Schneider takes pole at Nurburgring

Bernd Schneider broke Opel's domination when it mattered with a dominant pole position for round nine of the DTM championship at the Nurburgring, pushing the Russelsheim marque's pace-setter, Uwe Alzen, down to second place

Schneider takes pole at Nurburgring

The Opels looked to be comfortable at the top with Alzen and Michael Bartels trading fastest laps for the first half of the session. But Mercedes stalwart Schneider set the pole time 20 minutes before the end, with a 1m39.008s lap that remained out of reach to the flying Alzen and the last gasp attempts of Peter Dumbreck and Manuel Reuter.

"I don't know where Schneider's speed came from," said Alzen, "but I'm happy to be second. Now we must work on the race set up in the warm up tomorrow."

Dumbreck bullied his AMG Mercedes round the full Nurburgring Grand Prix circuit to within 0.640s of Schneider's pole time, and crossed the line 30 seconds after the chequered flag had been waved.

"I had three laps in my last run before my tyres went off," said Dumbreck. "Two were baulked and the third was my quick lap, so I probably could have gone quicker."

The dying moments provided the most frantic period of track action with Opel's Christian Menzel leapfrogging almost the entire grid from 15th place to third with only one minute remaining. He was then shunted down the order, first by Ludwig and then by Dumbreck, finishing the session in fifth.

Of the top 10 places, Opel beat Mercedes by six cars to four, but a betting man would be sensible to go each way. Alzen has showed pace all year but has yet to win a race. Schneider, alongside him, has the championship to think of.

"I expect the first corner to be quite interesting, but I'm not too concerned," said Schneider. "Uwe has nothing to lose but he needs a good result, so we'll see."

Dumbreck will find himself in an ideal opportunity to pick up the pieces should anything happen to the front row men, but the Scot lines up on the dirty side of the track and Schneider's searing pace in qualifying will make him hard to beat."

"If Bernd (Schneider) keeps up that pace in the race tomorrow," said Dumbreck, "then it'll be bye bye."

Darren Turner finished the sesiion 14th overall, just 0.035s ahead of his Rosberg team mate Pedro Lamy, whose 'fastest' time was thrown out when the Portuguese straight-lined the Veedol chicane.

James Thompson, always at a disadvantage after missing the two-day official test, rounded out the field, 20th and last, in his Abt-run Audi TT-R.


Bernd Schneider Mercedes-Benz CLK 1m39.008s
Uwe Alzen Opel V8 Coupe 1m39.352s
Peter Dumbreck Mercedes-Benz CLK 1m39.648s
Manuel Reuter Opel V8 Coupe 1m39.749s
Christian Menzel Opel V8 Coupe 1m39.759s
Klaus Ludwig Mercedes-Benz CLK 1m39.767s
Michael Bartels Opel V8 Coupe 1m39.794s
Eric Helary Opel V8 Coupe 1m39.823s
Stefano Modena Opel V8 Coupe 1m39.833s
Marcel Tiemann Mercedes-Benz CLK 1m39.872s

Selected other times
Darren Turner Mercedes-Benz CLK 1m40.168s
James Thompson Audi TT-R 1m44.709s

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