Oschersleben: analysis, part 1
What a DTM weekend, at Oschersleben! During the course of the past weekend, a crowd of 88,000 travelled to the MOTOPARK to witness a thrilling and multi-faceted fifth round of 2005 DTM season. On Saturday, a massive thunderstorm caused a diversified qualifying session, with the lap times being improved second by second. And during the race on Sunday, the hot conditions (more than 30° C) heated up both the crowds on the grandstands and the drivers. Gary Paffett, however, kept his cool, clinched his second win of the season and succeeded in closing the gap to championship leader Mattias Ekström to just one point. Nevertheless, the Swede defended his lead by finishing second, while rookie Jamie Green took third place, thus securing his maiden DTM podium finish. www.dtm.de has taken a close look at the performances of teams and drivers.
Gary Paffett: once again, the Briton proved that he deserves his nickname ‘Gary Perfect’. Together with his team, he successfully mastered the tyre gamble in the qualifying session and missed a first row grid position by only 0.015 seconds. In the race, he passed Tomczyk on the track, and during the first set of pit stops, he also overtook his team-mate, Jamie Green. Afterwards, ‘Gary Perfect’ defended his lead until he took the chequered flag, thus reducing the lead of the championship leader to just one point.
Mattias Ekström: in the qualifying session, Ekström was hampered by minor problems with his power steering and had to settle for fifth grid position. But in lap five, the reigning champion started his chase. At first, he moved up to fourth position, and in lap 24 he passed Tomczyk for third place. Afterwards, the Swede massively pressurised DTM rookie Green, and when the Briton made a mistake, in lap 31, Ekström made use of this chance of moving up to second place. In the closing stages, Ekström succeeded in closing the gap to Paffett, yet, that wasn’t enough to clinch the victory. A masterly chase!
Jamie Green: On Saturday, the DTM rookie proved to be the second fastest Mercedes-Benz driver by qualifying for fourth position on the starting grid. On Sunday, he made a fantastic start from his fourth position to take the lead right away. Only in lap eleven – during the first set of pit stops – the young gun lost his lead to his more experienced brand-mate, Gary Paffett. Green succeeded in fending of the pressurising Swede, Ekström, for quite a while, but at the end of the day he made a mistake, thus losing his runner-up position. In his only fifth DTM race, Green took his maiden DTM podium by finishing third – a great performance.
Bernd Schneider: The DTM Record Champion performed a great chase, thus proving that he’s still got what it needs to deliver in fine style. In the qualifying gamble, Schneider had to settle for tenths position, but in the race, the 1994, 2000, 2001 and 2003 DTM Champion delivered motor racing at its best and worked his way up. In his tough but always fair battle with Tom Kristensen, the German got the upper hand and crossed the line in fourth position. Following three retirements, Schneider finally made it back to the points. Bernd is back!
RTom Kristensen: His seventh Le Mans win, secured the other week, obviously represented a boost for the smart Dane. In the qualifying session, Kristensen outqualified the entire field by more than seven tenths of a second, thus securing his maiden DTM pole position. Last year, he clinched his maiden DTM win, at Oschersleben, but in this year’s round at the Motopark, he lost his chances of repeating this feat right at the start. Kristensen stalled the engine and dropped back to 19th place. Yet, the chase he delivered afterwards made clear that he had had the potential to win the race. The battle with Schneider was well worth seeing and totally fair.
Allan McNish: The waiting in the qualifying session paid off. McNish started his qualifying performance on slicks and secured eighth grid position. Although overtaking is extremely difficult, at the Oschersleben circuit, the Scotsman succeeded in gaining two positions. A solid race without any incidents and more points scored.
LLaurent Aiello: Unintentionally, the French driver missed the first DTM test session of the weekend, held on Friday morning. His flight from Paris to France was delayed by several hours, therefore, the Opel ace arrived in Berlin only on Friday morning, at about 09:00hrs. Although having missed this 90-minute session, a good strategy helped him to qualify for sixth position: the best grid position of all the Opel drivers. Following a good start, Aiello held fourth place, but his opened passenger door and a moderate first pit stop cost him the chance of taking a better result.
Marcel Fässler: In the qualifying rain gamble, the Swiss driver had to settle for twelfth position. In the opening stages of the race, things went better and Fässler gained for positions right at the start. He made his first pit stop as early as in lap six, and only 14 laps later, he pitted for the second time. Therefore, Fässler had to complete the last 24 laps of the race on one set of tyres – what turned out to be too much. Nevertheless, he gained four positions to secure a point. Keep it up!
Frank Stippler: Ninth in the qualifying session and hoped to secure a similar result in the race. ‘Stippi’ just failed to score points, but once again he proved to be the best driver of a 2004 spec car. A remarkable result as the German had a problem with his right arm. Prior to the race, he even feared that wouldn’t make it to the line.
Rinaldo Capello: The Italian gets on better and better with DTM, yet, ‘Dindo’ once again had to leave a DTM venue empty-handed. With five DTM rounds completed, he is the only Audi driver without any points on his tally. Never before, the Italian had contested a race at the Motopark Oschersleben. In difficult conditions, he qualified for eleventh grid position, and when he took the chequered flag, he had gained two places. But it has to be admitted that Capello had a quite lot of bad luck. During the start, he had to brake because of the problems of his brand-mate, Tom Kristensen, thus losing many positions, and later on he experienced a problem during a pit stop. Just too many handicaps: otherwise, his first DTM points could have been possible.