Timo Scheider in sixth place best Audi driver at Hockenheim.
Ingolstadt/Hockenheim - With an Audi RS 5 DTM at the front of the field, the new DTM season started at Hockenheim with 87,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) in attendance.
After 42 spectacular laps with plenty of on-track action and gripping overtaking maneuvers the opening round ended in a disappointment for Audi. With Timo Scheider and Mike Rockenfeller in positions six and eight, only two Audi drivers scored points.
Up to a safety car period on lap six he was engaged in a duel with the subsequent winner Augusto Farfus. While most of the drivers, including Farfus, immediately made their first mandatory pit stop Scheider was only called into the pits by his team a lap later, which caused him to drop to the end of the field.
Scheider managed to advance again from 18th place to position six. During his recovery he managed posting the third-fastest race lap. Shortly before the finish, the Audi driver still caught up with Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz) and Bruno Spengler (BMW) but was no longer able to attack the two DTM Champions.
Unfortunately, this wasnt our day, Timo Scheider said after the race. During the safety car period we didnt optimally respond. As a result, we threw away a better place. But the important thing is that we had the speed in the race were going to fully attack again at Brands Hatch.
Another driver to advance into the points was Mike Rockenfeller, who had started in the Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix from position 14. Despite losing some time due to a slow second pit stop and a few tussles, the 2010 Le Mans winner finished the season opener in eighth place.
Jamie Green (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM) tried to make up ground by a long last stint on option tires. For failure to comply with the track limit, the Briton initially received a lap penalty and subsequently a drive-through. As a result, Green had to settle for 14th place.
Miguel Molina suffered a puncture in his Audi RS 5 DTM right on the starting lap. Filipe Albuquerque (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM/Audi Sport Team Rosberg) received a drive-through penalty for exceeding the speed limit in the pit lane. Molina and Albuquerque finished the race in positions 15 and 16.
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM), Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM) and Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra RS 5 DTM) did not finish the race. Mattias Ekström damaged the front end of his RS 5 DTM in the commotion of the starting lap, subsequently lost the hood and ultimately had to give up because of damage to the driveline.
The front splitter of Edoardo Mortaras car was so heavily damaged on the starting lap that continuing to drive made no sense. Iron Man Adrien Tambay had to park his RS 5 DTM after only four laps due to a fire in the engine compartment.
That was a disappointing season opener for Audi, said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. None of our cars made it without any incidents.
Particularly frustrating was the fact that we didnt call Timo (Scheider) into the pits right on the first lap of the safety car, which deprived him of a possible podium finish.
That he was able to advance from 18th all the way to sixth place by achieving strong lap times shows that more would have been possible today.
The next DTM race is on the calendar at Brands Hatch on the outskirts of London (Great Britain) only two weeks from now.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): The fans experienced a really thrilling DTM season opener. The new DRS wing flap and the option tires produced the desired effect. We saw a wide variety of strategies, tough duels and brilliant overtaking maneuvers. All three manufacturers are close together. Obviously, the race didnt go the way wed have liked it to. We want to change that at Brands Hatch in two weeks from now.
Dieter Gass (Head of DTM): That was a disappointing season opener for Audi. None of our cars made it without any incidents. Particularly frustrating and a shame was the fact that we didnt call Timo (Scheider) into the pits right on the first lap of the safety car, which deprived him of a possible podium finish. That he was able to recover from 18th all the way to sixth place by achieving strong lap times shows that more would have been possible today.
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM), 6th place: I had a good start. Due to the tire situation Augusto (Farfus) and I were in agreement: We were going to use the opportunity to drive away from the field. When the DRS was active he overtook me. Afterward, I wanted to use the DRS but then the safety car period came and we didnt make the right decision in terms of timing the pit stop. Decisions like these are made within fractions of a second. We could have probably clinched a podium or victory today. When you look at how good our speed was toward the end thats pretty painful.
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM), 8th place: Qualifying was our problem this weekend because we were simply too far at the rear. In the race, we didnt get too many things wrong, except for the second pit stop at which we lost two seconds because something was jammed. Then I got stuck behind a brand colleague while I was in a battle with Bruno Spengler. Without these two minor incidents fifth place might have been possible but this way I finished in eighth place. On the one hand, thats a bit disappointing but when you finish in the points after starting from position 14 in a race with so many question marks, thats good damage containment.
Jamie Green (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM), 14th place: A tough race. My speed was okay, but not very strong. My main problem was that I was given a lap time penalty toward the end of the race and was to reduce my speed. But I couldnt judge how fast I was and braked. My engineer said that it wasnt enough so I had to brake again on the next lap. Later, I received a drive-through penalty. Thats a shame! Only because I once ran wider in turn one, which surely didnt give me any advantage, I lost 35 seconds.
Miguel Molina (Audi RS 5 DTM), 15th: After the puncture right at the beginning of the race I had a good pace. We were able to make good use of the option tires and in the end were fast on the standard tires as well. Im looking forward to Brands Hatch. I really like this track and am optimistic.
Filipe Albuquerque (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM), 16th place: It was a crazy race. At my first pit stop, the button for the pit lane speed limiter didnt work and I was too fast. Thats why I received a drive-through penalty. Afterward, things were going well. I subsequently received another penalty out of the blue because I was sure that I didnt drive over the line in turn one. Unfortunately, it was a race to forget.
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM), retirement: That wasnt a perfect start of the season. At the beginning, it wasnt easy on standard tires. When I lost the hood the car became even more difficult to drive. When something broke on the driveline and I had no more propulsion I was forced to give up.
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM), retirement: For us, it was a difficult race weekend. Now were hoping for Brands Hatch. Things can only get better.
Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra RS 5 DTM), retirement: It was another short race at Hockenheim. At the start, the handbrake didnt work. I jump-started and received a penalty. I later noticed that there was a loss in engine power and then the car caught on fire. We dont know the reason yet, weve still got to look into this. Hopefully, well be more fortunate the next time.
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): It was a very turbulent race with many position battles. Were sorry about not having called Timo (Scheider) in for a pit stop during the safety car period. But the communication took too much time, thats why he lost about 20 seconds. Still, we saw that weve got a good pace, especially with Timos car and we need to build on this.
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): As expected, it was a turbulent race. The new rules made for a lot of action. Were very pleased with Mike (Rockenfeller). He advanced from 14th place to position eight. If our pit stop had been optimal fourth or fifth place would have been possible. Miguel (Molina) suffered the misfortune of destroying an option tire on the starting lap. As a result, he had to contest the whole race on standard tires. He drove a superb race on them and had a good speed.
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): Unfortunately, this wasnt our weekend. After the start, Edo (Mortara) had body contact and damaged the front of his car. In addition, he was bumped in the rear so that his car was no longer drivable and we quit. Filipe (Albuquerque) had a good start and things were going well in terms of the strategy. We had an early pit stop and then the safety car came out, which was optimal. Filipe, unfortunately, was driving too fast in the pit lane and was penalized. Subsequently, there were two additional penalties.