Mike Rockenfeller triumphs at DTMs premiere in Moscow and Mattias Ekström won strong second place.
Ingolstadt/Moscow - Historic success for Audi: At the first Russian DTM race in history, Mike Rockenfeller (Audi Sport Team Phoenix) and Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) caused a one-two Audi victory in front of an impressive crowd of 45,000 spectators (throughout the weekend). Rockenfeller, on clinching his second success of the season, managed to extend his lead in the overall standings to 27 points.
After 74 laps, the two Audi drivers had more than a ten-second advantage over the BMW of Augusto Farfus, who just barely managed to save third place on crossing the finish line ahead of Adrien Tambay in another Audi RS 5 DTM.
Obviously, this was a really big step in the Championship today, said a jubilant Mike Rockenfeller after the race. Its great having won here at the DTMs premiere in Russia. It was a similarly perfect race as at Brands Hatch: starting from the pole position and finishing in first place. My Audi RS 5 DTM was fantastic and Team Phoenix did a superb job. At the Norisring, I was too slow but here everything fit together.
Rockenfeller started on softer option tires and, running at the front of the field, set consistently fast times for 45 laps before switching to the standard tires. At the beginning of the race, Ekström, who was running on the harder tires, managed to keep the BMW of Augusto Farfus, who had started on option tires as well, at bay. The Swede thus laid the foundation for the historic Audi one-two victory.
Five Audi RS 5 DTM cars in total finished at the DTMs Russian premiere in the points, including all four cars of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. A strong race was driven as well by youngster Adrien Tambay, who in the Audi ultra RS 5 DTM pushed forward from position twelve on the grid to fourth place, drove the fastest race lap and scored his first points this year. Jamie Green in the Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM only lost fifth place to Mercedes driver Gary Paffett shortly before the end. Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM) from 14th on the grid advanced to ninth place and thus finished in the points as well.
Filipe Albuquerque in the Audi Financial Services Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg in position 13 missed a top-ten result by just three seconds. His team-mate Edoardo Mortara was hit by a rival on the starting lap and dropped to the end of the field. After 31 laps, he parked his damaged Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM in the pits.
The race of Miguel Molina (Audi RS 5 DTM), who after an unfortunate collision with title defender Bruno Spengler was forced to retire on the sixth lap, ended early as well.
Still, for Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport, the DTMs premiere in Russia could hardly have gone any better: A one-two victory, five of our cars in the points and now a clear lead of the standings for Mike Rockenfeller, who just like Mattias Ekström drove an absolutely perfect race despite the fact that both drivers repeatedly encountered traffic. The race took place in front of a great crowd and the Audi RS 5 DTM was clearly the strongest car here at Moscow Raceway, and superb teamwork played a role as well in our having achieved a brilliant result for Audi.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): Russia is an important growth market for Audi. Thats why were particularly pleased about having been able to show the fans at the first DTM race in Russia how strong the four rings are and what performance the RS models embody. For our three teams and everybody involved in this commitment, the Russian premiere was associated with a few strains. But for Audi, Moscow was definitely worth a visit. My thanks go to all who worked hard for this success.
Dieter Gass (Head of DTM): The day was an absolute dream for Audi. Traveling to Moscow for the first race, clinching a one-two victory and winning the race with the Championship leader to top things off this is a dream result for us. In addition, with four Audi cars in the top six, we delivered a solid team result. Rocky (Mike Rockenfeller) showed a strong driving performance throughout the weekend. As at Brands Hatch, he dominated the race from the beginning to the end and did a good job of managing his tires. Mattias (Ekström) did a good job of getting over the Norisring events and showed on track today what hes capable of.
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM, 1st place): We had a great weekend in front of a great crowd. The track was a perfect fit for Audi. My Audi RS 5 DTM was good throughout the weekend. That I was able to decide qualifying in my favor was the key to success. My guys did a superb job, the car was well prepared and both pit stops went perfectly.
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM, 2nd place): Its always great to be on podium, especially when youve got as perfect a set-up as we did today. The car was a dream to drive from the beginning to the end, I enjoyed every single lap. For the team, this success is great as well. After all it took a major effort to travel here and to drive this race. Im sure therell be a little party tonight.
Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra RS 5 DTM, 4th place): It was great. I started from position twelve, drove the fastest race lap and finished in fourth place. I scored points for the first time this season and was able to demonstrate here that I know my job and just needed a bit of fortune.
Jamie Green (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM, 6th place): A successful Moscow premiere in every respect. We have now got a new race track on the DTM calendar and Im already looking forward to returning. Personally, though, Id prefer driving the long track configuration. My race didn't go quite so well. Although I advanced to third place during the race we were lacking speed in the end and thats why I only finished in sixth place.
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM, 9th place): After the start, I lost two positions in an incident of body contact with Joey Hand. On standard tires and later on option tires, I got stuck in traffic for a long time and thus wasnt able to drive my pace. Unfortunately, we lost a second at each of the two pit stops but in ninth place we finally scored some points again. Congratulations to Mike (Rockenfeller). He deserves being where he is at the moment.
Filipe Albuquerque (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM, 12th place): I had a pretty good start and we managed to make up some ground with the pit stops. But in the end I was lacking the speed to move farther toward the front. All in all, it wasnt a particularly thrilling race for me.
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM, retirement): This has been my worst race weekend this year. We clearly stayed below our potential and have now got to analyze why.
Miguel Molina (Audi RS 5 DTM, retirement): It was a short race for me. I had a good start but when I tried to get past Bruno Spengler it was too tight and we touched each other. My car was damaged at the front and that meant the end of my race. The positive thing for me is that I had a good qualifying session. That puts me in a positive mood for Phoenixs home race at the Nürburgring.
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): A perfect premiere of the DTM in Russia that we really enjoyed. Well done to Mike (Rockenfeller), as well as to Mattias (Ekström), who no doubt would have deserved victory too. All of our four drivers scored points today thats the result of a perfect strategy, great pit stops and a strong showing by the four guys in the cockpit. Im proud of the whole team. We intend this to mark the beginning of a strong second half of the season.
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): The race weekend started brilliantly. We were constantly in the pace from free practice through to qualifying. In the race, we continued to put this on track. Mike (Rockenfeller) drove flawlessly. Our strategy was good, we had everything under control and were able to schedule our pit stops the way our competitors did. A big well done to Rocky, to the team and to Audi.
Well be traveling to our home track at the Nürburgring as the leaders of the standings. Its a shame that the race was over after the third lap for Miguel (Molina). His strategy of starting on option tires was right but unfortunately the steering was damaged in a collision. He, too, needs a success experience but were going to work on that at the Nürburgring.
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): Congratulations to Audi, Rocky (Mike Rockenfeller) and Eki (Mattias Ekström). Our race was over right after the first lap; Edos (Mortara) car was damaged. We subsequently had to quit as otherwise the hood would have come off. Filipe (Albuquerque) drove a brave race but having started from as far at the rear as he did there wasnt a lot that could be done.