• Last race for the top seller before the model change
• Martin Tomczyk travels to Hockenheim as new champion
• Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline battles for team title
43 pole positions, 31 fastest race laps, 34 victories and five champion's titles - this is the impressive track record of the Audi A4 DTM since its debut in April 2004 at Hockenheim. The venue at which AUDI AG's top seller contested its first DTM race will now also see the final grand appearance of this successful model.
The DTM finale at the Hockenheimring from October 21 to 23 will mark the 84th and - for the time being - last racing commitment for the Audi A4 DTM in the most popular international touring car racing series. In 2012 a set of new Technical Regulations will come into effect in the DTM, which provides for the fielding of two-door coupes. The A4 DTM will be replaced by the A5 DTM that celebrated its world debut at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt in September and will be doing a "trial" lap at Hockenheim together with its future competitors directly before the start of the DTM race.
Fans can not only look forward to the new A5 DTM though. The finale itself promises to deliver suspense galore despite the well-deserved early title win by Martin Tomczyk from Audi Sport Team Phoenix. Mattias Ekström, the 2004 and 2007 DTM Champion, is ranking only two points behind Bruno Spengler in the standings and thus has good chances of winning the "vice champion's" title - particularly since the Swede is in supreme form at the moment. He won three of the last four races and finished as the runner-up once.
For Ekström's squad the race at Hockenheim will still be about winning the team classification. Before the last race Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline has a five-point advantage and thus the chance of winning this title for the third time, after 2004 and 2007. All points scored by Ekström and his team-mate Mike Rockenfeller will be added to the team's tally. Their rivals are Gary Paffett and Bruno Spengler.
The "Rookie of the Year" title has already been decided. It will go to Edoardo Mortara from Audi Sport Team Rosberg. The Italian who lives in Switzerland has scored as many as 21 points in his first DTM career - more than all of the other four newcomers combined.
Another Audi racer - Filipe Albuquerque - is the second-best rookie. The Portuguese most recently shone at Valencia as the runner-up. This means that no fewer than seven different Audi drivers mounted the podium this year - which clearly shows the good balance of the 2011 Audi driver squad.
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich is now faced with the tough task of forming the squad for the 2012 DTM season from this high-caliber line-up. Therefore, every single one of them will give everything at the finale to leave a good impression and to recommend himself for the new A5.
Martin Tomczyk has already done so a long time ago. The new DTM Champion will start into the finale with a large "1" displayed on the roof of his Audi A4 DTM - a greeting from Audi's partner Schaeffler to the new champion. The 29-year-old has definitely earned the "1" after this season. Three times he was on the top of the podium, seven times on the podium in total, none of the races saw him finish below fifth place and at Valencia he immediately converted his first "match ball." Accordingly, Tomczyk can tackle the race at Hockenheim in a relaxed manner and enjoy the final showing of the Audi A4 DTM, the race touring car that - after Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider - has now also helped him achieve the DTM title and so far greatest success in his career.
The final appearance of the Audi A4 DTM will be broadcast live by ARD on "Das Erste": Coverage of qualifying on Saturday (October 22) will start at 1:40 p.m. and of the race on Sunday (October 23) at 1:45 p.m. (local times).
Other topics of the weekend
- Will Martin Tomczyk be able to complete his string of top-five results?
- Will another Audi driver - Miguel Molina manage a podium finish?
- Will Rahel Frey be able to achieve a highlight at the end of the season?
Quotes by the officials
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):
"I'm convinced that the DTM finale at Hockenheim will be a tremendous race. There are many who are still viewing the event as a chance to present themselves for the 2012 season by winning this season's finale. I do think though that it'll be difficult there to keep Mattias Ekström in his current form from being in contention for victory again. This means that the outcome is completely open and it's definitely well worth for the fans to travel to the DTM finale - not least because they'll be able to see the new DTM cars 2012 there in action on a race track for the first time."
I'm convinced that the DTM finale at Hockenheim will be a tremendous race
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline):
"Hockenheim is an important race for us because there are still quite a few things for us to clinch there: the runner-up spot for Mattias Ekström and the team title for Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. Everyone can drive freely, and if we should win the official team title, there'll be a party again. That would be a nice way for us to close the season."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix):
"We've got a race without pressure coming up because we've already won the title. Martin (Tomczyk) can start from the grid with a feeling of relief and we'll be working with a feeling of relief. That way, we can also achieve a lot on one of Martin's favorite tracks. And we definitely want to move Rahel (Frey) forward once more. She knows this track very well. At Valencia she had to step back a bit at the pit stops, so now we want to give something back to her."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg):
"Hockenheim will be fantastic. The championship has been decided; everything will be more relaxed; everyone will be driving without tactical considerations. And this is the home race for Audi Sport Team Rosberg from Neustadt an der Weinstraße. The track suits us and both drivers have already been on the podium in their first DTM season. After having clinched three consecutive podium finishes and two third places plus a second place I'd like to win for a change."
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers
Filipe Albuquerque (26/P), TV Movie Audi A4 DTM #18 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
- By taking position two on the grid and finishing the race as the runner-up experienced his breakthrough at Valencia
- Between Valencia and Hockenheim helped Greg Franchi win the Blancpain Endurance Series in the Audi R8 LMS of the WRT team
"I'm hoping for things to be going better for me at Hockenheim than they did at the beginning of the season. I learned a lot in my first DTM season. And the result at Valencia came at the right time. That gives me a personal boost and the team, too, knows what we can achieve. We're competing there without pressure. Maybe we'll clinch a podium, and if not, then at least a place in the points. That should be realistic."
Mattias Ekström (33/S), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #8 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
- After his third victory this season, still has good chances of taking the "vice champion's" title
- Was the runner-up at the Hockenheim season opener
- Most recently, at Valencia, started from the top spot on the grid
"It's always nice to travel to Hockenheim. It will conclude the season. This time I'm arriving there completely relaxed and will try to deliver a solid performance. I want to clinch another good result before we can look forward to the winter break and the tests with the new A5 DTM."
Rahel Frey (25/CH), Glamour Audi A4 DTM #15 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
- With a 14th-place finish achieved her second-best result of the season at Valencia
- In qualifying most recently in Spain was quicker than Susie Stoddart
- Is completing her first DTM season with Audi at Hockenheim
"I'm tremendously looking forward to Hockenheim. That'll be the grand finale. We already drove there at the beginning of the year. I want to make another step forward. We'll continue to work hard. My last third of the race at Valencia was very good. But the result didn't match my performance. So we'll give everything again to see a great ending of the season. After that, we'll have the big party."
Oliver Jarvis (27/GB), Audi Sport performance cars A4 DTM #5 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
- At Valencia, scored points for the third time this year
- Is completing his fourth season with Audi at Hockenheim
"Now the last race of the season is coming up. The championship has already been won, 'well done' to Martin (Tomczyk)! We can all attack again. I want to finish the season with a good result."
Miguel Molina (22/E), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #22 (Audi Sport Team Abt Junior)
- At his home round in Spain took fifth place as his best result of the season
- Scored points for the second consecutive time
- Drove his 20th DTM race at Valencia
"Hockenheim is a track I like. That's where I drove my first DTM race. It's a good opportunity to show once more what's possible. I scored points at Valencia and I want to do that again at Hockenheim."
Edoardo Mortara (24/I/F), Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
- As the best newcomer in the season's standings cannot be overtaken by any other rookie anymore
- Has already clinched two podium results in the second half of the season
- Celebrated victory at the Formula 3 finale at Hockenheim last year
"I think that I could manage a pretty good result at the finale. Pure speed was very good in the past few races. The new Audi A4 DTM is excellent. In qualifying though I'm still making too many mistakes. If I improve, then a really good event is possible. That would be important after the disappointing Valencia weekend."
Mike Rockenfeller (27/D), E-POSTBRIEF Audi A4 DTM #9 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
- Started from the first row and mounted the podium at Hockenheim last year
- Has 50 DTM races under his belt
- Ranking in fifth place of the standings, wants to close the season with a good result
"I want to drive another good race at our season finale. The past races were a bit difficult. I've got something to make up at Hockenheim because at the first race of the year we had a defect on the car there. The race wasn't much to write home about, but qualifying went well. I'm hoping for my car to be exactly the way I need it to be, and then I'd like to win there."
Timo Scheider (32/D), AUTO TEST Audi A4 DTM #4 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
- Drove the fastest race lap at Valencia
- Scheider is the only Audi driver so far to have won the Hockenheim finale, three years ago
- Started from position one at Hockenheim last fall
"Hockenheim will be the grand finale. It means free driving for us. We can still win the team championship for Abt. This has to be our goal. And my personal interest is to win a race. It would be nice if I could still manage that at the finale."
Martin Tomczyk (29/D), Schaeffler Audi A4 DTM #14 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
- Will arrive at Hockenheim as the early title winner
- The Bavarian is the only driver to have scored points at each round
- The new champion is aiming for his eighth podium finish at the tenth race
"Arriving at Hockenheim as DTM Champion will be a new experience for me. It's a nice track and great conclusion for the DTM. Audi is still battling for a couple of things. Mattias (Ekström) can still become the runner-up and Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline can still win the team championship. There's no doubt that everyone will be trying to make a few more marks, and to run at the very front of the field."