• Fourth success for Audi in the 2011 DTM
• Impressive performance by the two-time DTM champion
• Five Audi A4 DTM cars on the top seven positions
Ingolstadt/Nürburg, August 7, 2011 - In the duel against Mercedes-Benz Audi has raised the score of victories to 4-2. In front of 86,500 spectators (throughout the weekend) Mattias Ekström in the Audi A4 DTM of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline was in a class of his own at the Nürburgring. From the pole position the Swede achieved an advantage of 5.533 seconds over the leader of the standings, Bruno Spengler, and celebrated his 15th DTM victory that was never at risk in the race.
Exactly 63 weeks or 441 days Mattias Ekström had to wait for this day. The last DTM race won by the Audi driver had been at Valencia at the end of May 2010. "That was a very long time," said the Swede after his triumph at the Nürburgring. "This success feels incredibly good. I’m very happy for the team that suffered a great deal of misfortune in the first half of the season. This weekend Audi Sport and Abt were right on the mark. All I had to do was drive ..."
Almost up to the end of the race Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline was even heading for a one-two result at the Nürburgring. Up to the penultimate lap Mike Rockenfeller was running in second place before, under pressure from Bruno Spengler, the wheels of his Audi A4 DTM locked as he was braking into turn one. "I was having problems with grip on the rear wheels and changed the brake balance," explained Rockenfeller. "But that’s not meant to be an excuse. I’m sorry for the team - something like this simply mustn’t happen on the penultimate lap."
Places four and five went to Timo Scheider and Martin Tomczyk (Audi Sport Team Phoenix) who switched positions in a fierce duel on the 20th lap. The runner-up in the standings, Tomczyk, had started well from position seven on the grid but was hit by Mercedes driver Jamie Green in the commotion on lap one. The front end of his Audi A4 DTM was damaged in the incident. Tomczyk nonetheless managed to secure fifth place and as the best driver of a year-old car scored important points in the title fight. Before the remaining four races the German as the best Audi driver remains within a striking distance to Bruno Spengler, ranking seven points behind him in the overall classification.
With Edoardo Mortara on position seven a fifth Audi driver scored points. Audi Sport Team Rosberg had to repair the Italian’s A4 DTM after an incident in the morning’s warm-up session when a kerb along the track had come loose and caused considerable damage to the left-hand side of the vehicle. The two points which Mortara clinched as the best DTM rookie in the field were a nice reward for the extra work.
Mortara’s team-mate Filipe Albuquerque in ninth place just barely missed scoring a point. Oliver Jarvis managed to recover from position 15 on the grid to tenth place. Miguel Molina and Rahel Frey occupied places twelve and 16 in the race that was very turbulent at times.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport)
"Naturally, it would have been even nicer to have clinched a one-two result - that would definitely have been possible today. But we can also be very pleased with positions one, three, four, five and seven. In a car that was damaged after a collision on lap one Martin (Tomczyk) managed to contain the damage by taking fifth place. Overall, our performance was extremely strong today. I’m very pleased with the whole squad."
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM), 1st place
"It’s really great standing at the top of the podium again: Not only because of the big trophy but also because of the way in which we achieved this victory. We had a perfect weekend. Obviously we were a bit fortunate in qualifying but our performance was right too. I’m very happy - also for the team. As a group we were rewarded for hard labor today. Now I’m very much looking forward to the next races."
Mike Rockenfeller (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A4 DTM), 3rd place
"In summary I’d say: third place is okay, second place would have been fantastic. Up until two laps before the end I had everything under control. Balance certainly wasn’t perfect and I was struggling. But Bruno (Spengler) was fair and simply a bit faster. He was behind me the whole time. Then, as in qualifying on Saturday, I made a mistake in turn one. That’s too bad. But on the other hand I showed that the pace was right throughout the weekend. Finishing third is nothing to be ashamed of in the DTM."
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi A4 DTM), 4th place
"Fourth place is quite alright and a good result after starting from position eight on the grid. But, as before, we still need to improve in qualifying. We’ve got to do a better job of putting my driving style and the car together. But after a good start I managed driving a good race. Two sets of tires worked very well, only the last one didn’t work at all. We’ve got to analyze that."
Martin Tomczyk (Schaeffler Audi A4 DTM), 5th place
"The start was outstanding. I was running directly alongside Bruno Spengler. In turn two Jamie Green came up side by side to me and slightly brushed me. In turn three his impact was heavier. That cost me four places: very annoying. Some are saying it was a race accident but I tend to see it more as a heavier form of attack. I suppose that’s become normal in such a competitive championship. I’ve got to look ahead and score as many points as possible in the next races."
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi A4 DTM), 7th place
"It was a long race for me. I had a good start and managed to overtake Green. We scored two points and thus achieved our goal of finishing in the top eight. But we still need to improve our race pace some more."
Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A4 DTM), 9th place
"In the beginning it was fun with lots of action around me. Then I made up some ground but the cars in front of me had moved far away. Unfortunately, I lost time to Paffett during the pit stops and wasn’t able to catch up with him anymore. Ninth place after starting from twelfth on the grid is pretty good. It’s a shame we didn’t score a point. But I learned a lot in this race and will put that into action at the next round."
Oliver Jarvis (Audi Sport performance cars A4 DTM), 10th place
"An interesting race. In the first and second stint I had some thrilling battles. But we started too far at the rear. Tenth place isn’t bad considering our grid position. But on the whole it’s been a disappointing weekend."
Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM), 12th place
"The weekend was pretty good - until the race. In qualifying the car was fast and we were close to the top. But in the race we lost performance. I had to really fight for my lap times. On a positive note we made a step forward. At Brands Hatch I want to make another step and be as competitive as we were here on Saturday."
Rahel Frey (Glamour Audi A4 DTM), 16th place
"I wanted to make a good start, the reaction time wasn’t bad, but I had wheel spin and that caused me to lose two positions. Afterward I managed to keep up with the field and fight with Engel and Vietoris for a few laps. In the first and second stint we had a lot of oversteer and I was struggling with the car. In the third stint things were going better, our times were more competitive. In the end I finished the way I’d started - on position 16. We’d been hoping for a bit more here."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline):
"A huge ‘well done’ to the whole team. We’ve always kept the faith. Today we’ve shown that we’re back. That’s a good start into the second half of the year. There’ll probably be some more surprises."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix):
"Martin (Tomczyk) drove a superb start. In turn two he was already in fourth place. Then he was heavily hit in the rear by Jamie Green which caused Martin’s car to be pushed against a car in front and causing the front of his car to be damaged. That meant his car wasn’t fast enough anymore to drive all the way to the front. Consequently, we changed our strategy. We chose an aggressive variant and drove a brief first stint. On the second set of tires we tried to do a few fast laps. We also gained three places and were running on position four. But unfortunately we weren’t fast enough around the race’s midpoint and again lost a place to Timo (Scheider). That’s how we kept running until the end. Considering the condition of the car I’m very pleased with that. Rahel (Frey) was very consistent throughout the race and drove the same lap times as Oliver (Jarvis) or Maro Engel. The curve is pointing upward."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg):
"My thanks go to the whole squad. They did a great job. ‘Eki’ drove a sensational race. As far as my drivers go I’ve got to say: Edo (Mortara) was great. He again scored two points. That was the maximum that was possible today. I enjoyed Filipe (Albuquerque) very much. He managed two sensational overtaking maneuvers: once in a pack of Mercedes drivers and then in the battle with Miguel Molina. Unfortunately, I thwarted his chance to score a point by making a wrong strategic decision. I’d like to apologize to him for that. It was a great race nonetheless and we’ve got both cars in the top ten."