Scandinavians dominate free practice session
DTM’s free practice session was a hot one from several points of view: already in the morning, the temperatures at the MOTOPARK Oschersleben clearly exceeded 30°C, thus also bringing the DTM drivers in a ‘hot’ mood. Yet, in the battle for the first fastest lap time of the day, the drivers from Europe’s cold north succeeded in keeping their cool. Behind the wheel of his Audi A4 DTM, Sweden’s Mattias Ekström turned out to be the master of coolness by setting the fastest lap time of the session: 1:20.712 minutes. His Danish team-mate, Tom Kristensen, finished second, just seven thousandth of a second slower than Ekström. While Mika Häkkinen, the ‘Flying Finn’, took his AMG-Mercedes C-Class to third position. Laurent Aiello, the fastest of the Opel drivers, secured 11th place.
Frank Stippler turned out to be nearly too hot, in the morning session. The Cologne based driver took his Audi A4 DTM to its very limit and had to experience three off-track moments. Just as Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Stefan Mücke. The Opel works driver went off into the gravel when entering the back straight and had to be salvaged, while independent driver Stefan Mücke became a victim of the lateral forces in the Hotelkurve, some 20 minutes into the session. Yet, both drivers could continue the practice session. Frentzen finished 17th, 1.222 seconds behind Ekström, while Mücke had to settle for the last position in the field.