Three Audi A5 DTM cars on the two front rows of the grid tomorrow
- Edoardo Mortara is quickest Audi driver at the Nürburgring
- 200th DTM race for Audi
- “Heat battle” and full stands
Ingolstadt/Nürburg, August 18, 2012 - Audi has worked out a good starting base for the upcoming "heat battle" of the DTM at the Nürburgring. After a strong qualifying performance, three Audi A5 DTM cars will start from the two front rows on Sunday.
It is the 200th DTM race for the brand with the Four Rings and expected to be one of the hottest. After the thermometer showed over 30 degrees as early as in the battle for the best grid positions and track temperatures heated up to more than 45 degrees, the race on Sunday in front of completely filled stands is expected to become even hotter. "This will be an extremely tough race for everyone," Audi Head of Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich is convinced. "But with three vehicles on the two front rows of the grid we’ve got a good starting base. The result also shows that the work of the past weeks and months is bearing fruit. All of our drivers are making very positive statements here about their cars."
At the DTM’s first event after the summer break, Audi left a strong impressions right from the first practice session on Friday that was confirmed on Saturday. With 1m 23.950s, Mike Rockenfeller in the Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix that is based at the Nürburgring drove the fastest qualifying time in Q3. In Q4, though, the Le Mans winner made a mistake in the first sector that caused him to drop to fourth place. "Without that, pole would have been possible," said "Rocky." "The car was superb today."
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi A5 DTM) and Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A5 DTM) did not manage any perfect laps in the crucial last qualifying segment either but secured grid positions two and three for Audi Sport Team Rosberg nonetheless. "I’m happy to be on the front row but I made too many small mistakes in this qualifying session - including in Q4," said Edoardo Mortara. "I’m sure that with a good lap we could have clinched the pole position today. But it’s still a great result for Audi Sport Team Rosberg. We were the best two Audi drivers today and are starting from positions two and three. This means we’ve got good chances in the race tomorrow."
The quickest driver of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline was Timo Scheider, who at the wheel of the AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM posted the tenth-best time. Mattias Ekström in the Red Bull Audi A5 DTM will be starting into the race alongside leader of the standings Gary Paffett from grid position twelve. Last year’s winner, who most recently took the pole position at the Nürburgring two consecutive times and is currently the Audi driver with the best points score in the overall standings, had to stop his fastest lap at the end of Q2 due to yellow flags.
Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM) and Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra A5 DTM) took positions 13 and 16. Tambay lost valuable track time in the morning due to a defective generator.
A strong performance was shown by Rahel Frey (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM). On the track on which she won a Formula 3 race in 2009 she barely missed making it into Q2 by 0.018 seconds. By taking grid position 17, the Swiss achieved her best qualifying result so far in the 2012 season.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "I’m satisfied with the three Audi cars in the top four. It probably would have been possible to take the pole position too, but unfortunately there was a small mistake made everywhere while Bruno Spengler drove a perfect lap. The result shows that the work during the past few weeks has paid off and that our work went in the right direction. I’m hoping for us to be able to convert this into a good race result tomorrow."
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi A5 DTM), grid position 2 "I’m happy because the result is fantastic. It’s the third time in six races that I made it into the top four. Things are going much better than last year. We did a good job on the set-up with the team. Unfortunately, in qualifying I didn’t have exactly the same feeling. But we’re on the front row. With a good start tomorrow, anything’s possible. Filipe (Albuquerque), Mike (Rockenfeller) and I will try and beat Bruno Spengler."
Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A5 DTM), grid position 3 "I’m very satisfied. Having made it into the top four in DTM qualifying is an incredibly good feeling because it was extremely close again today. In the third qualifying segment I drove a very good lap, but in the fourth session the tire pressure wasn’t optimal so I couldn’t attack Bruno Spengler. In any event, my third place on the grid will open up the opportunity to me of winning tomorrow. We’ll be giving everything for that."
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM), grid position 4 "We were very pleased the whole weekend so far. Especially the long-run times were very promising. Today, the car was probably good enough for driving onto the front row but unfortunately I made a mistake in Q4. But that’s the way it goes in sport at times. I gave everything, my guys gave me a superb car and I’m confident that we’ll be able to win tomorrow."
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM), grid position 10 "Tenth place is definitely not a dream result. On the other hand, you’ve got to be satisfied when looking at my last qualifying sessions and after the summer break you can see that we analyzed everything correctly and are on the right track. On the fifth row, it’s easier to strategically tackle the race than in the past when we were even all the way at the rear on occasion. I’m looking forward to the race; it’ll no doubt be a heat battle. Considering all the people that were eliminated in Q2, today shows that it was definitely not so easy to get everything right on the dot."
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM), grid position 12 "My qualifying didn’t go smoothly. The result was not as desired. In the beginning, I had a problem on the brake. When that was resolved and I had an improvement opportunity on my last lap there was a yellow flag. In the beginning, we were too slow and in the end we were out of luck."
Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM), grid position 13 "We did a good job in free practice and were constantly in the top five. Q1 went well. In Q2, I set the same time and after that it was over for us. Now we’ve got to try and drive a good race."
Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra A5 DTM), grid position 16 "A disappointing qualifying session because I didn’t make the best out of what would have been possible. We were a bit in a hurry and I wasn’t able to drive a second flying lap. On my first lap I had a yellow flag. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it into Q3. Now I’m hoping for a good race."
Rahel Frey (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM), grid position 17 "That was my best qualifying session so far. Actually, I should be pleased, but I’m not really yet. I’ve set high aims for the second half of the season; we’re in pretty good shape. I wanted to make it into Q2 but that didn’t work out by a very narrow margin. That’s why disappointment is still the predominant feeling. But we’re on the right track. I’ve got to continue to fight brutally hard - as brutally hard as the DTM is."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "Qualifying didn’t go according to our wishes. We weren’t able to convert it into a good result. The car is able to do it, as the results of Albuquerque, Rockenfeller and Mortara prove. But in our case it didn’t work. We’ve got to analyze this now. But that’s racing. Tomorrow’s the race and another day."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "A super-close qualifying session. In Q1, we were relatively sure. We were even able to save tires for the race. In Q2, we very narrowly advanced with ‘Rocky’, while Miguel (Molina) was lacking a few hundredths. In Q3, ‘Rocky’ drove a dream lap. Unfortunately, he had a locked wheel in Q4. That cost him half a second and you can’t make that up. We’re pleased nonetheless. You’re still in contention for victory from grid position four - and that’s our goal tomorrow."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "That was a nerve racking qualifying session. I’d almost have been happy with two cars in the top ten but now Edoardo (Mortara) and Filipe (Albuquerque) are on grid positions two and three. Consequently, I’m very, very happy. ‘Edo’ would have preferred being on pole but, unfortunately, that wasn’t quite possible. ‘Well done’ to both of them and a big ‘thank you’ to the whole team."