DTM to visit Zandvoort on the North Sea coast this weekend
Ingolstadt — The battle for the prestigious title of the best manufacturer is intensifying. Before the penultimate round of the DTM at Zandvoort next weekend (September 27 to 28) Audi and BMW are separated by only 18 points.
The advantage for the four rings: There is no other track of which the Audi drivers have as many fond memories as of the circuit located on the North Sea Coast about an hours drive from Amsterdam.
Many Audi drivers have special memories of the track
Two championship titles, seven race victories, 15 podium places, seven pole positions and five fastest race laps: Even the statistics show how comfortable the eight Audi drivers feel on the circuit at Zandvoort.
They are determined to take advantage of all these positive memories in order to clinch the manufacturers title for their brand. Two races before the end of the season Audi is trailing BMW by a very narrow margin in the manufacturers standings.
Zandvoort is inseparably linked to the career of Mattias Ekström. Almost exactly twelve years ago the Swede, on September 29, 2002, in his second DTM year, clinched his first victory there, which meant the title win for his team-mate Laurent Aiello marking the first of seven driver championship wins for Audi in the new DTM. The most recent title was won at Zandvoort as well. In 2013, Mike Rockenfeller sealed the deal early by finishing the race as the runner-up. Two years before, the German had celebrated his first ever DTM victory in the Netherlands.
My aim: I'll take the qualifying performance from the Lausitzring and the performance from the previous races and combine them into a perfect weekend.
Four times on pole but no victory scored to date: Timo Scheider has a very special relationship with Zandvoort. Particularly the 2003 race day is remembered by many motorsport fans as one of the most tragic moments in the new DTM. After starting from the pole position, Scheider commandingly led the race. Victory for the German, who at the time was still racing for another brand, seemed to be certain but then his team bungled the pit stop and the car was released on three wheels. Even today, Scheider has goose bumps when he talks about the encouraging applause by the crowd, and even by the mechanics in the pits of other manufacturers, while he was walking back to his team.
The 4.307-kilometer circuit has been on the race calendar every year since 2001 and in this season replaces the round in China that was cancelled. Zandvoort is regarded as one of the most challenging circuits in terms of driving skills due to its characteristics featuring crests, fast corners and several overtaking opportunities. Fine sand from the dunes often makes the tarmac alongside the racing line extremely slippery.
TV viewers can watch the DTM live: Das Erste will be airing live coverage from Zandvoort on Saturday starting at 14.30 and on Sunday starting at 13.15 (CEST). Tickets for the entire 2014 DTM season can be purchased online at www.audi-motorsport.com/dtm or telephonically on +49 841 89-47777.
Dieter Gass, Head of DTM: Manufacturers title remains Audi goal
Dieter Gass (Head of DTM): Zandvoort is a track that suited us really well in the past. Were aiming to clinch the good team result wed been wishing for at the Lausitzring and that certainly would have been possible following our good performance in qualifying. The title in the manufacturers classification remains our aim thats why bringing as many of our cars as possible into the points will be crucial.
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): Our team and our drivers have many fond memories of Zandvoort. Mattias (Ekström) won at Zandvoort three times and clinched his first ever victory there as well. As a team we celebrated Laurent Aiellos title in the championship at Zandvoort in 2002. The track suits us well and were going to do everything we can to attack in the manufacturers classification for Audi.
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): Following a second and a third place in the past two races, the logical conclusion would be victory at Zandvoort. Both of our drivers love the track and our car is fast there so all the prerequisites for winning the race exist.
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): Zandvoort is a really beautiful circuit and very demanding. Were looking forward to it and will leave no stone unturned so that our squad and our drivers will experience success.
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers
Mattias Ekström (36/S), Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM #7 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
Has won the race at Zandvoort three times before
Won for the first time in the DTM at Zandvoort in 2002
"Its no secret that Zandvoort is one of my absolutely favorite tracks. Ive won there three times and always enjoy traveling there. Not just because of my previous success but also because the track is simply great fun. My aim: I'll take the qualifying performance from the Lausitzring and the performance from the previous races and combine them into a perfect weekend."
Jamie Green (32/GB), Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM #21 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
Started from the second row at the Lausitzring
Is contesting his tenth DTM race at Zandvoort
"Zandvoort is a really cool track. Not as modern as many others, but with a lot of character. The fast corners are a real challenge for any race driver. Im looking forward to them. If the weekend goes smoothly then by all means a place on the podium or perhaps even my first victory for Audi will finally be possible."
Miguel Molina (25/E), Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM #8 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
Is contesting his 50th DTM race at Zandvoort
Made the second-fastest pit stop of the Audi drivers at the Lausitzring
"A good race track for Audi on which weve always been in contention for victory so far. Its an old-school circuit that all the drivers including me are looking forward to."
Edoardo Mortara (27/I), Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM #15 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
Won the race at Zandvoort in 2012
Drove the second-fastest race lap of all Audi drivers at the Lausitzring
"The weekend at Lausitz was disappointing for me, so its perfect that were racing again in just two weeks from now and at Zandvoort of all places where Ive won before. Weve still got two more chances of scoring points and victories this year and were going to use them."
Nico Müller (22/CH), Audi Financial Services Audi RS 5 DTM #22 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
Is contesting his first car race at Zandvoort
Is the youngest member of Audis driver squad
"The next new track for me this year: Im looking forward to it because all of my driver colleagues have only positive things to say about Zandvoort. Id like to finally finish in the points again. The speed has long been right, so being able to convert it into results again is only a question of time."
Mike Rockenfeller (30/D), Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM #1 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
Is driving his 80th DTM race at Zandvoort
Secured his championship title early last year at Zandvoort
"My first DTM victory and my first title win last year: Ive had many great moments at Zandvoort. It would be great if I could again achieve something special there this year. I really enjoy the track. Hopefully, were going to have good weather so that the fans in the dunes will have a nice weekend as well."
Timo Scheider (35/D), AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM #2 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
Celebrated his first podium finish in the 2014 season at Lausitz
Set the fastest race lap in the process and made the quickest pit stop
"Ive got a very special relationship with Zandvoort. Ive clinched the majority of the pole positions in my career there but, at the same time, have some major unfinished business there because victory was within reach. This year would be a good time to finish this business. Were going to take the positive energy from the podium at the Lausitzring with us to the North Sea coast."
Adrien Tambay (23/F), Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM #16 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
Is in his third year of racing in the DTM
Is sharing second place in the teams standings with Mattias Ekström
"A nice and fast track which suits both Audi and me equally well. So its the perfect place for striking back after a fair to middling weekend."