Commanding triumph by Mike Rockenfeller at Brands Hatch.
Ingolstadt/Brands Hatch, May 19, 2013 Two races, two pole positions and now the first victory of the season plus the lead of the standings: The Audi RS 5 DTM was unbeatable at the second race of the 2013 DTM at Brands Hatch (Great Britain). Audi thus put an end to a four-race string of victories by BMW.
From the pole position, Mike Rockenfeller in the Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix celebrated a commanding victory in perfect external conditions. For 98 laps, the 2010 Le Mans winner controlled the pace and in the end crossed the finish line with a 7.641-second advantage as the clear winner.
On clinching his second success at a DTM race after Zandvoort in 2011 Rocky, with a one-point lead over title defender Bruno Spengler, took the top spot in the overall standings as well.
That was a race of the kind you wish for as a race driver, said Mike Rockenfeller after his triumph. I won the start and was subsequently able to determine the pace. The option tires degraded a bit faster than at Hockenheim, which came as a surprise.
But the others had the same problem and we responded correctly. My car functioned superbly and Team Phoenix performed two brilliant stops. Thank you for that! After Hockenheim, we put our heads together in the team the result was seen today.
Not only the victory is a great confirmation of the hard work over the winter, but so is the commanding way in which Mike (Rockenfeller) achieved this success, commented Dieter Gass, who has been Head of DTM at Audi Sport since April. He was able to control the race for 98 laps and didnt make any mistakes.
His team did all the right things strategically and delivered two perfect pit stops. Well done! We already saw at Hockenheim that the performance of the Audi RS 5 DTM is right. Its nice that we were able to convert that into a win today and managed to end the BMW string of victories.
The spectators at Brands Hatch experienced a similarly thrilling DTM race as the crowd at the Hockenheim season opener. DRS and option tires again made for fierce duels and spectacular overtaking maneuvers. With Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM) and Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM) in seventh and ninth place, two other Audi drivers (both Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) scored points.
Following a less than optimal qualifying session, Ekström started on standard tires and in the race switched to the softer option tires right on lap four. With the help of this strategy, the Swede battled to make up ground from position twelve on the grid to seventh place.
Miguel Molina missed a point-finish by only 0.563 seconds. The Spaniard lost tenth place to Pascal Wehrlein just shortly before the end. Jamie Green finished his home round in 15th place. Filipe Albuquerque, after two time penalties, had to settle for position 17 as the best driver of Audi Sport Team Rosberg. Adrien Tambay finished the race, following a drive-through penalty due to a collision with Andy Priaulx, in 18th place.
Edoardo Mortara was running in seventh place almost up until the end of the race before the Italian received a drive-through penalty as well and was forced to retire nine laps before the race ended.
The third race of the 2013 DTM will be held only two weeks from now at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg (Austria). There, Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) won last year.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): Well done to Mike (Rockenfeller) and Audi Sport Team Phoenix on this strong performance. They did everything right this weekend and deserve the win. Such commanding victories are only a very rare occurrence in the DTM. The lead of the standings is a nice reward for the entire Audi DTM squad that worked hard over the past few months to make the RS 5 DTM a winning car. This provides an additional motivation boost for the next races.
Dieter Gass (Head of DTM): Obviously, there is enormous joy in the Audi camp. Everything went superbly this weekend particularly, of course, with Mike (Rockenfeller). He was in contention at the very front right from the beginning, even in qualifying. Today, he put the icing on the cake himself. That was a first-class racing performance from the first to the last lap. That he won the start was very important. In the beginning, he was running superbly on the option tires and worked out a small advantage. In doing so, he put himself and his team in a comfortable situation with respect to the race strategy. In the end, they all did a perfect job of putting it on track.
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM), 1st place: Of course Im happy and relieved that we put the things wed been planning for on track. In the DTM, in the race, all sorts of things can happen. Obviously, we had a superb foundation with the great qualifying session yesterday. Then it was up to me to perform a good start, and that worked out too. Afterward, my team and I gave everything. I tried to push on each lap. I think you could tell that we had the race under control.
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM), 7th place: After qualifying had not been so good here at Brands Hatch Im happy about still having finished in the points. Im hoping to be farther at the front when it comes to awarding the grid positions in the next round at Spielberg and will then be in contention for podium positions in the race as well.
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM), 9th place: My start wasnt one hundred percent, but it was at least okay. At the end of my first lap, I was fifth. Afterward, I was struggling with the option tire, which degraded quickly. That wasnt foreseeable quite like that and of course kept us busy too. By contrast, the car was running well on the standard tire and the lap times fit at least for a few laps. Strategically, we did all the right things, but unfortunately there was a mistake at the pit stop. As a rough estimate, that cost us the fourth place I was running in at the time. Thats painful because those would have been important points.
Miguel Molina (Audi RS 5 DTM), 11th place: This wasnt what wed been hoping for. In the beginning, we were battling for front positions but then the strategy wasnt as good as wed been hoping for. Thats why I lost a few places at the second stop. Unfortunately, that was the key phase of the race because overtaking is hardly possible at Brands Hatch.
Jamie Green (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM), 15th place: I was cautious at the start because I didnt want to damage my car and lost a few places in the process. After my first early pit stop I came out again directly in front of the race leader, Mike Rockenfeller. Of course I let him pass. Directly behind him, I lost a lot of time on my fresh option tires because I could have driven faster. At the midpoint of the race I moved forward. After the last pit stop, I wasnt able to do much anymore on standard tires. Id like to congratulate Mike (Rockenfeller) on his victory.
Filipe Albuquerque (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM), 17th place: That was a completely botched weekend for me. It started in free practice. I then had a good strategy for the race but we were too slow. I was struggling with the car the whole time; we simply didnt find the right set-up for my driving style.
Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra RS 5 DTM), 18th place: It began with a poor start where I lost a lot of places due to wheel spin. Afterward, I turned Andy (Priaulx) around, for which Id like to say sorry. Then of course the drive-through penalty that was due for the incident ruined my race. Now weve got to analyze this weekend, learn from it and very quickly start looking ahead to Spielberg.
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM), 21st place: That was a race to forget. I didnt manage to drive off well from grid position nine. Still, I got in line in seventh place and kept this position for many laps. After my first very late pit stop the race stewards gave me a time penalty. I had to reduce my speed for five seconds. Of course that caused me to lose a lot of positions because at Brands Hatch the field is always very close together. Then, toward the end, I also received a drive-through penalty and had a defect on my car that forced me to retire.
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): Congratulations to Mike Rockenfeller. He drove a commanding race. He simply had the best pace in the field. With our cars we managed fairly well to stay in the top ten. Of course were not completely happy and satisfied because wed been expecting a bit more. That wasnt possible today. Now weve got to continue to work in order to be in a good position for the next race.
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): Its simply a great feeling when everything works out on the whole weekend. If you take the pole position, then have a good car for the race and the driver does everything right as well. The pit stop strategy fit too and so, in the end, you stand at the very top. Were going to enjoy this now but postpone the party because were still active at the Nürburgring 24 Hours.
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): Sincere congratulations to Ernst Moser, Mike Rockenfeller and Audi. A brilliant first place after a nice race. Id rather not comment on our race.