Qualifying: Schneider keeps Opel hordes at bay

Bernd Schneider took his fourth pole position of the season at Oschersleben, but not before Opel had shown it's still in the mood to take the DTM fight to Mercedes-Benz's CLK steam-roller

Qualifying: Schneider keeps Opel hordes at bay

With just 10 minutes to go, Opels held the top six places on the grid, headed by Manuel Reuter. But a final effort by Schneider and his AMG squad put the points-leader back on the pole he'd held in the opening minutes of the session.

"I had problems with the first set of tyres I ran and there was a lot of dirt on the track," said Schneider. "The car was slightly out of balance too, so we made a little change and on my final fast lap, after Reuter had taken pole, I went out, didn't make any mistakes and just drove at my maximum."

Opel didn't give up and threw every one of its eight-car fleet back into the attack. Uwe Alzen came closest, putting in a lap just 0.088s shy of Schneider's best and heading a Russelsheim two-three-four-five. Manuel Reuter, the only Opel driver still in with a faint chance at the title, took third, with Jo Winkelhock and Timo Scheider fourth and fifth.

Reuter is 51 points behind Schneider in the overall standings and knows that nothing but wins will do.

"It's going to be really, really difficult now," he admitted. "I think Bernd has to retire in at least one race if I have a chance of taking it any further."

Peter Dumbreck was second quickest of the Mercedes armada, but Schneider aside, Opel appeared to have kept the slightest of advantages it had at the track back in June, when Reuter headed Winkelhock in a pair of one-two finishes.

"This is definitely not our circuit," said Schneider. "But even if I had qualified sixth, it wouldn't have been too bad. The main thing for me is to score some points."

The track proved extremely slippery for the whole of the session, with dust and stones being constantly topped-up by a serries of off-track excursions. Eric Helary scored highest for style with his full power grass-tracking, but Marcel Tiemann had the luckiest escape when his Mercedes went off at the tricky Triple left-hander (named after its trio of apexes).

An off-track excursion put paid to Laurent Aiello repeating his morning free practice form, when he'd posted the second fastest time. Instead, the Frenchman lines up a disappointed 18th - only second quickest of the Audi quartet.

Of the other British drivers, Darren Turner fared least badly, taking 15th overall, four places ahead of James Thompson.



1 Bernd Schneider, Mercedes, 1m24.995s
2 Uwe Alzen, Opel, 1m25.083s
3 Manuel Reuter, Opel, 1m25.364s
4 Jo Winkelhock, Opel, 1m25.377s
5 Timo Scheider, Opel, 1m25.463s
6 Peter Dumbreck, Mercedes, 1m25.468s
7 Christian Menzel, Opel, 1m25.502s
8 Pedro Lamy, Mercedes, 1m25.730s
9 Eric Helary, Opel, 1m25.783s
10 Thomas Jager, Mercedes, 1m25.791s
11 Michael Bartels, Opel, 1m25.840s (set time before Fassler)
12 Marcel Fassler, Mercedes, 1m25.840s
13 Stefano Modena, Opel, 1m25.871s
14 Klaus Ludwig, Mercedes, 1m26.003s
15 Darren Turner, Mercedes, 1m26.222s
16 Christian Abt, Audi, 1m26.451s
17 Marcel Tiemann, Mercedes, 1m26.454s
18 Laurent Aiello, Audi, 1m26.584s
19 James Thompson, Audi, 1m27.493s
20 Kris Nissen, Audi, 1m28.156s


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