Good start for Audi at DTM finale
Ingolstadt/Hockenheim -- Audi is well set for the eagerly awaited finale of the 2008 DTM at the Hockenheimring (Sunday, starting at 1:45 p.m., local time, live on "Das Erste"). In Friday's first test, six Audi A4 DTM cars were running at the front of the field. In the afternoon, all four drivers from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline were among the top five.
At the beginning of April, the new Audi A4 DTM in its maiden race at Hockenheim was the superior car. Mattias Ekstrom, Timo Scheider and Tom Kristensen clinched a one-two-three victory at the season opener. On Friday, the engineers and technicians from Audi Sport were able to build on the base of the first race. "We continued optimising the cars and completed a very good long run with Timo (Scheider)," said a satisfied Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "That we did a good job is also shown by the close performance of the 2008-spec cars. But we'll only see the truth in Saturday's qualifying."
Leader of the standings Timo Scheider, whose pole position time set in April remained unrivalled on Friday, fully concentrated on fine-tuning his GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM on Friday. "Things went well today," the 29-year-old said. "We used the first test to see where we stand with our base. In the second test, a long run was on the agenda, and it was a very good one. That's why I'm satisfied in every respect. Now I'm looking forward to what's coming up Saturday."
Quickest Audi driver in both of Friday's tests was his team-mate Martin Tomczyk, on whose A4 DTM Audi's partner Red Bull is advertising its new cola soft drink for the first time. In the morning, Tomczyk set the best time, in the afternoon, he occupied second place.
"We had an extensive test programme and completed all of it," said Tomczyk. "In the first test, I was able to drive a long run and do some work towards setting a good time in qualifying as well. The second test I fully used for the qualifying. We made two or three small changes to the set-up but the basic set-up was already very good. I'm pretty confident for tomorrow."
The best driver of an A4 from last year in both tests was Oliver Jarvis. His team-mate Alexandre Premat came to Hockenheim motivated by a very special event: since Wednesday night, the Frenchman has been the proud father of a daughter (Zoe).
Markus Winkelhock gave a bit of extra work to his squad: while slipping into the gravel trap parts of the rear bodywork of his Playboy Audi A4 DTM broke off, but he was later able to continue his test programme.
Things will get serious for the first time at Hockenheim in Saturday's qualifying, which will be broadcast live on "Das Erste" on Saturday, starting at 1:25 p.m., local time).
For the race at Hockenheim, a record crowd is expected. By Friday, over 71,000 tickets had been sold in advance. The thrilling finale of the DTM will also be witnessed "on location" by 1,500 Audi employees from the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm plants. They will be joined by 1,300 service mechanics from Audi's partner firms in the South-West regions as well as over 1,000 guests at the Audi VIP Lounge.