Difficult qualifying for Audi at Spielberg

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Extremely close time gaps at the Red Bull Ring.

Ingolstadt/Spielberg -  Close, closer, DTM: In the qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg (Austria), the time gaps, even for DTM conditions, were even closer than usual. Jamie Green in the Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg missed the pole position by a razor-thin margin of 91 thousandths of a second – and in spite of this the Briton had to settle for grid position six.

“Being the best Audi driver in sixth place is obviously not what we’d been hoping for,” said Green. “I’m happy that we made it into Q3. It shows that we did a good job. My car was basically good and I was only struggling a little in turn 1. My second lap would have been the fastest one but I had a bit of oversteer in the first corner. I’d like to thank my team that did a good job.”

Green was the only Audi driver to manage the leap into the top ten on Saturday evening in summer temperatures. Timo Scheider in the AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix as the second-best Audi driver will be starting from position 14. Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM) as the fastest driver of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline will be sharing the eighth row with his team-mate Miguel Molina (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM).

Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM) in 14th place was the second-best Audi driver in qualifying but, due to a grid penalty imposed at Moscow, will be moved by three positions towards the rear of the grid. He will be tackling the race from the ninth row together with Nico Müller (Audi Financial Services Audi RS 5 DTM).

Adrien Tambay (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM) and Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM) in 20th and 21st place were already eliminated in the first qualifying segment (Q1) – an unusual experience for both drivers.

“Naturally, this wasn’t a qualifying session to our liking,” said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. “Even in free practice, there were indications that we’d be having a difficult time here. The time gaps in qualifying were minimal. Jamie (Green) was only 91 thousandths of a second short of clinching the pole position. He and his team made the best of what was a difficult situation for us today. It’ll be a tough race for us, but the points are only awarded tomorrow and we’re not giving up.”

For the race on Sunday (start at 13.30 local time) heat and thunderstorms have been forecast. Audi has won two of the previous three DTM rounds at the Red Bull Ring.

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “We haven’t had as difficult a time in a DTM qualifying session as we had today in a long time and of course need to find out why, of all places, this was the case here at the Red Bull Ring because so far the RS 5 DTM has been fast on all tracks. Our two competitors are familiar with days like this one – now, unfortunately, it was our turn for a change. We’re going to do everything within our means to make the best of this starting base tomorrow, which certainly isn’t an easy one.”
 
Dieter Gass (Head of DTM): “Obviously, this was a pretty disappointing qualifying session for us today and it’s anything but what we were shooting for and been expecting here. We arrived here with vehicles that are well-placed in terms of the weight situation; on a track that we’ve traditionally been running well on – even in years when our basic vehicle performance on other tracks hadn’t been as good as it’s been in this season. Edo Mortara, for example, won at the Red Bull Ring in 2012, which had been a difficult year for us. This makes the result even harder to digest because, at the moment, we can’t see any clearly discernible reason why the qualifying session went for us the way it did.”

Jamie Green (Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 6: “For Audi, this is obviously a surprise. We’d have never thought that we wouldn’t have the right performance here. I suppose I personally did a pretty good job – just like the team did with the set-up of my car. I missed the pole position by less than a tenth of a second. It’s really strange: my colleagues are having such a difficult time and for me – with a perfect lap – even pole would have been possible. Normally, we’re stronger in the race than in qualifying. From grid position six, even victory is possible. So I’m optimistic.”

Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 14: “I’m starting in the middle of the field and I was the third-best Audi driver in qualifying. But of course it’s disappointing to be so far at the rear. We’ve got to analyze this now and battle in the race.”

Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 15: “It’s no doubt a bit disappointing to be so far at the rear. I’m hoping for us to have a better pace for the race tomorrow.”

Miguel Molina (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 16: “This morning we thought that we were well set for qualifying. But then the pace wasn’t right. But the race is tomorrow – and we’re hoping for a good race. We’ve got to look out with respect to the future because our competitors were faster.”

Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 17: “I think today more would have been possible. Jamie (Green) showed it. In the second qualifying segment, events took a bit of an unfortunate turn for me because Jamie, in front of me, slowed down a bit and subsequently I was too close to him Otherwise the top ten or top eight might have been possible. It’s very close and now we’ve got to look at the data. I’ve received a three-place grid penalty and will only be starting from position 17. But I’m not giving up – and the race isn’t over before the checkered flag is lowered.”

Nico Müller (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM), grid position 18:“ Due to a technical defect I wasn’t able to drive a lap in Q2. That was a bit painful because I had a smooth Q1 and was hoping for a place in the top ten. Now I’m wishing for a good race.”

Adrien Tambay (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 20: “There’s not much to be said. I gave everything. We need to analyze what went wrong today because we made no mistakes. Now we’ve got to work for the race.”

Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 21: “This isn’t the result I was wishing for because Spielberg is one of my favorite tracks on the DTM calendar. I had traffic in both of my stints and wasn’t able to improve. But we were also too slow and generally have got to work on our pace in qualifying. Now we need to find a good solution for the race.”

Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): “Naturally, we’re very unhappy with the qualifying session. We tried everything but the pace simply wasn’t there. Burying our heads in the sand now won’t help either. The race is tomorrow and that’s another day. Now we’re hoping for the best and are going to try and contain the damage and to score some decent points.”

Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): “It’s no doubt a bit frustrating to have only one Audi among the top 13 cars. We weren’t able to improve compared with the free practice session, which our competitors managed to do. If we’d have been a tenth quicker, we’d have been in the top eight. But unfortunately we didn’t manage this – and that’s why we’re so far at the back.

Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): “Obviously, it’s nice to be providing the best Audi. Sixth place – congratulations to Jamie (Green) and his guys. Good job! Of course what happened to Nico (Müller) was a shame. There was a generator or battery defect – we still need to analyze that. Too bad, because he was in Q2.”

Audi

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About this article
Series DTM
Event Spielberg
Sub-event Saturday qualifying
Track Red Bull Ring
Drivers Timo Scheider, Mattias Ekström, Mike Rockenfeller, Jamie Green, Edoardo Mortara, Adrien Tambay, Nico Muller
Article type Qualifying report

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