Qualifying: Pole for Schneider

Bernd Schneider took a small but significant step closer to retaining his DTM crown by taking pole position at the Norisring today (Saturday) as his title rivals were left breathless in their efforts to keep up

Qualifying: Pole for Schneider

In sweltering temperatures of over 30-degrees, the golden boy of the AMG Mercedes-Benz squad kept his cool to lap the 1.5-mile street circuit in 50.246s, outpacing the similar CLKs of super-sub Marcel Tiemann (Eschmann-Manthey) and Uwe Alzen (AMG).

Joachim Winkelhock led the rejuvenated Opel charge in fourth, the former BTCC champion less than two-tenths away from pole position in his Astra Coupe - by far the closest that the Ruesselsheim marque has been to the ultimate pace this season. Winkelhock won here last year and will sense another surprise victory could be on the cards.

In championship terms, however, the big loser was Laurent Aiello. The returning Frenchman's brand new Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R, which replaces his normal race car that was wrecked in a crash at the Sachsenring by Kris Nissen, will start a lowly 19th after a disastrous session. He will be looking to repeat Schneider's Sachsenring heroics, where he went from 20th on the qualifying race grid to victory in the main event, and certainly wouldn't mind if the heavens opened tomorrow.

Christian Abt was the best of the Audis in fifth, but will rue aborting a lap in the middle of the session that comprised a sector timing which was quicker than that of his best time. Merc's Marcel Fassler was sixth quickest, ahead of the second and third fastest Opels of Timo Scheider and Manuel Reuter.

He might have scored the winning goal for Mercedes in Friday night's football final, but Peter Dumbreck was left scratching his head with only the ninth quickest time. The Scot headed another trio of cars on the same tenth of a second, including Patrick Huisman (Mercedes), Mattias Ekstrom (Audi) and Michael Bartels (Opel).

Reigning BTCC champion Alain Menu (Opel) and Team Rosberg Merc driver David Saelens were the big movers after struggling in the free practice sessions. They moved up the time sheets to 14th and 15th places respectively after finding a couple of illusive tenths.




Bernd Schneider, 2001 D2 Mercedes CLK, 50.246s
Marcel Tiemann, 2001 Eschmann-Manthey Mercedes CLK, 50.312s
Uwe Alzen, 2001 Warsteiner Mercedes CLK, 50.381s
Joachim Winkelhock, 2001 Holzer Opel Astra Coupe, 50.438s
Christian Abt, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R 50.502s
Marcel Fassler, 2001 Warsteiner Mercedes CLK, 50.527s
Timo Scheider, 2001 Holzer Opel Astra Coupe, 50.602s
Manuel Reuter, 2001 Phoenix Opel Astra Coupe, 50.684s
Peter Dumbreck, 2001 D2 Mercedes CLK, 50.769s
Patrick Huisman, 2001 Eschmann-Manthey Mercedes CLK, 50.787s
Mattias Ekstrom, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R, 50.788s
Michael Bartels, 2001 Holzer Opel Astra Coupe, 50.790s
Tomas Jager, 2000 Persson Mercedes CLK, 50.885s
Alain Menu, 2001 Euroteam Opel Astra Coupe, 50.913s
David Saelens, 2000 Rosberg Mercedes CLK, 50.979s
Christijan Albers, 2000 Persson Mercedes CLK, 51.001s
Yves Olivier, 2000 Phoenix Opel Astra Coupe, 51.037s
Darren Turner, 2000 Rosberg Mercedes CLK, 51.070s
Laurent Aiello, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R, 51.082s
Martin Tomczyk, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R, 51.103s
Hubert Haupt, 2000 Euroteam Opel Astra Coupe, 51.466s
Peter Mamerow, 2000 Mamerow Opel Astra Coupe, 51.755s

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Saturday practice: Schneider pips Jo

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