Saturday practice: Aiello edges it

The hills are alive to the sound of DTM cars, with Saturday morning's final free practice session at Austria's A1-Ring providing a further boost for Laurent Aiello's late-season title charge. The reigning champ's Abt-Audi TT-R edged points leader Bernd Schneider's AMG Mercedes CLK by just two thousandths of a second on a crisp, clear Styrian morning

Saturday practice: Aiello edges it

Jean Alesi and Christijan Albers (who trails Schneider by just one point in the overall standings) made it three works Mercs in the top four, with Marcel Fassler completing the 2003 CLK quartet in sixth - one place behind Peter Dumbreck's leading Opel.

The lower reaches of the top 10 were shared between Opel and Audi. But based on the form so far, Saturday afternoon's qualifying looks like being a duel between Aiello and Schneider.

For Opel Euroteam driver Jeroen Bleekemolen, it was a case of having to laugh or he'd cry. The Dutch DTM rookie went off at Castrol-Kurve late in the session, but a scuffed bumper became much more when marshals attempted to tow away his car and ripped the front bodywork off. D'oh!

Gary Paffett leads the 2002-spec Mercedes runners in a solid 13th overall and will be hoping to put himself in a position to repeat his point-scoring feat at the Nurburgring last time out.


Laurent Aiello (F) Abt-Audi TT-R, 1m26.975s
Bernd Schneider (D) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK, 1m26.977s
Jean Alesi (F) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK, 1m27.105s
Christijan Albers (NL) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK, 1m27.222s
Peter Dumbreck (GB) Phoenix Opel Astra V8 Coupé, 1m27.354s
Marcel Fässler (CH) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK, 1m27.362s
Martin Tomczyk (D) Abt-Audi TT-R, 1m27.441s
Timo Scheider (D) Phoenix Opel Astra V8 Coupe, 1m27.585s
Mattias Ekstrom (S) Abt-Audi TT-R, 1m27.673s
Alain Menu (CH) Holzer Opel Astra V8 Coupé, 1m27.693s

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Nurburgring: Aiello ends Audi's drought

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