Second place in front of 89,000 spectators at the Nürburgring
Ingolstadt/Nürburg, 19 August 2012 - With a second place at the Nürburgring, Audi started into the second half of the DTM season. At the event, Edoardo Mortara and Mike Rockenfeller made up ground to the overall leader Gary Paffett and are now the best-placed Audi racers in the standings. With four A5 DTM cars in the points, Audi was the strongest brand in the top ten - and Rahel Frey the sensation of the race for many.
89,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) at the Nürburgring in dream weather made for a dream crowd. They saw a flawless drive by Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Team Rosberg), who in his Playboy Audi A5 DTM had started from position two and finished as the runner-up behind Bruno Spengler. "It was a hard race in this great heat," said the Italian. "Bruno (Spengler) had two sets of new tires, I only had one. I gave everything but he was a bit quicker - not much but around a tenth of a second per lap. That was enough. It’s good to see that the work of the past few weeks and months is paying off. The improvements are notable."
Mike Rockenfeller in his Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM in conditions of 33 degrees in the shade and track temperatures of nearly 50 degrees took fifth place. After a good start, the racer from Audi Sport Team Phoenix was running in third place in the early phase but then dropped behind Martin Tomczyk and Jamie Green. After a correction of the tire pressure, he managed to keep leader of the standings Gary Paffett at bay in the final phase. With 49 points each, Mortara and Rockenfeller on positions five and six are now the Audi drivers in the overall classification.
Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A5 DTM) and Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM) finished in the points as well. At the start, Albuquerque dropped from third to tenth place but then recovered to eighth and scored points for as much as the fifth time this season. Scheider as the best driver of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline took ninth place.
For Mattias Ekström in the Red Bull Audi A5 DTM the race was disappointing. The Swede lost a lot of ground at the start, managed to make up several positions but in eleventh place barely missed a points finish.
An impressive race was driven by Rahel Frey in the E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM. During some of the phases, the young Swiss was the quickest driver in the field, drove the fastest lap of all Audi drivers and the second-fastest one of the race in total. In the last third of the race, she managed to close the gap to Ralf Schumacher, attacked the former Formula One driver but was no longer able to overtake him. After starting from position 17, Frey finished in 14th place - her best result of the season.
Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM) was quick as well. After being "turned around" on lap two by Adrien Tambay and dropping to the last position, the Spaniard recovered to 15th place. As a result of the unfortunate collision Tambay had to park his A5 DTM early in the pits after 14 laps.
"It was a difficult and strenuous race for everyone," said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "We put four Audi cars into the top ten, that’s the best manufacturers’ result. We’d been hoping to be able to win the race. Edo (Mortara) drove a perfect race but more than that wasn’t possible. We had the disadvantage that he didn’t have new tires for the race like Bruno Spengler. That clearly makes a difference. But on the whole, you could see that we’ve made a step forward. With that, we now want to prepare for the next race."
The seventh round of the DTM season will be held as early as next weekend, on the Dutch North Sea Coast. Therefore, the teams are traveling directly from the Nürburgring to Zandvoort where Mike Rockenfeller celebrated his first DTM victory last year.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "It was a difficult and strenuous race for everyone. We put four Audi cars into the top 10. That’s the best manufacturers’ result. We’d been hoping to be able to win the race. ‘Edo’ (Mortara) drove a perfect race but more than that wasn’t possible. We had the disadvantage that he didn’t have new tires for the race like Bruno Spengler. That clearly made a difference. But on the whole, you could see that we’ve made a step forward. With that, we now want to prepare for the next race."
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi A5 DTM), 2nd place - "It was a good result for me, for Audi Sport and for Audi Sport Team Rosberg. This provides new motivation after difficult race weekends in the past. But we’re not perfect yet. In the beginning, I was able to keep Bruno’s (Spengler) pace but then he drove off and was incredibly quick. Bruno had two sets of new tires, I only had one. I gave everything but he was a bit quicker - not much but around a tenth of a second per lap. That was enough. I hope that for Zandvoort we’ll find something else so that our starting base will be even better then."
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM), 5th place - "After our starting base on the grid, fifth place at our home round is not satisfactory. My main problem was the brake set-up. That’s a bit regrettable. A podium would have been possible. We’ve got to get a handle on this problem and then we’ll be able to achieve better results in the race. I’m happy that we’ll be running again as early as next Sunday at Zandvoort. We’ve got a few ideas and I’m hoping for us to be able to implement them by then."
Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A5 DTM), 8th place - "Too bad, I overheated the clutch at the start when I was warming up my tires. For the first time in my career, I stopped at the start. ‘Sorry’ to my squad. The team had a good strategy and the car was good. The race then was okay."
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM), 9th place - "Position nine - the race was a bit unfortunate but at least we scored two points. The start was pretty good. We had difficulties before with the clutch and I wasn’t sure if I’d even be able to drive off. On lap one, I had a few contacts but my car remained undamaged. I was running in eighth place and didn’t have good performance after the first pit stop on the first set of tires. At the second pit stop, we lost two seconds and I lost another position on track later. After that, there were no more duels and I drove my position home."
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM), 11th place - "It’s a long race when you start from position twelve. I had a bad start. The first lap wasn’t optimal. I overtook a few drivers but then was slowed."
Rahel Frey (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM), 14th place - "I’m pleased. It was a tough but fair battle with Ralf (Schumacher). That’s the way racing should be; that’s why I love motorsport. Unfortunately, I botched the start a bit. That was my mistake. I also overshot at my first pit stop. There are a few things to improve yet. Now we’ve got to take these dynamics and this momentum in the crew to Zandvoort."
Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM), 15th place - "It was a difficult race. The first lap was good. I was able to overtake two or three cars. Then Adrien (Tambay) pushed me out. I think he missed his braking point. After that, my race over. For Zandvoort, I’m very motivated now."
Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra A5 DTM), retirement - "I’ve got to apologize to Miguel (Molina) for our contact. I thought he’d see me, but apparently he didn’t and that’s why our cars touched. Something like this shouldn’t happen as it ruined the race for both of us. I had to park my car in the pits with a defect after my drive-through penalty."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "The team did a good job. In view of our starting base it was clear that you can’t move all the way to the front when the situation is as tight as it was. But you can at least finish in the points. In Timo’s (Scheider) case, it worked out. With Mattias Ekström, we unfortunately didn’t manage to do this. We thoroughly enjoyed Rahel Frey’s duel with Ralf Schumacher. She showed that she’s made a considerable step forward."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "Our start was good. Both cars were able to make up positions. The situation between ‘Rocky’ and (Edo) Mortara was very close in the beginning. At the start, we wanted to attack on new tires. That worked out for a few laps but then the car’s balance deteriorated. We were no longer able to attack, so we changed our strategy and responded to the pit stops of the competition. Miguel (Molina) had a good race speed but then was ‘turned around’ and with good lap times still finished in 15th place."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Naturally, this was a great weekend for us - except, perhaps, for Filipe’s start when he stalled the engine. ‘Edo’s’ second place was strong and never in jeopardy during the race either. We had a good strategy and delivered sensational pit stops. So, ‘thank you’ to the whole team."
Source: Audi Media