Audi aims to also win at the Norisring
• Martin Tomczyk travels to Nuremberg as the leader of the standings
• Last race of the Audi A4 DTM at “home event”
• Audi drivers look forward to city street circuit
Ingolstadt, June 24, 2011 - There is only one DTM race on the current calendar which Audi has never won in the most popular international touring car series since its comeback with a manufacturer’s commitment: the brand’s "home event" at the Nuremberg Norisring. Spurred on by its tenth triumph at Le Mans and three consecutive victories in the DTM (Zandvoort, Spielberg, Lausitzring) Audi aims to change this on the first weekend in July.
The goal which Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich has set for his squad is clear. After the spell was broken most recently at the Lausitzring - where Audi was victorious for the first time since 2005 - the long awaited and overdue triumph at the Norisring is to now be turned into reality as well.
Eight times in a row Mercedes-Benz won on the city street circuit that is only 2.3 kilometers long and located between the Dutzendteich lake and the Easycredit stadium. Laurent Aiello in the Abt-Audi TT-R claimed the last victory for Audi in 2002 when he outwitted Bernd Schneider, who had been leading the race up to that point, in the last corner. The legendary V8 quattro was another car with which Audi was successful in the early 1990s in the "old" DTM. Only the Audi A4 DTM is still lacking a Norisring triumph. It will have its last chance to clinch it on July 3 as in 2012 the car will be replaced by the new A5 DTM.
The "home victory" mission is by no means an unrealistic one. In 2009 Timo Scheider despite a bout with feverish flu was leading the race on 75 of the 80 laps before Jamie Green managed to push past him. And last year Mattias Ekström was just 0.591 seconds short of taking victory.
In view of the extremely competitive field in the 2011 DTM Saturday’s qualifying will already play a role of predetermining the race. "This time it’ll probably be about thousandths of a second," suspects Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. In other words, only those who get everything perfectly right will have a chance of making it into the final qualifying segment on the city circuit and of clinching the pole position.
For the second time after 2007 Audi driver Martin Tomczyk is traveling to Nuremberg as the leader of the standings. The driver from Rosenheim, Bavaria, who lives in Switzerland, does not necessarily consider the Norisring his favorite track but has achieved good results there before. Last year he was the quickest Audi driver in qualifying. By taking two consecutive victories at the wheel of a year-old car Tomczyk has just written a small chapter of DTM history. And in view of the fact that both of the past two races at the Norisring were also won by year-old cars, Tomczyk can be expected to manage this feat in Nuremberg as well.
But the same applies to his brand colleagues too. Every single one of them is looking forward to the season’s highlight in Nuremberg. Whether or not Mike Rockenfeller will be able to compete after his severe accident at Le Mans, will only be decided shortly before the race.
1,000 Audi mechanics keep their fingers crossed
The expected turnout of 130,000 spectators at the Norisring will include 1 000 mechanics from the Audi partner companies in the Region South who will create an impressive sight wearing their red caps in the stone stands where a special area has been reserved for them. For the third time Audi is sponsoring the activity through which the brand wishes to thank the mechanics for their top day-to-day work in the garages of the dealerships and motivate them to continue their good work. That Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline at each of the first four DTM races of the 2011 season performed the quickest pit stop perfectly symbolizes "Audi Top Service" and sets an example for the mechanics.
Due to numerous other large-scale events on the first July weekend the fifth DTM race on Sunday, July 3, will start earlier than usual, at 1 p.m. ARD will begin to air live coverage on "Das Erste" at 12:45 (local time).
Other topics of the weekend
• Has Timo Scheider managed to permanently join the group of front runners?
• How will the weight advantage of the year-old cars pan out?
• How will the three DTM rookies be doing at the city street circuit in front of a large audience?
• Will Mattias Ekström be able to end his streak of misfortune?
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers
Filipe Albuquerque (26/P), TV Movie Audi A4 DTM #18 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
• Shows consistent improvement and most recently scored his first point with an eighth-place finish
• Set the third-fastest race lap at Lausitz
"This will be a difficult task because I’ve never been to the Norisring before. It’s a city street circuit with very aggressive tarmac and many bumps. Good knowledge of the track is very important there. The circuit has only three turns and the time gaps are extremely small. But my weekends in the DTM are getting increasingly better and more thrilling."
Mattias Ekström (32/S), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #8 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
• As the runner-up clinched his so far best Norisring result last year
• At Lausitz qualified for position three as the best Audi driver
"It’s always nice to go to the Norisring. It’s Audi’s home round. It would be great to drive another race there again that’s as good as last year’s was. Maybe it’ll even be a little bit better. In the team we’re giving everything for a good showing."
Rahel Frey (25/CH), Glamour Audi A4 DTM #15 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
• By finishing in 15th place at Lausitz equalized her so far best DTM performance
• Has seen the checkered flag at all DTM races
"I’ve never driven at the Norisring before. But I’m looking forward to this city street circuit with huge anticipation. I like street circuits. I know Pau and have always done well there. I’m really excited about this race. It’s time to set a highlight."
Oliver Jarvis (27/GB), Audi Sport performance cars A4 DTM #5 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
• In fourth place was the second-best Audi driver at the Norisring last year
• Has scored ten points in the current season
"At the Norisring I scored my best result of the season last year. It’s always great to compete there. The atmosphere is simply fantastic. My season is progressively improving. I want to clinch a good result there at all costs."
Miguel Molina (22/E), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #22 (Audi Sport Team Abt Junior)
• Was running in sixth place at Lausitz when he retired
• Contested the Nürburgring 24 Hours between Lausitz and the Norisring
"This is a nice circuit and it’s closely linked to the DTM legend. I want to give everything to be better there than I was last year when I had a weekend to forget. We should be able to easily do that. I’m already looking forward to the weekend."
Edoardo Mortara (24/I/F), Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
• Took the pole position last year in the Formula 3 Euro Series at the Norisring plus a victory
• With three points in the DTM standings remains the best rookie of the year
"Of course I know the Norisring well. I contested Formula 3 there for several years. I’ve won there before and was most of the time in the group of front runners. City circuits suit me well. And now we’ve got the advantage of our car weighing 25 kilos less than the new cars. Everyone says that that’s a big benefit. Hopefully that’s true. Nevertheless, you’ve got to give everything. As on any weekend I’ll deliver maximum performance."
Timo Scheider (32/D), AUTO TEST Audi A4 DTM #4 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
• Most recently clinched his best result of the season as the runner-up at Lausitz
• Was on the podium at the Norisring three years ago and on pole two years ago
"We’ve got some unfinished business at the Norisring. Two years ago I was leading the race almost up to the end. I’ve got fond memories of our performances there. In 2009 we were already on pole but an Audi victory has been missing in our track record for a few years. We need and want to change this. I’m hoping that with the tailwind from Lausitz we’ll finally be able to win. It would be nice to be on the top of the podium at the season’s midpoint. After a difficult start into the season I’ve managed to join the group of front runners. I’m hoping for things to continue this way."
Martin Tomczyk (29/D), Schaeffler Audi A4 DTM #14 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
• After two consecutive victories will arrive at Nuremberg as the new leader of the standings
• Started from position four as the best Audi driver at the Norisring last year
"Many people are asking me whether we’ll be able to continue our form. That’s hard to say because the Norisring has been a tough track for us in the past nine years. Jamie (Green) has won there before in a year-old car. I’m hoping for us to be able to do that too. It wouldn’t be bad if a year-old Audi car won there for a change."
Quotes by the officials
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport)
"The Norisring has always been tough terrain for us in recent years. Although we often came close it never worked out completely. Maybe we’ll be able to use the many good results we’ve scored as tailwind to finally clinch victory at the Norisring - the large crowd of Audi people lining the circuit would certainly be pleased to see that. And we’ll give everything to make it happen."
We’ll give everything to make it happen
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline):
"Motivation in the team is very high. Audi has shown that it is absolutely in contention for victory with both vehicle generations this season. We’ll try and deliver a top performance at the Norisring. We’re fully motivated and will give everything in front of our home audience. If we manage to take our performance from the Lausitzring to Nuremberg with us we’ll have a realistic chance of fighting for victory."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix):
"Obviously we want to again clinch a nice result at the Norisring now that we’ve got such a good flow. Nuremberg has seen a similar Mercedes dominance for years as Lausitz did until recently. Maybe now we’ll also be able to put a surprise on the track at the city race as we’ve got a weight advantage over the newer cars. We’ll do everything within our means to achieve another good result on the podium."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg):
"The Norisring is always a special venue. It’s the German Monaco. And I believe that with the stop-and-go rhythm on this track we’ve got pretty good chances with our cars as they weigh 25 kilograms less than the new vehicles. We’re traveling to Nuremberg with a lot of momentum and another point-finish in our pocket. We want to continue like that."