Ingolstadt/Zandvoort, September 28, 2013 The starting base before the penultimate race of the 2013 DTM season could hardly be more thrilling than this, as Augusto Farfus (BMW) and Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) the two candidates for the title are directly behind one another on grid positions two and three at Zandvoort (the Netherlands) on Sunday.
That is why, more than at other races, good grid positions, the right strategy and a set-up that is gentle on the tires are crucial.
Leader of the standings Mike Rockenfeller in the Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix has checked off the first part and, by clinching grid position three, secured a good starting base for the 44-lap race. Naturally, Id have wished to be starting in front of Augusto (Farfus) tomorrow, said the 29-year-old. But even in this mornings free practice he showed that hes very strong here.
Now weve got to see to us being fast enough in the race tomorrow to crack him. It was a difficult qualifying session for us, so Im pleased with grid position three. My thanks go to Audi and my team. Im the best Audi driver on the grid and my aim of winning the race remains unchanged. I need a good start and then well see what happens.
Alongside the leader of the standings, Timo Scheider in the AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline will be starting the race from grid position four. Filipe Albuquerque in the Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg, by taking position six, made for drivers from all three Audi teams to start from the first three rows.
Audis qualifying performance that was strong on the whole was completed by Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM), Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra RS 5 DTM), Miguel Molina (Audi RS 5 DTM) and Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM) with grid positions seven, nine, ten and eleven.
With that, seven of the eight Audi RS 5 DTM cars are starting from the best eleven grid positions on Sunday. Only Jamie Green in his Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM, in 18th place, was eliminated by just a very narrow margin right in the first qualifying segment. As last years winner Bruno Spengler received a two-position grid penalty, Green will start the race from 17th place.
The two candidates for the title are directly behind one another tomorrow on the first two rows of the grid it can hardly be more thrilling than this, said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. Mike (Rockenfeller) drove a strong qualifying session yet again and Timo (Scheider), as always, was very fast at Zandvoort again. With six Audi cars in the top ten, weve got a good overall starting base for the race in which the right strategy will play a crucial role there are many different variants that can be driven here. Itll be a very exciting race.
Mike Rockenfeller will have the chance to secure an early DTM title win by achieving a good result on Sunday. ARD will broadcast live on Das Erste starting at 13:15 from. The race can be watched live on YouTube in many countries as well.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): Mike Rockenfeller achieved a good starting base for the race on his own power. Now, making the right decisions in the race tomorrow will be very important. Nobody knows yet how the option tires are going to perform here and overtaking isnt easy at Zandvoort. The DTM fans can look forward to a thrilling race at which the start and the first turn will already be explosive, as both candidates for the title are close together on the grid.
Dieter Gass (Head of DTM): It cant get much better than this. Weve got two Audi and two BMW cars in the top four. Both candidates for the title are in contention at the front; thats a promising situation for the race tomorrow. Thinking about our performances, we can be pleased as well. Weve got seven Audi cars among the top eleven and can come up with something in terms of strategy for the race. Were going to try and win tomorrow.
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM , grid position 3): "Its a good starting order, its got spice. Im pleased with my position but not with my pace in qualifying. I gave everything but was struggling a bit with the car. Cracking Augusto (Farfus) tomorrow wont be easy. But my aim of winning the race remains unchanged."
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM , grid position 4): "A clean qualifying session without any problems and with a good way of making it into Q4. When I heard of Marco Wittmanns time over the radio I knew that this lap could only be beaten with a lot of risk. And the risk in my case was a bit too high. Compared with my personal best time I was faster initially. I then tried to give everything and took too much of a risk. In the end, it was the second row. We can help Mike (Rockenfeller) and finish on the podium ourselves thatll be our aim tomorrow."
Filipe Albuquerque (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM, grid position 6): "It was a very close qualifying session. The team did a great job after free practice because I wasnt completely happy with the car this morning. Im hoping that, like at Oschersleben, Ill be able to make up four places again. The race will be very long and itll be very close."
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 7): "It was a disappointing qualifying session for us. We were quick in Q2 and there was greater potential. Then, in Q3, we had lower grip than in Q2 and didnt make it into the last qualifying qualifying segment."
Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra RS 5 DTM, grid position 9): "Im not completely happy with my performance. Q4 was possible today but I made a mistake in the penultimate turn. Im sorry for the team. But ninth place isnt bad. Were going to battle in the race!"
Miguel Molina (Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 10): "As always in the DTM, it was very close. We were always at the limit: 16th place in Q1, tenth in Q2, and always barely another lap forward. Subsequently, I wasnt completely happy with Q3. But its always good to make it into the top ten. With that, weve got a good chance to help Rocky (Mike Rockenfeller) and Phoenix in the battle for the title."
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 11): "Im looking forward to the race. But starting from position eleven is more difficult than when youre further at the front. Half the field is in front of me, the other half is behind me. My aim is to overtake as many cars as possible. Those who know me know that well only give up after the checkered flag has come out."
Jamie Green (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 17): "It was a short qualifying session. We only went out twice; the best lap came in the first outing. Before qualifying, wed changed the set-up a bit and that didnt pay off. Some of the changes werent positive. I first had to get used to the car in qualifying, which isnt ideal. On such a short weekend, youve only got little time for changes."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "It was a close qualifying session again. But were pleased with our starting base because we believe that weve got a good race set-up. Well see to supporting Rocky (Mike Rockenfeller) tomorrow; were starting from the same row."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "A good qualifying session with both cars among the top ten. Thatll help us a lot in the team classification, as the two Mercedes, which are leading the standings, are far at the rear. Weve achieved a lot and are closely trailing Augusto Farfus. Were going to try and stay on his heels in the race or to overtake him. Thanks to the team and the two drivers who showed very strong nerves."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Positions six and seven arent so bad. In Q2, Edo (Mortara) drove the best time. But afterward he didnt manage to do that well anymore. In each sector, he lost some time although everything on the car was the same. Weve got a good base; we can build on that for the race tomorrow."