DTM » 09 July 2001
Alzen takes his first win for Merc - Norisring.
Uwe Alzen, at the wheel of the Warsteiner AMG Mercedes, won the fifth round of the 2001 DTM at Nurnberg's Norisring, achieving his fourth DTM victory and his first for Mercedes-Benz.
After 44 laps and an exciting fight, D2 AMG Mercedes driver Bernd Schneider crossed the finish line 1.2sec behind Alzen, with Marcel Tiemann (Eschmann-Stahl AMG Mercedes) third ahead of Joachim Winkelhock's Opel Astra V8 Coupe, the veteran achieving Opel's best result this season so far.
In front of a combined weekend crowd of 102,000, Schneider had claimed his 16th DTM pole position in Saturday's qualifying and won the 15-lap qualifying race on Sunday ahead of Alzen and Tiemann. The reigning champion then accelerated into an immediate lead at the start of the main event, with the ever-present Alzen and Tiemann being joined in pursuit by Marcel Fassler in the second Warsteiner AMG Mercedes. The Swiss retired on lap 19, however, after contact with the retaining wall caused a broken wishbone.
Alzen, who trailed Schneider consistently with a gap of less than a second, pitted on lap 24 for the compulsory tyre change, and rejoined the race in fourth position after a 7.4secs stop. Schneider pitted one lap later, taking 7.4secs, and accelerated back to the track just ahead of Alzen who passed him in the Dutzendteich hairpin. The former Opel driver then maintained the lead until the chequered flag.
''When Bernd was exiting the pits just ahead of me, I took the opportunity to pass him whilst he was on brand new tyres,'' Alzen said, ''This victory was overdue, and I'm really happy after all the bad luck I had at the beginning of the season. The quick pit-stop was crucial for the outcome - and I thank my team for the great job.''
''When Uwe was on the inside line braking into the corner, I decided not to take chances with regard to the championship, although I would have liked to win here,'' Schneider commented, ''Congratulation to Uwe this time, but, in the next few races, I have to collect as many points as possible and keep the title win in mind.''
Tiemann, who had replaced the injured Bernd Maylander for the races, left the Eschmann-Stahl AMG Mercedes team with a podium finish.
''These three races were great fun,'' he said, ''I'm happy that I was able to thank the team with good results for their confidence they have put in me. All the best to Bernd for the next races.''
Tiemann's team-mate Patrick Huisman retired in the qualifying race with a damaged undertray but, in the main event, charged through the field from 22nd, and last, position on the grid to finish seventh.
''I'm quite satisfied with my performance, but I lacked a bit of luck today,'' he said.
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