Three brands among the top four
Following the result of the free practice session at the ‘Auto Motodrom Brno’, the DTM enthusiasts may look forward to a thrilling qualifying session and a likewise Super Pole, on Saturday afternoon. It has to be admitted that Gary Paffett’s (AMG-Mercedes C-Class) fastest lap time was nearly half a second better than the one of second placed Mattias Ekström, but the drivers behind the Briton were involved in a close battle, with the lap times of the top ten lying within one second. In the closing minutes of the session, the chase for the fastest time accelerated with several drivers stealing each other the lead again and again, but at the end of the day, Paffett, who covered a total of only twelve laps, gained the top position on the time sheets by lapping the 5.403-kilometre circuit in 1:53.499 minutes.
At the end of the 60-minute session, Mattias Ekström finished second. Behind the wheel of his Audi A4 DTM, the reigning champion was 0.057 seconds faster than his brand-mate, Martin Tomczyk, while Heinz-Harald Frentzen secured fourth place, with his Opel Vectra GTS V8.
The Opel ace was followed by an Audi trio: Allan McNish, the quickest in yesterday’s first test session, Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen finished fifth, sixth and seventh respectively, with sixth placed ‘Dindo’ being the fastest driver of a 2004 spec car. Mika Häkkinen came eighth, Jamie Green took ninth place and Manuel Reuter in tenth position was only 0.837 seconds slower than Paffett.
The situation behind the top ten was just as close: Jean Alesi came eleventh, with his lap time of 1:54.515 minutes being 1.016 slower than Paffett’s fastest time. Bruno Spengler in his 2004 spec car was two tenths of a second slower than Alesi to finish twelfth, and Alexandros Margaritis, who had to settle for the last position, was exactly two seconds slower than the quickest.