Audi wins at Brands Hatch and extends DTM lead Ingolstadt/Brands Hatch -- At the eighth DTM round at Brands Hatch, Audi celebrated their fourth win of the 2008 season. In unstable weather conditions Timo Scheider defended an extremely narrow...
Audi wins at Brands Hatch and extends DTM lead
Ingolstadt/Brands Hatch -- At the eighth DTM round at Brands Hatch, Audi celebrated their fourth win of the 2008 season. In unstable weather conditions Timo Scheider defended an extremely narrow lead against Mercedes driver Paul di Resta on the British circuit. In front of 26,800 spectators (throughout the weekend) Timo Scheider thus extended his leadership of the standings to nine points. Mattias Ekstrom shone with a brilliant recovery from seventh to third place.
Thanks to a strong performance by the whole team Audi claimed victory at Brands Hatch and, after a fierce fight, clinched another podium position that was not necessarily to be expected. Thanks to an excellent job done by his Audi Team Abt Sportsline pit crew Timo Scheider converted his fourth pole position of the year into a flawless start-finish victory. Even when drizzling rain set in the German at the wheel of his Audi A4 DTM demonstrated his driving skills on slicks and remained in front after both pit stops.
During the overtaking manoeuvres -- the front runners lapped the backmarkers on the 1.929-kilometre short circuit twice -- Mercedes-Pilot Paul di Resta on several occasions came within just a few tenths of the race leader. Timo Scheider kept cool even in those situations and, in the end, won with a 0.793-second lead. In addition to the best time in qualifying and his second win of the season, the 29-year-old Audi factory driver set the fastest race lap as well. He is now heading the standings nine points ahead of Jamie Green. This gives Scheider the biggest advantage so far since taking the lead at the second DTM round at Oschersleben in April.
Last year's champion Mattias Ekstrom completed the current DTM leader's success with an equally remarkable performance. After having started only from seventh place on the grid after a defect in qualifying, Ekstrom tackled his 80th DTM race with a different strategy than his team-mates. Using clever tactics, his team delayed the two mandatory pit stops. When the Swede pitted for the second time on lap 59 his crew even managed to perform the quickest stop of all teams. This enabled Ekstrom, who had previously led the race, to get into third place after going out again. With his fourth podium position in the current season, with three more races to go, Ekstrom maintains his position on the heels of his immediate rivals in the standings, Jamie Green and Paul di Resta, who -- respectively -- have only a one-point advantage. Ekstrom is one of just two drivers who have scored points at each race this year.
Martin Tomczyk was the third Audi driver to manage the leap into the top five. He entertained the British fans with spectacular duels and defeated the DTM runner-up, Bruno Spengler, who had to settle for position six in the final result. Tom Kristensen -- in seventh place -- completed the quartet of the new Audi A4 DTM cars finishing in the points.
The Frenchman Alexandre Premat was the fifth Audi driver to clinch a result among the top ten. He was followed by his brand colleagues Markus Winkelhock, Oliver Jarvis, Mike Rockenfeller and Christijan Albers.
Exactly ten points separate the top four drivers before the race at Barcelona. The first of the three last rounds of the season will be staged three weeks from now at the Circuit de Catalunya on 21 September.
Quotes after the race
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "I'm very satisfied with the result. Driving from pole to first place may sound like an easy thing to do, but we know that's not the case. Timo had to show his full performance, and that's what he did. Mattias Ekstrom drove from seventh place to third. That's a real feat as well -- both on his part and the part of the team, which enabled a good strategy. We can be happy in every respect. But we also know that a nine-point lead in the DTM -- with three more races to go -- doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot. However, we've got two drivers within a striking distance to the championship title, which is very good."
Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #10): "The pole position, the fastest race lap and victory -- that was simply a fantastic day today. Now we can really celebrate and then tackle the final spurt of the season with the last three races. I came to Brands Hatch feeling a little on edge because things didn't go that well for me here in the past two years. I analysed lots of data and watched video footage to get everything right this weekend. Obviously, this helped and was one of the keys to success today. I'd like to thank Audi and my mechanics from Abt Sportsline for their great support. But I also want to thank our rivals from Mercedes, who practised fair play on the track today in every respect, even while being lapped. This way, racing is really fun."
Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #1): "I came to Brands Hatch to win the race. But after my gearbox problems in qualifying I unfortunately had to change my goals a bit. Driving from seventh on the grid onto the podium is a fantastic thing. My A4 was strong in the race, I was able to attack and overtake -- so, at the end of the day, I'm satisfied with the result. The fight for the championship isn't over yet. Although a ten-point gap to Timo (Scheider) is a lot, quite a bit can happen in the DTM, particularly during the dramatic final phase of the season."
Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #2): "Last year I had a good strategy here, this time things were going perfectly with 'Eki' which is important of course in view of the championship. After each of my stops I was slowed by a Mercedes. That was less than fortunate, but I'm not totally unsatisfied either, although I'd wished for a better result."
Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM #9): "At the last race I was on pole, here I had to start from twelfth place. That's why I had to use the right mix of attacking and playing it safe. I managed a good start, almost passed 'Rocky' and Bernd Schneider on the outside, but then was hit and had to make an evasive manoeuvre on the grass. That cost me three positions. Then I attacked again and managed overtaking three cars on the track, the rest of the ground I made up thanks to a good strategy and the speedy job of my boys during the pit stops. I almost caught Spengler as well but my tyres were worn too much by then."
Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM #14): "This was certainly not an easy race but I'm very satisfied, at least I advanced from 15th to tenth place. That's more than I'd expected."
Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19): "At the start I unfortunately lost one or two places. Later I was stuck behind Alexandre Premat. My car was faster but I couldn't get past him. That's why my race was pretty unspectacular."
Oliver Jarvis (Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM #15): "At the start I made up one position but on the following laps 'Eki' and Jamie Green managed to overtake me. At the first pit stop I lost another position to Gary Paffett, who pitted earlier. While trying to attack him, I briefly left the track and lost even more ground. It just wasn't my day."
Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #18): "It could have turned out to be a pretty good race. Unfortunately, a failed stop prevented that. Too bad."
Christijan Albers (Audi A4 DTM #21): "Today our strategy wasn't great, which is why we lost a lot of positions. We need to analyse the data to find out exactly what went wrong. Our pit stops didn't work out, our pace was basically not that bad, because I overtook two Mercedes rivals. The result wasn't good enough. We want to improve in the next race."
Katherine Legge (Audi A4 DTM #20): "Unfortunately, the race didn't go well -- we were simply struck by misfortune. In the second and third sector our times were pretty good. Unfortunately, the first pit stop wasn't good. We could have been among the top twelve if I hadn't been hit by Mercedes drivers twice. There was nothing I could do in those situations."
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "The fans saw a sensational race with every possible facet. Congratulations to Timo, he made absolutely no mistakes. Martin and Tom drove a good race as well. Mattias Ekstrom, who fought to recover from seventh to third place, was probably a special highlight of the race. I can only thank my whole team for this superb performance. Only if everyone works together as flawlessly as we did today, can you end up this far in front."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "A superb result for Audi with places one and three. We'd been hoping for a better result for Oliver Jarvis than twelfth place, but at least Alexandre Premat recovered from 15th to tenth place. Both of our cars finished in the middle of the field, this is an acceptable bottom-line result even though more would have been possible."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "With Markus, the pace was good. Unfortunately, he didn't manage making a good start and lost a few places which he couldn't recover because he was slowed by another car. With 'Rocky' a power wrench, which had just been checked, broke during the first stop. I'm sorry that it hit him again of all people."