Opel's DTM squad has concluded its 2003 programme with a test session at Vallelunga in Italy, with new signings Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Marcel Fassler getting their first taste of the Astra V8 Coupe which has contested the series in recent seasons.

Frentzen switches to the DTM for the first time next season, having given up the unequal struggle to find a competitive seat in Formula One. Despite the perceived step backwards in terms of prestige, however, the experienced German admitted that he had enjoyed his first outing in the Opel.

"The DTM car is more fun to drive than I had expected," H-HF reported after his first run, "It almost drives like a sportscar, and the powerful engine provides plenty of torque."

F?ssler was equally positive about his first experience with the Astra V8 Coup?, having moved over from reigning champions Mercedes-Benz at the end of the regular season.

"I felt at ease right away," the Swiss talent said, "The engine is really good."

At the same test, Opel test driver Marcel Tiemann carried out tyre tests with the latest generation rubber from series supplier Dunlop, while two young drivers got an opportunity to drive the Astra.

German Andr? Lotterer and Frenchman Romain Dumas both showed consistent performance with the Opel, impressing the marque's motorsport manager Volker Strycek.

"We are very happy with the results of this test," he said, "It has shown that Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Marcel F?ssler are two strong new drivers within our team for the upcoming season, while Andr? Lotterer and Romain Dumas both made a strong impression and did a good job."