English weeks for Audi Sport Ingolstadt, August 27, 2010 - Within the space of just eight days as many as two important races in the United Kingdom are on the agenda of the squad of Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: the British DTM...
English weeks for Audi Sport
Ingolstadt, August 27, 2010 - Within the space of just eight days as many as two important races in the United Kingdom are on the agenda of the squad of Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: the British DTM round at Brands Hatch on September 5 (starting at 1:45 p.m. CEST live on "Das Erste") and just one week later the 1000-kilometer race at Silverstone with the Audi R15 TDI diesel race sports car.
The toughest rival at Silverstone will be Peugeot, who Audi defeated at the famous Le Mans 24 Hours in June. Brands Hatch will see a continuation of the prestige duel against Mercedes-Benz, which the Audi squad was able to decide in its favor three consecutive times, in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
With four out of six possible DTM titles since its comeback in 2004, Audi's track record in the DTM is impressive on the whole. Accordingly, everyone at Audi Sport and in the three teams is pursuing the aim of putting Audi back on a winning track in the 2010 season.
With respect to pole positions and fastest race laps, the score between Audi and Mercedes-Benz is still level at 3 after six of the eleven scheduled races. "This demonstrates that the A4 DTM continues to deliver the required performance, particularly since the technology has been frozen compared with last year's," says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "At the first six races there have simply been too many minor mistakes on our side which have cost us possible victories and podium places, and thus a better position in the championship as well. We need to return to a zero-defects job of the kind that enabled us to achieve our ninth exploit at Le Mans this year."
According to the law of averages Audi would be due for winning at Brands Hatch because ever since the DTM has been visiting the demanding roller-coaster circuit on the outskirts of London Audi and Mercedes-Benz have taken turns of scoring victories there. In 2006 Mattias Ekstrom triumphed, in 2007 Bernd Schneider, in 2008 Timo Scheider and in 2009 Paul Di Resta.
But the last two Brands Hatch races also showed how close the battles are fought on this track which with a length of 1.929 kilometers is the shortest circuit in the DTM year: in 2008 Timo Scheider prevailed with just a 0.793-second lead over Paul Di Resta. Last year the result was the other way around, but the gap almost as narrow: Scheider was just short of 0.896 seconds to Di Resta at the finish.
Due to the short track length at Brands Hatch hundredths and thousandths of a second in qualifying will yet again make a difference of several positions on the starting grid. And no less than 98 laps must be completed in the race. This makes the strategy particularly difficult for all the teams because it is nearly impossible to return to the track without hitting traffic after pitting. Hence conflicts like those between Bruno Spengler and Mike Rockenfeller in the most recent event at Zandvoort are practically pre-programmed.
Mattias Ekstrom to contest his 100th DTM race
Mattias Ekstrom, who as the best Audi driver is ranking in fourth place of the standings, 16 points behind Bruno Spengler, will contest his 100th DTM race at Brands Hatch. The statistical results which the 32-year-old Swede has achieved in the first 99 races of his DTM career are worthy of particular mention: 16 times he started from the pole position, 14 races were won by Ekstrom who in 2004 and 2007 won the champion's title as well. A total of 47 times the Audi driver finished on the podium (in 47.5 percent of all races) - which statistically translates into almost every second run. Plus, he has scored 475 points so far in his career, which equates to about 4.8 points per race.
Topics of the weekend
- Will Audi achieve its - overdue - first victory since Valencia?
- Will Timo Scheider's form curve continue to point upward?
- Will Mattias Ekstrom continue to be able to make up ground in the standings?
- How will Oliver Jarvis and Katherine Legge do in their home round?
- How will the Dunlop tires handle the compression after the "Paddock Hill" bend?
- Will "Magic" Molina be able to shine again?
- Will Markus Winkelhock's streak of misfortune come to an end?
Quotes by the officials
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Although we improved our performance at Zandvoort we haven't reached the place yet that we want to be at, which is the top of the podium. For Brands Hatch we'll continue to work on finding our way back to our success story."
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "We always enjoy traveling to Brands Hatch where we've had good experiences. Everyone is eager to take the performance we regained at Zandvoort to Brands Hatch and hoping for that little bit of fortune we need to be at the very front again."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "In the United Kingdom we're competing in the mother country of motorsport. The fans there are particularly loyal and we want to deliver a good showing to them at Brands Hatch. With the lighter 2008-specification vehicles we'll be able to compete at the front of the field. We'll give everything to finally make Audi win again. From a strategic perspective, Brands Hatch will be very difficult. Finding a time window for calling the car in and sending it back out without hitting traffic is the special, additional challenge at this race. To the teams making the more fortunate choices in this respect, the differences amount to not just one but several positions."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Brands Hatch is always worth a visit. It's the home round for our driver Katherine Legge. She wants to make a particularly good showing in front of her home audience. She drove a good race at Zandvoort as well. Maybe we can continue that way. In the case of Markus (Winkelhock) we're clearly setting our sights on the points we finally need to score."
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers
Mattias Ekstrom (32/S), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #5 (Audi Sport Team Abt
- Won the DTM's first round at Brands Hatch in 2006
- Clinched as many as three podium places in four races
- Will contest his 100th DTM race at Brands Hatch "I've had several exploits at Brands Hatch as well as some misfortune. But this year I'm looking forward to the next run. It would really be nice to finish on the podium there."
Oliver Jarvis (26/GB), Tabac Original Audi A4 DTM #2 (Audi Sport Team
- Finished in the points for the first time at his home round last year
- Started from row three as the best driver of a year-old car in 2008 "It's great to be back in the UK and to run at Brands Hatch. It's one of my favorite tracks. I'm hoping for a successful race and many points. I want to fight for a podium position. The track is pretty difficult. It's very short but every mistake in qualifying costs you dear because of the small time gaps. Overtaking is very difficult there, so the grid positions predetermine the outcome of the race."
Katherine Legge (30/GB), Glamour Audi A4 DTM #15 (Audi Sport Team
- Gained several places at Zandvoort thanks to a good strategy by her team
- The circuit is located just about 80 kilometers away from her native Guildford "I'm very much looking forward to my home race. Friends and family will cheer me on there. It really looks like the older cars will be very fast there, too. Obviously, I know the track like the back of my hand. I do expect quite a bit of this round."
Miguel Molina (21/E), Audi Bank A4 DTM #18 (Audi Sport Rookie Team Abt)
- Will compete at Brands Hatch for the first time
- Drove his best race most recently at Zandvoort "Brands Hatch will be another new track for me at which I want to be competitive as quickly as possible. I'll try and be as good there as I was at Zandvoort. I'm very confident that our team will manage this."
Alexandre Premat (28/F), TV Movie Audi A4 DTM #9 (Audi Sport Team
- Started from grid position three in the year-old car as the best Audi driver in 2007
- Has finished in the points just once so far at Brands Hatch "I'm looking forward to driving on the UK track. Obviously, the race is about scoring as many points as possible for Audi and Team Phoenix. The circuit is incredibly short, which makes it very special. You complete one lap in just about 40 seconds. That's why the large number of 98 laps makes the race seem very long. It takes a lot of concentration."
Mike Rockenfeller (26/D), S line Audi A4 DTM #10 (Audi Sport Team
- Last year clinched seventh place as his best Brands Hatch result so far
- Was heading for points at Zandvoort before being turned around by a rival "We're driving the short circuit version at Brands Hatch again this year. So the race will be particularly exciting and close. As always, qualifying will be crucial. Everything's got to fit perfectly. After the disappointing result at Zandvoort I'm hoping to score points again at Brands Hatch and to drive a normal race without body contact."
Timo Scheider (31/D), GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #1 (Audi Sport Team
- Finished the past two rounds at Brands Hatch on the podium
- Dominated the 2008 round with pole position, victory and fastest lap
- Started the race from row one in both of the past two years "Brands Hatch no doubt is a track that suited me really well in the past two years. I won there, started from pole and finished in second place as well. So I've got very fond memories of this circuit. I'm traveling to Brands Hatch with a lot of motivation, particularly after my pole position and recovery in the race at Zandvoort. We're hoping to be able to continue this performance."
Martin Tomczyk (28/D), Red Bull Cola Audi A4 DTM #6 (Audi Sport Team Abt
- Achieved two podium results in four races at Brands Hatch
- Second place three years ago was his best result "Brands Hatch is a very short circuit, but it's fun to drive it, too. At Zandvoort, Mercedes was stronger than we'd thought. The field should be pretty well-balanced at Brands Hatch although we'll only know this for sure once we're there. But I am looking forward to this track even though it's the smallest and shortest one on the calendar."
Markus Winkelhock (30/D), Playboy/GW:plus Audi A4 DTM #14 (Audi Sport
- Eleventh place has been his best result at Brands Hatch to date
- Is still without points in the 2010 season "I'm looking forward to Brands Hatch and hope that my run of bad luck will end there because it's pretty depressing. I'm looking ahead and believe that things will get better. Brands Hatch is definitely a track I enjoy and that suits me well. My motivation is strong despite the fact that I'm not experiencing a 'high' at the moment. That's why I'm hoping for things to start looking up again as soon as possible."
Oliver Jarvis about Brands Hatch: "Brands Hatch is a fascinating circuit with a lot of tradition. Although the Indy Car circuit is very short, I'd say it was a very difficult one. It only takes the smallest mistakes in the qualifying sessions to drop back a number of starting positions because the time differentials are so minute. My favorite section is the Paddock Hill bend, which is one of the best and most challenging corners around. How you come out of the bend is also crucial so that you can really put your foot down up to Druids Bend. This is the most important section for overtaking maneuvers. What makes Brands Hatch so special is that the spectators in the grandstands above Brabham Straight can see the entire circuit and therefore don't miss a thing."
Brands Hatch 2009 flashback
By finishing the race as the runner-up, Timo Scheider continued to extend his lead of the standings. The Audi driver had to admit a merely 0.896-second defeat to Paul Di Resta. With Martin Tomczyk in third place, another Audi driver achieved a podium position. Mattias Ekstrom finished fifth and defended his position as the runner-up in the standings. A total of five Audi drivers scored points at Brands Hatch. The best driver of a year-old car was Mike Rockenfeller in seventh place.