• Martin Tomczyk travels to Valencia with a nine-point advantage
• With six victories, Audi is the most successful brand of the season
• Last year’s winner Mattias Ekström is still in the title race too
Advantage for Audi in the DTM: Martin Tomczyk is traveling to the penultimate race of the season at Valencia, Spain (Sunday, October 2, starting at 1:45 p.m. - local time - live on "Das Erste") as the leader of the standing and with a nine-point advantage over his immediate rival Bruno Spengler (Mercedes). This means that the Audi driver will have the first match ball.
If he scores two more points than Bruno Spengler at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo he would be the early DTM Champion - and the first one in the history of the most popular international touring car series at the wheel of a year-old car, as Tomczyk’s Schaeffler Audi A4 DTM with chassis number R14-506 has been in use for four years.
In 2008 it was the car in which Mattias Ekström raced for Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline and in which he clinched three victories in that season. In 2009 Audi Sport Team Phoenix took over the vehicle which was then driven by Mike Rockenfeller for two years and could now help Martin Tomczyk to achieve the biggest success in his career.
Past events speak in favor of the Bavarian from Rosenheim who lives in Switzerland. Four times in the history of the new DTM an Audi factory driver was heading the standings two races before the end of the season. And not once did the competition manage to turn the tables in the final sprint. Mattias Ekström won the title early at Brno in 2004. In 2007 (Ekström again), 2008 and 2009 (Timo Scheider in both years) the decision was made at the Hockenheim finale, after memorable penultimate races at Barcelona (2007), Le Mans (2008) and Dijon (2009).
A nine-point advantage means that Tomczyk can wrap it all up at Valencia on his own power. If he wins, he’ll be champion. If he finishes as the runner-up in front of Bruno Spengler, he’ll be champion too. If the Canadian, as he most recently did at Oschersleben, scores no points, Tomczyk would only need to finish in seventh place to achieve the early title win.
The track record of the season so far speaks in favor of the 29-year-old as well. He is the only driver to have finished all eight races in the points. Three of them he won, at six events he mounted the podium, and not once did he finish below fifth place. 7.25 points Tomczyk has so far scored on average - an impressive rate.
Last year, "MT" proved that the 4005-kilometer circuit on the outskirts of Valencia, which is driven in counter-clockwise direction, suits him. From ninth on the grid he pushed forward to second place in the race.
His team, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, has fond memories of the Spanish race track as well. Alexandre Prémat finished third last year, Mike Rockenfeller took sixth place - this meant that Ernst Moser’s team scored points with both cars in 2010.
In total, Audi showed a strong performance at Valencia last year. In qualifying, eight A4 DTM cars took the top eleven grid positions and five Audi vehicles finished in the points.
The interim statistics of the 2011 season reflect similar results. The brand with the four rings won six out of eight races and four Audi drivers, Martin Tomczyk, Mattias Ekström, Timo Scheider and Mike Rockenfeller, are in the top five of the standings. Edoardo Mortara follows them closely in eighth place, as the best rookie.
From a purely mathematical perspective, Mattias Ekström still has title chances as well. The Swede from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline won two of the last three races and is traveling to Valencia as last year’s winner. By clinching two victories Ekström could still become champion if Tomczyk scored only one point at the last two races. But that is not what the Swede is wishing for with respect to Tomczyk. Ekström and Tomczyk have been team-mates for many years and are also personal friends. Mattias Ekström would be happy, too, to see a DTM champion named Tomczyk.
Other topics of the weekend
- Will Miguel Molina be able to shine at his home race?
- Will Edoardo Mortara overtake Mercedes drivers Green and Schumacher in the standings?
- Will Audi manage to clinch the fourth consecutive victory after the Nürburgring, Brands Hatch and Oschersleben?
Quotes by the officials
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):
"The DTM visited Valencia for the first time last year. We were very good there on the whole and our A4 DTM was extremely strong.
I’m hoping that our cars will again have the same performance capabilities as last year
Due to a few mistakes in the race we didn’t squeeze the maximum result out of it though. I’m hoping that our cars will again have the same performance capabilities as last year. And we’ll definitely not make the same mistakes again. That’s why I’m optimistic about Spain and hope that Martin (Tomczyk) will be able to convert his first match ball right away."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline):
"You could see at the last races that we are a team that sticks together and can handle pressure. We’ve shown that before with the total of five DTM titles we clinched with and for Audi. Now the moment of truth has come again. We’ll continue to try and help as best we can to bring great pleasure to the Audi brand, the fans and the team. Things were already going very well last year at Valencia. That means we’ve got optimum prerequisites."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix):
"With so much tailwind, and such a good performance over the whole season we’re obviously aiming for the decision at Valencia. Martin (Tomczyk) was extremely quick there in the race last year. We want to be at the very front. Naturally, that builds up mental pressure but our work remains the same. We know the capabilities of our Audi A4 DTM. We’re going to analyze the data from last year once more and go into the weekend directly with that set-up. The team believes that the title is achievable, and so do I. I wish Rahel (Frey) an even luckier race. Hardly anyone takes note of how fast she is."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg):
"After two consecutive podiums we’re particularly motivated. Now we’re traveling to Spain. I must admit that I’m definitely hoping for rain at the two remaining races. And I’m hoping for Filipe (Albuquerque) to finally shake off his misfortune. Valencia is a fabulous city with a nice atmosphere. And, naturally, the weather will be good there more than likely…"
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers
Filipe Albuquerque (26/P), TV Movie Audi A4 DTM #18 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
- Proved his skills at Oschersleben by setting the best times in both free practice sessions
- Is shooting for his second points finish of the season at Valencia
- A week later will contest the finale of the Blancpain Endurance Series in the Audi R8 LMS in third place of the standings
"I know Valencia pretty well. This track on the DTM calendar is also the one most closely located to my native Portugal. I want to make a strong showing with a good race rhythm there. Apparently, the lap times per se aren’t a big problem for me at the moment. I’ve got to just keep cool and concentrate on my task."
Mattias Ekström (33/S), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #8 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
- With a track record of 16 wins and two titles is the most successful Audi driver
- Travels to Valencia as last year’s winner
"I clinched victory at Valencia last year. I liked the track straight from the start. I’ve also learned that every weekend is a new experience. I’m determined to give my best again. If it’s good enough for victory, I’ll be very happy. If it’s not enough for victory I’ll take what I get. But this much is sure: we’ll again do everything to show top performances from Friday to Sunday."
Rahel Frey (25/CH), Glamour Audi A4 DTM #15 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
- At her eighth DTM race, at Oschersleben, achieved twelfth place as her so far best result
- Finished a race yet again in extremely difficult track conditions
"Valencia is the penultimate race of my first DTM season. It’ll probably be a great challenge and I’m already looking forward to it. Everyone’s making an effort to recommend themselves for the next season. And so am I! It would be important for me to make another step forward as I did at Brands Hatch. We’ll do everything to make this happen and definitely attack. I know the track and am eager to see what will be possible in the end."
Oliver Jarvis (27/GB), Audi Sport performance cars A4 DTM #5 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
- Third place at Oschersleben was his second-best qualifying result after position two at Spielberg
- Contested his 40th DTM race at Oschersleben
- Was running in third place at Valencia last year when he was forced to retire due to a fuel pressure problem
"I had a nice race at Valencia last year until a fuel pressure problem thwarted our chances for success. I’ve got to show a good race at Valencia because we’ve had four difficult weekends. I definitely want to mount the podium again before the end of the season."
Miguel Molina (22/E), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #22 (Audi Sport Team Abt Junior)
- Clinched the first pole position in his career at Oschersleben
- Has started scoring points
- Is contesting his 20th DTM race at Valencia
"Since Valencia is my home race I’m looking forward to it very much. You’re particularly motivated for such a race. Last weekend we showed that we’re really good in qualifying. In the race I’ve got to improve some more. I’ve got the feeling that Valencia will be a good weekend."
Edoardo Mortara (24/I/F), Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
- After third place at Brands Hatch, mounted the podium again at Oschersleben
- In eighth place of the standings, is by far the best rookie of the year
"I don’t have any idea yet what to expect at Valencia. But I’m hoping that another nice result will be possible there. Last year, the event there went really well for Audi. The A4 DTM can be set up really well. In 2010 I won the first race of the Formula 3 Euro Series after starting from pole. I like the layout of the circuit very much, even though it’s not my very favorite track. But after the good weekends at the Norisring, in Munich, at the Nürburgring, at Brands Hatch and at Oschersleben I’m hoping for the next good result."
Mike Rockenfeller (27/D), E-POSTBRIEF Audi A4 DTM #9 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
- Previously improved at Oschersleben by four positions to sixth place
- In sixth place, was the second-best driver at Valencia last year in a year-old car
"Valencia is a circuit I like very much. That’s why I’m looking forward to it again. I’m hoping for us to manage a flawless weekend there from the beginning to the end. I’m very confident. Audi was very strong there a year ago. Martin (Tomczyk) in particular was very quick there with my current car. I’d like to manage that this year as well and score important points. I want to move forward a bit more in the championship."
The way it looks, we won’t see any rain there
Timo Scheider (32/D), AUTO TEST Audi A4 DTM #4 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
- Posted the second-fastest race lap at Oschersleben
- Last year, started into his 100th DTM race with number 100 at Valencia and in the end took fourth place
"A year ago Valencia unfortunately wasn’t really my track. After two zero rounds it’s time for us to clinch some decent points there. I’ve already had two frustrating weekends. The way it looks, we won’t see any rain there. I want to score some valuable points."
Martin Tomczyk (29/D), Schaeffler Audi A4 DTM #14 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
- Has extended his lead of the standings by eight to nine points
- Was the runner-up at the Valencia circuit last year but was disqualified due to a tire from the wrong batch
- Has driven 111 DTM races in his career
"Valencia is a tremendous circuit. We drove there for the first time last year. Audi clinched a fantastic victory with Mattias Ekström. It’s a very balanced track. The chances are probably very high that we’ll have dry conditions at Valencia. We didn’t experience that in the past two DTM races. Arriving at Valencia with a nine-point advantage is a nice buffer. But we need to continue to work hard and in a focused manner. Oschersleben showed how quickly something can happen."