Spengler cool and impressive
During the warm-up, held in the excessive Norisring midday heat of about 30°C, Bruno Spengler kept his cool in the even hotter cockpit of his 2004 spec AMG-Mercedes C-Class and set the fastest lap time of the session. Cool and in superior style, the young Canadian lapped the 2.3-kilometre circuit in 48.665 seconds, faster than anybody else during the 30-minute warm-up session. Yesterday already, Spengler had caused a stir by securing third grid position, in the Super Pole, and this afternoon he even succeeded in defeating pole-sitter Tom Kristensen. In his Audi A4 DTM, the Dane was 0.114 seconds slower than Spengler, with Opel’s Laurent Aiello taking his Vectra GTS V8 to third place.
Manuel Reuter, the Frenchman’s German brand-mate, who lives in Austria and will be sixth on the grid for today’s race, finished fourth. While Mercedes-Benz driver Gary Paffett took fifth place, thus beating the reigning DTM Champion and current championship leader – Audi’s Mattias Ekström – by the narrowest possible margin of one thousandth of a second. Häkkinen and Mücke (both Mercedes-Benz) and Opel’s Frentzen and Fässler completed the top ten.
Both the crowds on the grandstands and the TV audience may look forward to a hot and thrilling battle for the win and the points. On the one side, the drivers will have to cope with extreme conditions (air about 30°C, track more than 40°C), on the other, the 72-lap race (covered live by the ARD from 17:40hrs CET) will be extremely exhausting and the racing will be closer than ever, this year. Just as it was the case in the qualifying, the entire field was once again split by just eight tenths of a second, in the warm-up.
Due to an accident in the pit-lane, the warm-up had to be red flagged just six minutes into the session. A Mücke-Motorsport mechanic was injured during a pit-stop, but after an 11-minute break, the last test session for the sixth round of the season, held later this afternoon, was continued.