Mattias Ekström set the fastest time around the Norisring street circuit in today’s first Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters practice session. Ekström lapped the track in 49.893 seconds to beat Ralf Schumacher to the quickest lap.
Swede Ekström posted a lap of 49.893 seconds to post the fastest time in the first 45 minutes of the two-part first practice. Given that all 22 cars were covered by just 0.676 seconds, the Audi driver’s advantage over his rivals is all the more significant.
Mercedes’ Schumacher enjoyed a strong practice session to go second fastest – at a track where his best result stands as two sixth places achieved in 2009 and 2011. Bruno Spengler was third fastest for BMW to ensure that all three marques were represented inside the top three.
Current championship leader Gary Paffett was fourth fastest in his Mercedes, whilst Dirk Werner once again performed strongly in practice to go fifth fastest and place two Schnitzer cars inside the top five.
Timo Scheider placed the second of Abt Sportsline’s Audi A5’s inside the top six, whilst Spaniard Miguel Molina was seventh fastest, despite causing the only stoppage of the session when he hit the wall on the exit of the Schöller S.
Jamie Green was the second Brit in eighth, just ahead of reigning champion Martin Tomczyk and Christian Vietoris.
For the rest of the Brits it was a more challenging session. David Coulthard was 14th fastest with a time he could be pleased with – only two tenths of second-placed Schumacher. Susie Wolff was the top female driver in 18th, whilst former World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx once again struggled with the set-up on his RBM BMW and could only manage 20th.
American Joey Hand, competing with a new BMW chassis this weekend after his old one was damaged in a testing fire, was the slowest driver of all in 22nd, 0.676 seconds off the pace.