First DTM point for Audi Junior Peter Terting
Audi Junior Peter Terting exceeded his season's expectations at the DTM finale (German Touring Car Masters) at Hockenheim: The youngest DTM driver ever in "Touring Car's Premiere Division" collected his first point in front of an impressive backdrop of 105,000 spectators. "I'm absolutely over the moon," said the joyous 'Star of Tomorrow' driver from the S line Audi Junior Team. "My goal was to finish at least once in the top ten during my first DTM season - I've actually finished eighth and have even collected a point."
The 19-year old had already shown what he has learnt during his maiden DTM season in Saturday's practice. On his debut at the same track in April he started from 20th position, this time however Terting achieved, with eleventh place, his best ever qualifying position. At the start, the Audi Junior lost several positions but fought his way up to eighth place, and as a result into the points, during the 37 laps after setting constantly quick lap times. Just before the chequered flag he even succeeded in overtaking his "instructor" Christian Abt. "Eighth place in such a competitive field is a fantastic performance - particularly when you realise that he drove one of last years cars," said Team Director Hans-Jürgen Abt full of praise for his protégée. "He showed today that he's made of the right stuff".
Terting's team colleague in the S line Audi Junior Team, Martin Tomczyk, again underlined that he is among the quickest DTM drivers. The 21-year old was running in fifth place during the early stages of the race before dropping down the field after being nudged into a spin by a competitor at the hairpin. "Shame that he caught me," said Tomczyk, who finished the race in 13th position. "It was easy for me to keep up with the leading bunch during the early laps. I had the speed, that's a small consolation."
Mattias Ekström again showed a fantastic performance. The Swede was quickest in single lap qualifying ("Super Pole") on Saturday thereby securing pole position. After having pulled out a lead of 2.1 seconds during the first six laps, his first pit stop cost him a possible victory. After his pit crew had him serviced and ready to roll again after a mere 4.3 seconds, another car blocked him as he pulled away. Back out on the circuit, Ekström had to let Jean Alesi, the eventual winner, past. "I fought my way back up into contention, but he simply didn't make a single mistake and present me with the opportunity to overtake him," reported Ekström, who attacked Alesi hard in the closing stages and missed the win by a mere 0.213 seconds. With his second place, the Swede secured fourth position overall and best placed Audi driver in the 2003 DTM championship. He stood on the winners' rostrum at five of the ten races.
Following bad luck in qualifying, Laurent Aiello fought his way up to fifth place in his Abt Audi TT-R from 15th on the grid. Christian Abt and Karl Wendlinger occupied ninth and 17th positions respectively.
Franz Beckenbauer in the Abt-Audi TT-R
Christian Abt chauffeured a particularly prominent guest just before the DTM finale at the Hockenheimring. Franz Beckenbauer occupied the co-drivers seat of the Abt-Audi TT-R 'race taxi'. The president of Audi partner FC Bayern Munich was impressed: "That was a fantastic experience." Beckenbauer also watched the start and the opening stages of the race from Team Abt Sportsline's pit. "It's the first time that I was at a DTM race this year, the atmosphere is fascinating."
Audi works driver Pirro second in Charity Race
Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro competed in an unusual supporting race held at the DTM finale in Hockenheim. Both Audi works drivers were among the select starter field chosen to compete in the "Bye, bye Lupo Cup"-Charity Race, in which numerous ex-DTM drivers raced. Emanuele Pirro fought his way up to second position from eleventh on the grid, therefore managing to mount the winners' rostrum. "The race with the small VW Lupo was great fun," said Pirro. "And it was all for a worthy cause." The race helped to raise a donation of almost 100,000 Euro for a foundation for homeless children. Frank Biela was touched by a fellow competitor during the opening stages of the race; the three-time Le Mans winner brought his battered car home in ninth place.
Audi Motorsport in numbers
Coming up this week
Fredrik Ekblom, 2003 Swedish Touring Car Champion driving an Audi A4, will be 33-years old on Monday ...