Three brands – one level
In the second DTM test session held at Zandvoort, Netherlands, the field turned out to be extremely competitive. At the end of the 90-minute session, 18 drivers had set lap times within one second, with the ten fastest drivers being split by just three tenths of a second. The closest result ever witnessed in a Friday test session, with the three DTM manufacturers proving to deliver on the same level. Tom Kristensen in his Audi A4 DTM was the quickest on Friday afternoon, with Gary Paffett (AMG-Mercedes C-Class) and Marcel Fässler (Opel Vectra GTS V8) finishing second and third respectively.
While Tom Kristensen set the fastest lap time of the session (1:34.539 minutes), he wasn’t the quickest of the day. In the morning session, Mattias Ekström had been 0.075 seconds faster than his Danish brand-mate. “Quite obviously, I’m happy to have set the fastest time of the session,” said Kristensen, who had been the fastest of the day in last year’s Friday sessions, “But there’s still some work waiting for us. We have tested quite a lot of things, today. More than usual, as the Zandvoort circuit represents a very special challenge.”
LGary Paffett finished second. The Briton, currently second in the championship, just one point behind the leader, Mattias Ekström, lapped the 4.307-kilometre dune circuit in 1:34.673 minutes. “The second test went really well,” said Paffett. “We completed some long runs early in the session, and in the closing stages we simulated a qualifying lap. Unfortunately, I made two minor mistakes on my fastest lap, but second place is a promising result. Now I’m confident for the weekend.”
RMarcel Fässler experienced a great start into the Zandvoort weekend and finished third, behind the wheel of his Opel Vectra GTS V8. In the second session, the Swiss driver succeeded in improving his personal fastest lap time by a tenth of a second.
Mattias Ekström, who won last year’s Zandvoort round on the way to securing the DTM Drivers Championship came fourth, in the second test session. Mika Häkkinen displayed a clearly improved form, in the afternoon session, by finishing fifth and improving his morning lap time by nearly 2.5 seconds.
The top ten were completed by Christian Abt in sixth place, the fastest driver of a 2004 spec car, Mercedes-Benz drivers Bernd Schneider and Jamie Green (eighth and ninth) and Frank Stippler, who took his 2004 spec car to tenth place. At the end of the session, tenth placed Frank Stippler was just 0.329 seconds slower than Kristensen.