Testing: Bernd sets early pace

Bernd Schneider struck an early blow for his DTM title hopes in the Hockenheim finale by setting the pace in Friday's test sessions

Testing: Bernd sets early pace

The AMG Mercedes ace, who leads team-mate Christijan Albers by one point, lapped in 1m36.419s, fractionally quicker than another Merc star, Jean Alesi. "We have just concentrated on getting the set-up of my CLK right and finding the optimal compromise for the Grand Prix circuit," reported Schneider.

Alain Menu led the Opel charge in third, ahead of the third Merc of Marcel Fassler. Menu's OPC Team Holzer colleague Manuel Reuter was fifth fastest and said: "It is incredibly important to be going the right way on Friday, and I completed my programme without any trouble."

Four-time race winner Albers could only manage the sixth fastest time today, and was the slowest of the 2003-spec AMG Mercedes machines. He was followed in the timesheets by the third Opel of Timo Scheider.

The best that the Abt Sportsline Audi team could muster was Mattias Ekstrom in eighth, ahead of team-mate Christian Abt. "We have tested a few things for tomorrow, we still have a few minor set-up changes up our sleeves," said Ekstrom. "Then it's flat-out to pole position tomorrow - if Schneider does not prevent this."

Scotland's Peter Dumbreck was 10th fastest, but complained of a lack of grip from his Opel in the stadium section. "I was the daddy going through the first corner," he said. "I was two-tenths up on everyone - I was using all of the road and, sometimes, just a little bit more!"

Gary Paffett was 15th quickest in his year-old Mercedes.


Bernd Schneider (D) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK 1m36.419s
Jean Alesi (F) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK 1m36.432s
Alain Menu (CH) Holzer Opel Astra V8 Coupé, 1m36.548s
Marcel Fassler (CH) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK 1m36.611s
Manuel Reuter (D) Holzer Opel Astra V8 Coupé, 1m36.618s
Christijan Albers (NL) AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK, 1m36.688s
Timo Scheider (D) Phoenix Opel Astra V8 Coupe 1m36.853s
Mattias Ekstrom (S) Abt-Audi TT-R, 1m36.900s
Christian Abt (D) Audi Junior Team Abt Audi TT-R 1m36.923s
Peter Dumbreck (GB) Phoenix Opel Astra V8 Coupé, 1m36.954s

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Title finale: It's Schneider vs Albers
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