Audi Motorsport newsletter 2003-09-29

STCC: Audi driver Ekblom captures title in Sweden Audi managed an impressive hat-trick in the Swedish Touring Car Championship: Now for the third time in succession an Audi driver has secured the title in the hard-fought series. On Sunday the...

STCC:
Audi driver Ekblom captures title in Sweden

Audi managed an impressive hat-trick in the Swedish Touring Car Championship: Now for the third time in succession an Audi driver has secured the title in the hard-fought series. On Sunday the Team KMS Motorsport celebrated Fredrik Ekblom becoming the new champion. The Audi A4 driver's second and seventh place finishes in the season finale were enough to secure his triumph.

"This titel is something very special for me," said the champion after the race. "This year I followed the Audi A4's entire process of development from the drafting table to the first roll out. It means a lot to me that I was able to bring home the title with this car."

Ekblom was in magnificant form on the weekend: In qualifying he put his Audi A4 on pole position and was thus able to secure the best starting position in the fight for the title, for which there were several candidates. After second position in the 15 lap sprint race the 32 year-old Swede didn't put any pressure on in the main race. "I didn't take any risks whatsoever and wanted to only get the necessary amount of points," reported Ekblom.

Ekblom's team mate and Team Director Tommy Kristoffersson was pleased with the result. "We are all unbelievably proud of the success. For Fredrik it's a kind of late compensation for the bad luck in the season of 2000." Even then Ekblom was already on the championship path until a puncture in the last race robbed him of his chances for the title."

ALMS:
Audi's team Champion celebrates home victory in Miami

Audi customer teams ADT Champion Racing and Infineon Team Joest walked away from the penultimate round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in Miami (Florida) with a dominant double victory. In doing so, Johnny Herbert and JJ Lehto provided Florida-based Team Champion Racing with a home victory, finishing ahead of Frank Biela and Marco Werner in Infineon Team Joest's Audi R8.

The two Audi R8 cars were in a class of their own on the short course in Downtown Miami. Already in training both cars were setting the pace. Throughout the entire 2:45-hour race one of the Audi was in the lead. The spectators were, nonetheless, able to feast their eyes on an amazing and turbulent race, in which both Audi customer teams - like so many other times this year - did not let up and were hot on each others' tails for the whole race.

The preliminary decision was already made in qualifying on Friday. In the last second JJ Lehto squeezed Marco Werner, who had been leading by 39 thousandths of a second, out of first place to secure the pole position for the Champion Team for the first time this year - and that immense edge he gained on the tight city circuit that offers extremely few passing possibilities!

In the beginning phase of the race JJ Lehto and Marco Werner continued their enthralling duel under tremendous heat. As a duo at an enormously high speed, the two Audi drivers slowed down their pursuers. Only centimetres separated their Audi R8 cars during the first laps. Time after time Marco Werner attacked, until he got stuck behind. "With all the traffic, passing would have presented a very precarious situation," said Werner. "Champion drove at high risk. It would have been too dangerous to allow a mistake to take place because of that."

Werner, despite it all, took over the lead after 45 mintutes into the race as the Champion Team was using one of the five caution periods to change drivers. While refueling the R8 caught fire but it was quickly thereafter extinguished. "It got a bit hot," commented Johnny Herbert, who was sitting behind the wheel at the time the flames began to kindle. "Luckily, it didn't get any worse than it did."

The unusually early pit stop proved in the end to be a clever move for the Champion Team: Because of the many caution phases, Herbert managed to finish the remaining two hours without having to refuel again. "I was trying to save fuel," explained the former Formula 1 driver. "It worked! The warning light came on for the first time in the last lap. Already last year there were several caution phases, and we adjusted our strategy accordingly. I am so glad that we were able to give Dave Maraj such an awesome home victory."

Team Joest, which which has been leading in the overall standing, decided on a conservative strategy and contented themselves with a secure second place, especially since it began raining in the final laps of the race. "With an eye on the championship, we were simply not able to allow ourselves a retirement here," explained Frank Biela. "It was important for us to finish. We achieved this and were thus able to take a large step in the direction of a championship win."

Now after the fourth Audi double vitory in the current season only an Audi driver can become champion at Road Atlanta on 18 October. Frank Biela and Marco Werner have a 14-point lead on JJ Lehto. Audi has already won in the manufacturers' standing.

DTM:
Spectacular DTM final for Audi juniors

The DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) will finish the season off this coming weekend before the winter break with a spectacular final. Over 40,000 tickets have already been sold for the tenth round to take place in Hockenheim, which is a new record for the DTM on this track. "I get goose bumps just thinking about the fans, flags and fanfare in the Motodrom," confesses Peter Terting. The youngster, who is a member of S line Audi Junior Team, decided to take on a few challenges in the final of his debut season. "My goal was to finish among the top ten. I already know the course from inside of my DTM car, and I like the course. Things could work out for me," says the 19-year-old driver from Kempten (Germany).

With the finale in Hockenheim, Abt-Audi driver Laurent Aiello's year as champion will come to an end. "I was very proud to have been able to start with the nummer one on my Abt-Audi TT-R all year long," says the French driver. "And if I have to hand over my title, then I of course want to do that with a victory. That would certainly be a nice present for the fans and those who have supported us throughout the year."

Aiello's teammate Martin Tomczyk also has some unfinished business. The 21-year-old from Rosenheim (Germany) lost his chance to win in the last round at Zandvoort all because of a botched up start. In Hockenheim the signs could not be better, for Tomczyk was already starting here at the front of the grid at the beginning of the season in April. "If that falls into place for me again on the weekend, I'm going to take my chances," comments Tomczyk.

Outside of the six drivers from the Abt Sportsline team, Emanuele Pirro will also get a taste of the racing action. The Audi works driver will be a challenger in the "Bye, Bye Lupo Cup Charity Race" scheduled to take place Sunday directly before the DTM final. In the charity event former DTM and Formula 1 drivers will go against their opponents in similarly constructed VW Lupo.

Audi Motorsports in numbers

Mantorp Park (S), 28 September, Round 15 Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC)
1 Richard Göransson (BMW) 11 laps in 15m 35.442s
2 Fredrik Ekblom (Audi A4) + 0.900s
3 Tomas Engström (Honda) + 6.407s
4 Johan Stureson (Seat) + 6.808s
5 Niklas Karsson (Alfa Romeo) + 7.410s

Mantorp Park (S), 28 September, Round 16 Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC)
1 Niklas Karlsson (Alfa Romeo), 18 laps in 25m 20.449s
2 Jan Nilsson (Volvo) + 1.492s
3 Tomas Engström (Honda) + 12.772s
4 Robin Rudholm (Seat) +14.013s
5 Carl Rosenblad (BMW) +20.404s

Positions after 16 races: 1 Ekblom, 224 points; 2 Nilsson, 214; 3 Engström, 168; 4 Rustad, 161; 5 Göransson, 148.

Miami (USA), 27 September, Round 8 American Le Mans Series (ALMS)
1 Herbert/Lehto (Audi R8) 157 laps in 2h 42m 06.617s
2 Biela/Werner (Audi R8) + 40.642s
3 Beretta/Saelens (Panoz) 2 laps behind
4 Brabham/Turner (Ferrari) 3 laps behind
5 Kox/Enge (Ferrari) 3 laps behind

Positions after 8 of 9 races: 1 Biela and Werner, each 151 points; 3 Lehto, 137; 4 Herbert, 134; 5 Beretta, 105.

Next race: Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta (USA), 18 October

Coming up this week

DTM press conference with Audi driver Laurent Aiello in Hockenheim (Wednesday at 11 hrs) -- DTM final in Hockenheim (Sunday) -- Audi driver Michael Gelati turns 44 years old (Monday )--

-audi.de-

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About this article
Series ALMS , DTM , Road racing
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Frank Biela , Laurent Aiello , Carl Rosenblad , Martin Tomczyk , Marco Werner , Robin Rudholm , Peter Terting , Tomas Engstrom , Dave Maraj , Richard Göransson , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto