Saturday practice: Schneider pips Jo

DTM championship leader Bernd Schneider set the pace once more in this morning's hour-long free practice session at the Norisring, but Opel's Joachim Winkelhock was closer than ever to the lead Mercedes driver, ending the session just 0.028secs behind

Saturday practice: Schneider pips Jo

The session was run in hot and sunny conditions, with the temperature topping 29-degrees and expected to soar well into the mid-thirties this afternoon unless the predicted, but thus far nonexistent, rain showers (and tornados!) arrive.

Underlining Opel's recovering fortunes, Timo Scheider topped the session for the first 10 minutes until the Abt Sportsline Audi TT-Rs got into their stride. Both Christian Abt and Laurent Aiello took turns at the top before Schneider spoiled the party and lapped the 1.5-mile Nuremburg street circuit in 50.066s.

The top 19 cars were covered by less than a second. Just to emphasise how hard he was trying, Winkelhock spun twice at the Grundig hairpin, but set his 50.138s lap between rotations. Abt ended the session just 0.022secs behind the Opel, as the DTM's manufacturers shared the top three places.

Almost keeping the symmetry behind were Marcel Tiemann (Mercedes), Aiello (Audi) and Scheider (Opel) in fourth, fifth and sixth. Manuel Reuter, often viewed as Opel's lead driver, had one of his best sessions of the year to be seventh quickest, showing that Opel can offer a challenge in depth.

Despite having his own helmet today, Opel's reigning BTCC champion Alain Menu continues to struggle in 19th place, 0.9secs off the pace.

One man in serious trouble, however, was Mattias Ekstrom, who broke his right rear suspension by hitting the wall on exit of chicane. Both Ekstrom and Abt Junior team mate Martin Tomczyk languished 14th and 15th places respectively, and the Swede's car will undergo a serious repair job in the cramped confines of the Norisring pits.

Also surprisingly off the pace was Schneider's D2 AMG team mate Peter Dumbreck, who slumped to 11th today, while fellow Brit Darren Turner was 18th after running 14th yesterday.

Now that the preliminaries are over, the serious business of qualifying begins at 13.05 local time (12.05 BST).




Bernd Schneider, 2001 D2 Mercedes CLK, 50.066s
Joachim Winkelhock, 2001 Holzer Opel Astra Coupe, 50.138s
Christian Abt, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R 50.160s
Marcel Tiemann, 2001 Eschmann-Manthey Mercedes CLK, 50.335s
Laurent Aiello, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R, 50.360s
Timo Scheider, 2001 Holzer Opel Astra Coupe, 50.410s
Manuel Reuter, 2001 Phoenix Opel Astra Coupe, 50.475s
Marcel Fassler, 2001 Warsteiner Mercedes CLK, 50.477s
Patrick Huisman, 2001 Eschmann-Manthey Mercedes CLK, 50.527s
Christijan Albers, 2000 Persson Mercedes CLK, 50.595s
Peter Dumbreck, 2001 D2 Mercedes CLK, 50.602s
Tomas Jager, 2000 Persson Mercedes CLK, 50.623s
Michael Bartels, 2001 Holzer Opel Astra Coupe, 50.635s
Mattias Ekstrom, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R, 50.732s
Martin Tomczyk, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R, 50.748s
Uwe Alzen, , 2001 Warsteiner Mercedes CLK, 50.753s
Yves Olivier, 2000 Phoenix Opel Astra Coupe, 50.822s
Darren Turner, 2000 Rosberg Mercedes CLK, 50.864s
Alain Menu, 2001 Euroteam Opel Astra Coupe, 50.993s
David Saelens, 2000 Rosberg Mercedes CLK, 51.217s
Hubert Haupt, 2000 Euroteam Opel Astra Coupe, 51.283s
Peter Mamerow, 2000 Mamerow Opel Astra Coupe, 51.729s

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Friday practice: Smokin' Jo tails Merc

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