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Catolica, 11 May, 2003

Audi drivers Mattias Ekström and Laurent Aiello were the two main stars during the breathtaking closing stages of DTM’s away match at the Adria International Raceway close to Venice in Italy. As a double-pack, the Swedish-French Abt-Audi duo caught and passed the Mercedes drivers Bernd Schneider and Marcel Fässler in the closing laps and snatched second and third places.

The race at a glance

Start - 28 degrees Celsius in the shade,
#14 Tomczyk and
#1 Aiello make good starts and climb to fifth and sixth places
#5 Ekström drops back to seventh
11th Abt
12th Wendlinger
14th Terting
Lap 7
#2 Abt makes first compulsory pit stop
Lap 9
#1 Aiello completes his first pit stop
Lap 11
#14 Tomczyk forces his way up to third place after a mistake from #19 Dumbreck
Lap 13
#5 Ekström and #6 Wendlinger pit simultaneously, problem for Wendlinger, who stalls his engine when driving away
Lap 14
black flag for #2 Abt, after failing to observe a ‘Drive Through’ penalty imposed on him for a false start
Lap 15
#14 Tomczyk leads
Lap 16
#14 Tomczyk loses time during his tyre change because of a seized wheel #15 Terting also pits
Lap 17
#2 Abt retires (black flag)
#1 Aiello is third
#5 Ekström sixth
Lap 21
#14 Tomczyk edges
#8 Menu out of eighth place
Lap 22
#1 Aiello now second following ‘Drive Through’ penalty for
#3 Schneider
#5 Ekström up to fourth position
Lap 27
Throttle sticking open for #14 Tomczyk, as a result brakes overheat
Lap 28
#6 Wendlinger in pits for second stop
Lap 29
#1 Aiello stalls engine during his second pit stop, falls behind #3 Schneider, #14 Tomczyk must retire (throttle cable/brakes)
Lap 32
#5 Ekström completes his second pit stop, rejoins the circuit directly behind #1 Aiello, #15 Terting also makes second pit stop
Lap 34
#1 Aiello and #5 Ekström catch up with #3 Schneider
Lap 38
#5 Ekström ousts #1 Aiello from fourth place
Lap 39
#5 Ekström attacks #3 Schneider
Lap 40
#5 Ekström and #3 Aiello simultaneously overtake #3 Schneider, and now lie in third and fourth places respectively
Lap 43
#5 Ekström catches up with #9 Fässler
Lap 45
second double blow: #5 Ekström and #1 Aiello overtake #9 Fässler
#5 Ekström and #1 Aiello end their fight back in second and third places

1 Christijan Albers

Mercedes 47 laps

2 Mattias Ekström

Abt-Audi TT-R + 8.511s

3 Laurent Aiello

Abt-Audi TT-R + 9.106s

4 Marcel Fässler

Mercedes + 10.611s

5 Bernd Schneider

Mercedes + 11,253s

6 Peter Dumbreck

Opel + 26.233s

7 Jean Alesi

Mercedes + 27.732s

8 Alain Menu

Opel + 50.188s
Mattias Ekström (left) and Laurent Aiello on the podium

Mattias Ekström Team PlayStation2 Red Bull Abt-Audi TT-R #5
“Apart from my bad start, it was a great race. I was a little too cautious as the lights changed. As a result, I dropped back to seventh place. I was really angry with myself. From then on it was only full throttle and maximum attack! I couldn’t have done more. The car handled superbly – and I overtook everybody apart from one person.”

Peter Terting S line Audi Junior Team Abt-Audi TT-R #15
“Amazing: I have finished my first DTM race – despite the incredible heat. We had between 60 and 65 degrees Celsius in the cockpit, and also the circuit was extremely strenuous to drive. I’m completely satisfied although I can hardly stand up. For a novice, who stepped up from the VW Lupo Cup, a 13th place is really okay, and at the next race I’ll improve again.”

Martin Tomczyk S line Audi Junior Team Abt-Audi TT-R #14
“My start was good, and up till the first pit stop everything ran superbly. During the pit stop a rear wheel stuck, and I lost two places as a result. Then the throttle started to stick more and more, and I had to break very hard, which was just too much for the brakes. The pedal went to the floor and I had to stop. My team works so hard and always gives me a fantastic car. So it is obviously very disappointing if something like this happens.”

Hans-Jürgen Abt Abt Team Director
“That was one of the best races that I have ever seen with genuine on-track teamwork. The way in which Mattias and Laurent outfoxed the two Mercedes’ was sensational. Congratulations to the entire team! We did however make a few mistakes, but were in general better than in Hockenheim. In the DTM one also has to deliver a race winning performance in the pit lane. Bearing that in mind, the result wasn’t too bad.”

Mattias Ekström in front of Laurent Aiello
Mattias Ekström in front of Laurent Aiello
Laurent Aiello in the #1 Abt-Audi TT-R
Details of the Abt-Audi TT-R
Mattias Ekström in the #5 Abt-Audi TT-R
Head of Audi Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Christian Abt, Audi Junior Peter Terting (from left)