Saturday practice: Aiello stretches advantage

Abt Audi team-leader Laurent Aiello headed the time sheets in the final hour of free practice before Saturday's single qualifying session for round three of the DTM at Oschersleben. But junior driver Martin Tomczyk proved his Nurburgring form was no flash in the pan by settingthe second quickest time for the privateer squad

Saturday practice: Aiello stretches advantage

Aiello, who gave Audi its maiden DTM victory at the 'Ring a fortnight ago, was a full 0.874s ahead of Tomczyk and 1.273s faster than the leading Mercedes driver, Marcel Fassler, in sunny, but cold and blustery conditions. The Frenchman's 1m23.015s lap was nearly two seconds inside the pole time of 1m24.995s set by Bernd Schneider last season.

Schneider was fifth, pipped by Mattias Ekstrom in the third of the Abt Audis, but just edging his D2 AMG team mate Peter Dumbreck.

Christian Abt made it all four Audis in the top seven, with Uwe Alzen putting all four of the factory AMG Mercs in the top eight.

Ninth for Timo Scheider spelled good news for Opel, with his Holzer team mates Jo Winkelhock and Michael Bartels backing that up in 10th and 11th. The Astra V8 Coupes still looked unhappy at the prospect of turning corners, but it was an improvement in position over Friday's free practice. But just to pour a little reality over the flames of hope, Scheider's time was still a full 1.782s behind Aiello's benchmark.

Darren Turner's running was cut short when he suffered fuel injection problems on his Merc V8. Nevertheless, the Englishman was still quicker than his new team mate David Saelens and a brake and handling-hampered Alain Menu in his Euroteam Opel.

Only 21 cars practised after a bizarre wall-vaulting accident left Merc driver Bernd Maylander in hospital with a snapped Achilles' tendon (see separate story). V8-Star refugee Marcel Tiemann is set to take over Maylander's 2001-spec CLK.

A single 45-minute qualifying session starting at 12:05 BST (13:05 local) will decide the grid for tomorrow's (Sunday's) sprint race.




Laurent Aiello, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R, 1m23.015s
Martin Tomczyk, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R, 1m23.889s
Marcel Fassler, 2001 Warsteiner Mercedes CLK, 1m24.288s
Mattias Ekstrom, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R, 1m24.317s
Bernd Schneider, 2001 D2 Mercedes CLK, 1m24.419ss
Peter Dumbreck, 2001 D2 Mercedes CLK, 1m24.559s
Christian Abt, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R 1m24.601s
Uwe Alzen, , 2001 Warsteiner Mercedes CLK, 1m24.691s
Timo Scheider, 2001 Holzer Opel Astra Coupe, 1m24.797s
Joachim Winkelhock, 2001 Holzer Opel Astra Coupe, 1m24.950s
Michael Bartels, 2001 Holzer Opel Astra Coupe, 1m25.051s
Patrick Huisman, 2001 Eschmann-Manthey Mercedes CLK, 1m25.057s
Christijan Albers, 2000 Persson Mercedes CLK, 1m25.094s
Tomas Jager, 2000 Persson Mercedes CLK, 1m25.097s
Manuel Reuter, 2001 Phoenix Opel Astra Coupe, 1m25.599s
Yves Olivier, 2000 Phoenix Opel Astra Coupe, 1m25.606s
Darren Turner, 2000 Rosberg Mercedes CLK, 1m25.635s
David Saelens, 2000 Rosberg Mercedes CLK, 1m25.173s
Hubert Haupt, 2000 Euroteam Opel Astra Coupe, 1m26.572s
Alain Menu, 2001 Euroteam Opel Astra Coupe, 1m26.776s
Peter Mamerow, 2000 Mamerow Opel Astra Coupe, 1m27.425s


Bernd Maylander, 2001 Eschmann-Manthey Mercedes CLK

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Friday practice: Bernd and Laurent set the pace
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