Test 3: Ekstrom shoots to the top

Following its disappointing start to the season, the Abt Sportsline Audi team enjoyed a massive boost ahead of qualifying at Donington Park for the DTM's sixth round today (Saturday)

Test 3: Ekstrom shoots to the top

Mattias Ekstrom set the fastest lap of 1m28.728s during the first dry practice session of the weekend so far. The Swede's best effort was a whopping 0.739s clear of second fastest driver, Marcel Fassler of Mercedes. Yesterday's pacesetter in the wet, Jean Alesi, was third fastest in his AMG Mercedes, ahead of the second Audi, that of Audi Junior Martin Tomczyk, despite the latter's grassy off at the Old Hairpin midway through the session.

After a difficult day on Friday, Alain Menu bounced back to set the fifth fastest time, which made him the top Opel driver. Series leader Christijan Albers was sixth, ahead of the surprise of the session, Opel's Joachim Winkelhock. The former BTCC champion has suffered a lean time of late, perhaps this is the start of his career renaissance?

Reigning champion Laurent Aiello was only eighth fastest, but happy that an Audi was quickest overall. He was followed by team-mate Christian Abt and local hero Peter Dumbreck (Opel). The other Briton in the field, Merc's Gary Paffett, was only 18th fastest.

Another driver who looked to be struggling was Bernd Schneider. The three-time DTM champion was only 12th fastest this morning, and looked a little ragged. Qualifying starts at 12:00 local time (BST), so stay tuned to autosport.com for all the latest news.


Mattias Ekstrom (S) Abt-Audi TT-R, 1m28.728s
Marcel Fässler (CH) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK, 1m29.467s
Jean Alesi (F) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK, 1m29.659s
Martin Tomczyk (D) Abt-Audi TT-R, 1m29.666s
Alain Menu (CH) Holzer Opel Astra V8 Coupé, 1m29.772s
Christijan Albers (NL) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK, 1m29.807s
Joachim Winkelhock (D) Euroteam Opel Astra Coupe, 1m29.985s
Laurent Aiello (F) Abt-Audi TT-R, 1m30.106s
Christian Abt (D) Abt-Audi TT-R, 1m30.125s
Peter Dumbreck (GB) Phoenix Opel Astra V8 Coupé, 1m30.135s

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Test 2: Alesi strikes back

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Qualifying: Schneider steals the show

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