Audi continues to set the pace
In the second test session for the MOTOPARK Oschersleben DTM round, the Audi drivers continued to set the pace, with reigning DTM Champion Mattias Ekström (1:20.858 minutes) setting the fastest time, thus improving the time his brand-mate Martin Tomczyk had set in the morning session (1:21.722 minutes) by nearly a second. And although the latter also improved by some three tenths of a second he had to settle for ninth position; while Tom Kristensen was just one tenth slower than Ekström and finished second.
“It’s quite helpful to have gained some rally experience when it comes to racing at Oschersleben,” said Ekström with a grin, “As there is so much gravel and dirt on the track. But in the closing stages of both sessions I focused on being a racing driver, not a rally driver, and worked on the set-up for the qualifying and the race. I think we are well armed for the remainder of the weekend.”
Behind the Audi pairing, Mika Häkkinen took his AMG-Mercedes C-Class to third place, with his brand mates Gary Paffett, Jamie Green, Bernd Schneider, Bruno Spengler and Jean Alesi securing positions four to eight. Paffett, currently second in the championship, just three points behind Ekström, completed 40 laps, thus covering 146.68 kilometres, nearly the full race distance. On Sunday, the drivers will lap the circuit 42 times.
The man who completed the smallest number of laps was Opel’s Laurent Aiello: just 18. “It’s a shame that I had nearly no opportunity of testing,” said the Frenchman at the end of session two. Aiello had been forced to miss session one as a thunderstorm had prevented his plane from taking off at Paris, yesterday night. Nevertheless, he was in a confident mood. “In the afternoon, the car handled quite alright, right from the start,” Aiello revealed, “And we focused on working on the springs and shock absorbers.” Aiello finished the afternoon session as 13th and fastest of the Opel drivers.
Altogether, the test session weren’t hampered by any major incidents. Only once they had to be red-flagged: 25 minutes into the afternoon session, a piece of debris blocked the racing line in the ‘Hasseröder Kurve’ and couldn’t be cleared while the test action was running. But directly after the debris was removed, the session was restarted.