Qualifying: Schneider seals pole

Single lap qualifying returned to the DTM today (Saturday) at the 2003 season-opener at Hockenheim, and old master Bernd Schneider proved that he's lost none of his speed over the years by storming to pole position

Qualifying: Schneider seals pole

The half hour session that preceded the single lap shoot-out was fascinating enough, with reigning champion Laurent Aiello leaving it until the last minute to set the fastest time after a brief rain shower had sent everyone scurrying into the pits. Team-mate Mattias Ekstrom was second fastest, but a late flyer from Schneider put him third, ahead of Christian Abt (Audi). Peter Dumbreck was the top Opel pilot in seventh place, but his only colleague joining him in the Top 10 shoot-out was Manuel Reuter.

Schneider was faultless on his Super Pole flyer, lapping in 1m35.141s to pip Audi young gun Martin Tomczyk by 0.144s. Marcel Fassler made it two Mercs in the top three, but Aiello kept the manufacturer symmetry going with fourth spot after a messy lap.

"I think the session showed just how close everyone is," said Schneider. "With only one chance to set the time you have to be 100 percent spot on."

Jean Alesi (Mercedes) was, as ever, highly spectacular on his way to fifth, ahead of Karl Wendlinger (Audi) and the first of the Opels in the shape of Reuter. Ekstrom was a lacklustre eighth, ahead of Dumbreck and Abt, who had a big spin in the Mercedes Arena, and so will start tomorrow's race in 10th.

Bernd Schneider Mercedes 1m35.141s
Martin Tomczyk Audi 1m35.285s
Marcel Fassler Mercedes 1m35.474
Laurent Aiello Audi 1m35.502s
Jean Alesi Mercedes 1m35.627s
Karl Wendlinger Audi 1m35.797s
Manuel Reuter Opel 1m35.994s
Mattias Ekstrom Audi 1m36.196s
Peter Dumbreck Opel 1m36.243s
Christian Abt Audi 1m39.970s

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