Ekström and the Audi A5 DTM strong in all conditions
45,000 spectators watch Audi victory at DTM show event
Ingolstadt/Munich, July 15, 2012 - The winner of the single competition at the 2012 DTM show event in Munich is Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline). In front of 45,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) the Audi factory driver at the wheel of his Red Bull Audi A5 DTM prevailed in a spectacular finale against Jamie Green in the Mercedes-Benz.
With three triumphs at the "Race of Champions" under his belt, Mattias Ekström proved his outstanding class in stadium competitions several times before. Now, he has entered his name in the winners’ list at the Munich Olympic Stadium as well. One day after his 34th birthday, the Swede gave himself the best belated birthday present by clinching his first victory this season.
"It’s been a long time since I last stood on the very top of the podium," said the Audi racer after his triumph. "Winning here in front of so many fans is particularly nice. I had the impression that the Olympic Stadium was pretty much in BMW’s hands - but today we showed to the whole crowd that Audi’s best."
As the best-placed Audi driver in the DTM standings, Mattias Ekström had been placed for the eighth-final on Sunday in which he easily defeated BMW racer Joey Hand. In the quarter-final, Ekström took another BMW out of the race, the car driven by the current DTM Champion Martin Tomczyk. That his advantage of 0.090 seconds turned out to be extremely narrow was due to the fact that prior to the pit stop Ekström had accidentally shifted into idle on the track that had meanwhile become wet from rain, which caused him to lose nearly his whole advantage.
A clear decision was made in the semi-final in which the Audi driver on six laps snatched almost two seconds from the leader of the standings, Gary Paffett (Mercedes). And the two-time DTM Champion did the best job of handling the flooded track in the finale as well. After a slow first pit stop he made up a gap of nearly two seconds in the second of the two final heats within just three laps and ultimately crossed the finish line as the clear winner with a 1.476-second advantage.
"It was a very thrilling finale and a nice event that was good fun," commented Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "Even spectators who weren’t into motorsport very much before were able to see how exciting and captivating the DTM can be. In the end, it was especially nice that Mattias (Ekström) managed to win for Audi."
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM/Audi Sport Team Phoenix) was another Audi racer to make it into the quarter-final. In the eighth-final, "Rocky" defeated his team-mate Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM) who was struggling with clutch problems. In the quarter-final, "Rocky" was beaten by the subsequent finalist Jamie Green by merely 0.303 seconds.
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi A5 DTM/Audi Sport Team Rosberg) experienced an even closer outcome. In the eighth-final, last year’s runner-up had to admit defeat to former Formula One racer David Coulthard by as little as 0.062 seconds. His team-mate Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A5 DTM) lost by a similarly narrow margin against Jamie Green. One of the most nail-biting eighth-final heats was delivered by Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra A5 DTM), who, running on slicks as rain was setting in, defeated Bruno Spengler by a razor-thin lead.
With a commanding victory in the preliminary round against BMW racer Dirk Werner, Rahel Frey (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM) managed to advance into the eighth-final as well. The gamble of competing against Gary Paffett with rain tires fitted to the front wheels, though, did not work out. In 15th place, the Swiss was the best lady in the field in the end nonetheless.
The two-time DTM Champion Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM) paid the price for no longer having fresh tires at his disposal for the day of the race after moving into the final on Saturday. In the first heat, he was defeated by the Canadian Robert Wickens.
After a brief break, the DTM will be seeing a battle for points again at the Nürburgring on August 19 where Mattias Ekström was victorious last year as well.
Quotes after the DTM show event in Munich
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "It was a very thrilling final and a nice event that was good fun. Even spectators who weren’t into motorsport very much before were able to see how exciting and captivating the DTM can be. In the end, it was especially nice that Mattias (Ekström) managed to win for Audi after we had previously reached the final of the relay competition on Saturday with Adrien (Tambay) and Timo (Scheider)."
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM), winner
"It was a nice weekend. The set-up superbly fit. The car was perfect throughout the weekend. The final against Jamie (Green) was tough; I was running behind after the first laps. But I managed to improve and win. There are no points awarded for this victory. But we showed that we’re able to win races and it was a fantastic reward for the team. Now we’re going into the five-week break with a good feeling."
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM), 6th place
"It was a shame not making it into the semi-final. It was a close decision against Jamie (Green). I drove here in wet conditions for the first time. The start was good but then I lost some time. My pit stop wasn’t optimal; that’s where we could have made up some ground against Mercedes. It was fun; and a nice weekend for me and my guys."
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi A5 DTM), 11th place
"For me, it was a difficult weekend. In free practice, we showed that we’re quick. Then we had a bit of misfortune in both races and could have achieved a better result. In the quarter-final today, I lost against Coulthard. Before the heat, it started to rain. My track was a bit wetter; the conditions weren’t the same for both drivers and Coulthard advanced."
Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A5 DTM), 12th place
"The first heat against Andy Priaulx was very good. We were running on fresh tires and I managed to win. In the second heat against Jamie Green there was nothing I could do. I was running on used tires while he was on fresh ones. The positive thing was that our car remained undamaged and that in the end we were quick."
Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM), 14th place
"I enjoyed the weekend. It’s positive that were able to drive without any pressure here. It was a nice event for the crowd and the drivers."
Rahel Frey (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM), 15th place
"Munich was a great thrill. In terms of weather, we had everything - wet, dry, dry again and wet. There were also a few surprises with regard to the results. I’m quite pleased with my performances. This morning I had a superb run. In the second one, I took a bit of a risk with tires, which didn’t work out. The crowd got to see a great show and I think that everyone enjoyed the event a lot."
Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra A5 DTM), 16th place
"It was a thrilling duel against Bruno Spengler because we had some rain during the race and the driving was difficult. In the end, I closed the gap to him. I was driving close to the limit and gave everything. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out but it was very close. After we managed to clinch a podium place yesterday, it was very tight again today."
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM), 19th place "Unfortunately, our expectations came true. Due his early elimination yesterday Robert Wickens competed on new tires today. Since we used both tire sets on Saturday I knew that it would be difficult. On used tires, I wasn’t able to really put up a fight. That’s a shame but on Saturday we achieved a sensational final and celebrated a podium."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "Winning at the Olympic Stadium was a tremendous experience. For us as a team, it was a great challenge. After the initial difficulties this season, we wanted to show that we’re still in contention. ‘Eki’ showed that he’s among the best drivers in the field and he clinched victory for Ingolstadt. We can only take our hats off for that!"
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "An optimal result for Audi. We took a gamble on the tires on Saturday, didn’t use all the slicks and reached the final nonetheless. Today, ‘Eki’ showed a superb performance and brought victory home with a pit stop thriller. Well done to ‘Eki’ and Audi. Our team was eliminated by only a narrow margin each time; we’re very pleased and already look forward to next year."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "It was a great event. Like last year, an Audi won again - this time on Sunday. Well done to ‘Eki.’ We suffered a bit of misfortune, but that’s part of the game."