Ekstrom putting the remaining TT-R eighth in an incredible afternoon for the DTM's underdogs.

"I'm very happy with the pole," said Aiello. "It means a lot to me, but I always work on the final result of the weekend - what happens in the race itself - so if I can stay in this position for the races, I'm going to be very, very happy."

Team boss Hans-Jurgen Abt added: "Aiello predicted it yesterday and I thought he was kidding. We've suffered a lot over the last year or so, but we've also learnt a lot, and now the hard work is paying off."

Tomczyk was regarded as a risk when the team signed him up to its junior programme with Ekstrom, but the son of the ADAC's competitions director proved he could mix it with his front-row slot.

"I can't believe it yet," said the former Formula 3 driver. "I made a slight mistake on my quick lap, but when I saw I was second I didn't believe it at first. These cars are very difficult to drive, but I learnt from F3 that you have to drive a very smooth line and it paid off."

With Audi going into tomorrow's race with only one long run under its belt - the race at Hockenheim - Schneider still looks something of a favourite for victory.

"I'm looking forward to an exciting race with the Audis," said the reigning DTM champ. "On my final flyer, Patrick (Huisman) had put a lot of gravel down at the first chicane and then there were still yellows waving where they'd towed away Hubert Haupt's Opel, so two little problems meant third on the grid.

"I'm not surprised that the Audi was so fast here," he added. "They've been good here last year anyway, so with the new 'limousine', they're obviously going to be a factor."

Top Opel on another bleak afternoon for the currently struggling marque was Yves Olivier's 2000-spec Astra, but that was way down in 10th place. Motorsport chief Volker Strycek said the team was making steady progress, but there was no single reason as to why the Russelsheim marque was still so far from the pace. Best 2001-spec Opel was Timo Scheider, marooned in 13th in his Holzer-run example.

"It's not what we wanted or expected," he said, "but at least we have improved a bit. We are only around nine tenths down on the Mercedes times, which is less than Hockenheim, but on a far longer track."

Peter Dumbreck was best of the British contingent, taking ninth for the D2 AMG squad, but he was caught out by using his allotted 12 laps too early in the session, before the track was at its fastest. Darren Turner also used his laps too early in the 45 minutes and wound up a disappointed, and somewhat unrepresentative 18th in his Rosberg-run 2000-spec car. Reigning British Touring Car Champion Alain Menu was 19th for Opel Euroteam.

The qualifying order provides the grid for Sunday's seven-lap sprint race (14:15 BST, 15:15 local time), with the sprint result providing the grid for the day's longer, 22-lap pit stop race.


Laurent Aiello, 2001 Abt Audi TT-R, 1m37.025s
Martin Tomczyk, 2001 Abt Audi TT-R, 1m37.194s
Bernd Schneider, 2001 D2 AMG Mercedes CLK, 1m37.255s
Marcel Fassler, Warsteiner AMG Mercedes CLK, 1m37.271s
Tomas Jager, 2000 Persson Mercedes CLK, 1m37.275s
Christian Abt, 2001 Abt Audi TT-R, 1m37.410s
Christijan Albers, 2000 Persson Mercedes CLK, 1m37.615s
Mattias Ekstrom, 2001 Abt Audi TT-R, 1m37.716s
Peter Dumbreck, 2001 D2 AMG Mercedes CLK, 1m37.787s
Yves Olivier, 2000 Phoenix Opel Astra V8 Coupe, 1m37.793s
Uwe Alzen, 2001 Warsteiner AMG Mercedes CLK, 1m37.928s
Pedro Lamy, 2000 Rosberg Mercedes CLK, 1m38.016s
Timo Scheider, 2001 Holzer Opel Astra V8 Coupe, 1m38.026s
Bernd Maylander, 2001 Manthey Mercedes CLK, 1m38.209s
Jo Winkelhock, 2001 Holzer Opel Astra V8 Coupe, 1m38.225s
Patrick Huisman, 2001 Manthey Mercedes CLK, 1m38.276s
Manuel Reuter, 2001 Phoenix Opel Astra V8 Coupe, 1m38.279s
Darren Turner, 2000 Rosberg Mercedes CLK, 1m38.367s
Alain Menu, 2001 Euroteam Opel Astra V8 Coupe, 1m38.550s
Michael Bartels, 2001 Holzer Opel Astra V8 Coupe, 1m38.867s
Hubert Haupt, 2000 Euroteam Opel Astra V8 Coupe, 1m39.992s
Peter Mamerow, 2000 Mamerow Opel Astra V8 Coupe, 1m40.376s





shares
comments
Abt squad poised to take shot in the dark
Previous article

Abt squad poised to take shot in the dark

Next article

Warm-up: Abt goes faster than pole time

Warm-up: Abt goes faster than pole time
Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022 Plus

Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022

The season just gone was a memorable one for many of our staff writers, who are fortunate enough to cover motorsport around the world. Here are our picks of the best (and in some cases, most eventful) from 2022

Formula 1
Dec 31, 2022
The plug in and play stand-ins who got their timing just right Plus

The plug in and play stand-ins who got their timing just right

Nyck de Vries’s Italian GP exploits weren’t the first post-eleventh-hour call-up in motorsport history, and won’t be the last either. Here are some offbeat tales from the past

General
Dec 26, 2022
The longest-serving Red Bull driver revealing F1’s true brutality Plus

The longest-serving Red Bull driver revealing F1’s true brutality

His day of days in Formula 1 came at Indianapolis in 2005, a day grand prix racing strives to forget. But Patrick Friesacher, the long-serving Red Bull lieutenant, remains active today driving a two-seater that provides ordinary people with a glimpse of an F1 car’s savage potential, including this writer...

Formula 1
Jun 2, 2022
How the DTM has come back stronger from its Norisring nadir Plus

How the DTM has come back stronger from its Norisring nadir

OPINION: Questionable driving standards and farcical team orders meant the DTM's first season under GT3 regulations ended under a cloud. But the organisation has responded firmly by banning team orders and welcomed new manufacturers, making for an intriguing season ahead as new and returning names prepare for battle

DTM
Mar 30, 2022
The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics Plus

The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics

Over two decades as a factory driver with Audi and BMW, Martin Tomczyk earned the respect of team-mates and rivals as a hard but fair racer. After calling time on his racing career, the 2011 DTM champion sat down with Autosport to look back

GT
Mar 5, 2022
The other Hamilton conqueror seeking career revival Plus

The other Hamilton conqueror seeking career revival

On his rise through the ranks before reaching Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton was usually a cut above the rest. But he never truly asserted himself over a Mercedes-backed fellow Briton who traded single-seaters for touring cars and is now seeking new opportunities after a year largely spent on the sidelines

DTM
Dec 18, 2021
How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions Plus

How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions

OPINION: The scenes at the Norisring as Mercedes used blatant team orders to secure the first DTM title of the new GT3 era totally undermined the credibility of the championship. But as well as overshadowing the season, it also presents uncomfortable questions to series bosses about the direction it is headed in

DTM
Oct 12, 2021
How Audi's new DTM star is channeling Rast to achieve his "childhood dream" Plus

How Audi's new DTM star is channeling Rast to achieve his "childhood dream"

Having learned the ropes in GT3 alongside Rene Rast, Kelvin van der Linde is in line to take up the three-time champion's baton as Audi's new DTM king. From humble origins in South Africa, it's been a remarkable journey so far for the current series leader, but he knows that the 2021 title is a long way from settled just yet

DTM
Sep 18, 2021