It was a hot affair for Bernd Schneider: in outside temperatures ranging as high as 34 degrees, the Mercedes-driver kept his mind clear at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz and won the fourth round of the DTM in a dominant way.
At the finish after 35 race laps, Schneider had a margin of 6.813 seconds over Opel-driver Peter Dumbreck.
The two leading drivers had an advantage of more than 20 seconds over Mattias Ekström [Abt-Audi TT-R] and Timo Scheider [Opel Astra V8 Coupé].
For the first time this season, one driver of each of the three makes involved in the DTM made it onto the podium. With his second season victory, Schneider also claimed back the points lead from his team-mate Christijan Albers, who only finished seventh.
For Schneider, there was another reason to celebrate: the driver, born in the Saarland region, established a new record number of wins after his 37th victory in the DTM and ITC. A total of 62,000 spectators came to watch the DTM at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz.
A record victory and the championship lead: Schneider was well rewarded for the hot battle in the cockpit of his AMG-Mercedes CLK. Three times' DTM champion Schneider revealed the real reason for his dominant performance after getting out of his burning hot car: ''I had a blister on my foot, so I had to drive really fast to get to the doctor!'', he joked. ''My car was perfect, thanks to the team. Winning makes one feel really good. It is great for the DTM that we see new names like my team-mate Christijan Albers winning races as well, but they don't have to become champion right away.''
Former F1 driver Jean Alesi was second-best Mercedes-driver in fifth place.
Motorsport director Norbert Haug was happy with the strong performance of his drivers: ''At the DTM, we always have a great crowd, but here at the Lausitzring, it was very special. The atmosphere at the grand stands was great, in spite of the heat, and the crowd cheered for all the three drivers alike during the prize-giving ceremony.''
Dumbreck and his Opel Astra V8 Coupé were greeted by a wave of flags at the finish - a great cheer from all members of the Opel-team for the Scot's second place. For the first time in the 2003 season, the make from Rüsselsheim scored a podium finish. Therefore, the upbeat feeling at the Opel team didn't come as a surprise. Even more so as Dumbreck had been the only driver in the field who had been able to keep up with Schneider: ''My Astra was perfect, and basically faster than I thought. I pushed all the time and tried to stay close behind Bernd. I have broken my duck.''
Motorsport director Volker Strycek shared that opinion: ''The team was motivated by the victory in the 24-hour race one week ago. Here, we also achieved our performance all on our own, in a convincing and a great way.''
Strycek was also happy with two more Opel-driver in points' scoring positions. Timo Scheider finished fourth and Alain Menu came sixth.