DTM » 26 August 2001
Aiello takes victory for Abt-Audi - Nurburgring.
Uwe Alzen drove the Warsteiner AMG Mercedes to a second-place finish in the 2001 DTM's seventh round on the Nurburgring's short track.
After 33 laps in high ambient temperatures Alzen crossed the finish line 2.870sec behind winner Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R). Patrick Huisman in the Eschmann-Stahl AMG Mercedes came home third. A crowd of 69,000 attended the event and experienced a touring car racing festival.
Uwe Alzen started the qualifying race fourth on the grid and finished second behind Aiello. Bernd Schneider who had qualified third saw the chequered flag in fourth position behind Christian Abt (Abt-Audi TT-R).
At the start of the main event, Alzen took the lead after the first corner followed by Aiello and Schneider. On lap five, Schneider passed the Frenchman to improve to second and attacked Alzen.
Schneider came into the pits for his compulsory tyre change on lap eleven. Due to broken fixing screws on the brake disc mounting he was stationary for more than 30sec and dropped to 17th position. Alzen pitted one lap later (8.1sec) followed by Aiello on lap 13 (6.4sec). On lap 19, all drivers had finished their pit stops and Alzen had regained the lead. Aiello was second ahead of Eschmann-Stahl AMG Mercedes drivers Bernd Maylander and Patrick Huisman.
On lap 25, Aiello attacked Alzen in the Veedol-S and passed him just before the lap's last corner. Eight laps later they crossed the finish line in the same order. ''I'm really happy about my second place and I made a big step forward in the overall points standings,'' Alzen said. ''This was one of my toughest races and the fight with Laurent was really demanding, especially, because I had a problem with the brake balance. We touched several times but we had a fair race.''
Bernd Schneider charged through the field and improved to sixth at the finish achieving the race's fastest lap with a 1m 05.947 (lap 14). ''Despite my sixth place I'm still quite satisfied, because I extended my championship lead,'' Schneider said. His team mate Peter Dumbreck, second in the championship, retired in the qualifying race due to an engine failure and was not able to take part in the main event.
Patrick Huisman started the main race from tenth position and was fourth after the round of pit stops, his Eschmann-Stahl AMG Mercedes team-mate Bernd Maylander, fifth in the qualifying race, was third. On lap 20, Huisman passed his team mate and was third, closing the gap behind the leaders from ten to 3.8sec at the finish line. ''It's an optimum result for me. With an almost perfect race set-up I charged through the field to a third-place finish,'' the Dutchman said.
Maylander dropped to seventh at the finish. ''From lap five onwards I suffered from oversteer due to a broken wishbone,'' the German explained. ''In the end, the car was almost impossible to drive, therefore I have to be satisfied with my result.''
Original-Teile AMG Mercedes driver Thomas Jager in last year's car damaged the front in an incident in the qualifying race and had to pit for repairs. He started the main event from the back of the grid and finished fourth. ''My team did a great job. With the fixed car I fought my way up through the field and was rewarded with fourth position,'' Jager said. His team-mate Christijan Albers finished ninth after a collision with Opel driver Manuel Reuter.
Darren Turner drove the Service 24h AMG Mercedes to an eighth-place finish, his team mate David Saelens came home tenth. Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director Norbert Haug commented: ''A festival of touring car racing, almost sold out grand stands and a record crowd for DTM races at the Nurburgring. Laurent Aiello and the Abt Audi team were as strong as in May when they won here for the first time and they deserve this victory. The concept with low prices and an attractive programme for the fans pays off.''
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