Audi wants to win German finale of the DTM
Ingolstadt, October 8, 2010 - Round nine of the DTM at Hockenheim on October 17 (starting at 1:45 p.m. - local time - live on "Das Erste") will see Audi make another attempt at fighting for the top on a new track layout after the most recent, unfortunate miss of a possible victory at Oschersleben.
A race with new circumstances: this year, Hockenheim - which has been the venue of the season opener and finale since the new DTM was launched in the 2000 season - will not mark the final event on the calendar for the first time. Instead Audi will be starting into the "German finale" of the season on this circuit before the two remaining rounds will be held at Adria (Italy) and Shanghai (China).
Most recently at Oschersleben, Audi managed to postpone an early title decision in the DTM with a third-place finish by Mattias Ekstrom. Timo Scheider, who was on the verge of taking the lead on lap 34, lost ground due to a puncture. After two consecutive DTM title wins the 32-year-old Audi "factory" driver thus dropped out of the group of candidates for the title. Instead Ekstrom, in fourth place of the standings, assumed the ranking of the best Audi driver in the 2010 DTM. The Swede is separated from the leader of the standings, Bruno Spengler, by 26 points.
"30 points are yet to be awarded in the remaining three races," calculates Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "Although the mathematical chances of postponing the decision once more are very small, we're determined to give everything up to the very end. We fought for victory at Oschersleben and we want to do this again - but this time with a positive outcome for us. We want to end the season on a note of having shown the best possible single performances."
Test on new track version
Since October 2002 the DTM has been racing on the 4.574-kilometer version of the Hockenheimring and has held eight opening and eight final races there. In each of the past three years Audi secured the title at Hockenheim in front of a crowd of more than 150,000 spectators, respectively. Now the DTM will compete on a new, shorter track layout for the first time. Audi ran tests on this circuit on September 22 with Timo Scheider and Martin Tomczyk. "We are no longer driving the entire Parabolika section that saw many slipstream duels in the past. Instead we are turning right onto a short version before the Parabolika ends," reports Timo Scheider. "Before the race the new section will be subjected to further detailed optimizations and the passage will be even better to drive on. For us this means that we've got to adjust to a new track rhythm. For the spectators this means that they'll get to see even more of us than before because we'll be doing more laps."
Armin Plietsch, Project Manager Technology DTM at Audi Sport, adds: "We're expecting lap times that should be about 13 seconds shorter than those on the old circuit version. Even though there are two new turns they shouldn't affect the known basic set-up of the Audi A4 DTM for this track in any way."
Simultaneous testing debut of the new Audi TT RS
At the same time that the DTM competes at Hockenheim the customer sport program of AUDI AG that was launched with the Audi R8 LMS will probably feature an additional vehicle: at the last two rounds of the Endurance Championship Nurburgring on October 16 and 30, Team Raeder Motorsport will contest the SP 4T class with the prototype of an Audi TT RS that is jointly developed by the Technical Development (TE) and Production divisions of AUDI AG and quattro GmbH. In the test races the vehicle, which spearheads a potential modular customer sport concept based on the TT, will be driven by Marc Hennerici and Christopher Mies. Audi thereby responds to the high demand by customers wishing to use the TT and other vehicles of the brand in motorsport.
The prototype uses a five-cylinder TFSI engine and features racing-specific new developments in the areas of the body, suspension and aerodynamics. In addition, the team was able to adopt some components from the R8 LMS in order to make maximum use of synergies.
Topics of the weekend
- Will the new track layout meet expectations?
- Will Mattias Ekstrom maintain his small title chance and postpone the decision yet again?
- Will Martin Tomczyk make an equally strong showing as he did at the season opener when he commandingly led the race until suffering a puncture?
- Will Markus Winkelhock's unlucky streak finally end at the team's and driver's home round?
Quotes by the officials
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi-Motorsport): "Due to the new track layout we ran a preliminary test at which we got to know the new circuit for the first time. Only one part of the track was modified - so the major portion will be the same as it was in the first race. We had a very good performance then - not only in terms of a single showing but by the whole team. The development potential we've shown in the most recent races should also enable us to use the chance of finally achieving the desired victory at Hockenheim."
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "We've got to take the positive aspects with us, in other words the notion that we are and will remain capable of winning. And I'm hoping for that little bit of racing luck to return to us as well. What happened at Oschersleben was a very bitter pill for us. But we won't allow ourselves to drop back. We will look at each individual race as a kind of final championship round. We want to really shine in the remaining three races and show that we haven't lost our ability to win."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "It's a little unusual to drive a race that feels like a finale but will be followed by two more races. This time we'll simply contest one of eleven races but hopefully in front of a crowd that we've typically just seen at the finales. Audi was always strong at Hockenheim in recent years. At the season opener we were really good with Team Phoenix. I can't really assess the modified track layout yet. I'm a little sad that the hairpin is gone because overtaking was possible there and there was always a lot of action. Now there will be more laps which could make the race more interesting to the spectators. After having scored points with both cars at Oschersleben we want to try and continue that at Hockenheim."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Hockenheim marks the German finale for the DTM. It was always a great event in the past years due to the atmosphere there and, by the way, it's our home race as well. Obviously, we want to make a really strong showing on our departure from Germany and finally finish in the points."
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers
Mattias Ekstrom (32/S), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #5 (Audi Sport Team Abt
- In his past five runs at Hockenheim started four times from the first row including three starts from the pole position
- In his DTM career has celebrated seven podium places at Hockenheim so far, including two victories "I've always felt very comfortable at Hockenheim. Hopefully that'll be the case again this time. Mentally it feels a little like the finale and for the local fans in Germany it is the finale. I always enjoy being there. I'll give everything to win. One turn is new now and the Parabolica is shorter. There's no reason why that should keep us from achieving a good result."
Oliver Jarvis (26/GB), Tabac Original Audi A4 DTM #2 (Audi Sport Team
- Finished on the podium at Hockenheim in May 2009 as the driver of a year-old car
- After finishing in 13th place at Oschersleben wants to regain his pace "I really liked the long track layout at Hockenheim and think it's a shame that the circuit has been shortened. But be that as it may, we definitely have to improve our performance there. We need to try and understand why Oschersleben went so poorly for me. At Hockenheim I was good in previous events. I'm hoping to return to a position in the points there."
Katherine Legge (30/GB), Glamour Audi A4 DTM #15 (Audi Sport Team
- After retiring at Oschersleben aims for a race finish at Hockenheim
- For her race team, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, this is a home round "The atmosphere at Hockenheim is simply fantastic. A lot has already been said about the new track layout. I'm happy to be returning to this circuit. Obviously, the new track section is a new challenge too. I'm approaching the upcoming weekend with a positive mindset and am hoping that we'll have a good start into it. It seems like a good start into a weekend makes it easier to achieve a good result as well."
Miguel Molina (21/E), Audi Bank A4 DTM #18 (Audi Sport Rookie Team Abt)
- Started his DTM career at Hockenheim in April
- Has scored points four times in his debut season and is in ninth place of the DTM standings "I'm very much looking forward to Hockenheim and am hoping to experience a successful race weekend there. I've got very fond memories of this track where I not only contested my first DTM race but also scored my first point. Compared with the beginning of the year, the track has been slightly modified, the laps will be shorter. It's important for us to be similarly competitive as we were in the rounds at Zandvoort and Brands Hatch."
Alexandre Premat (28/F), TV Movie Audi A4 DTM #9 (Audi Sport Team
- Clinched his best result at Hockenheim in fourth place at the 2009 finale
- In the standings ranks as the second-best driver of a 2008-spec Audi A4 DTM "I really enjoy the track at Hockenheim. I'll do everything within my means to score as many points as possible in order to move up some more in the standings. I'm looking back on the season opener where I was running in second place when I suffered a puncture. It would be great if we could show another good performance and had the chance to achieve a podium finish."
Mike Rockenfeller (26/D), S line Audi A4 DTM #10 (Audi Sport Team
- Is the best driver of a 2008-spec Audi A4 DTM in the DTM standings
- Most recently started from third place at Oschersleben and finished fifth
- Has never achieved a point result in a finale at Hockenheim "We're driving a shorter track version at Hockenheim than we did at the season opener. So let's see what happens. Actually, I think it's a bit of a shame because the track had been pretty good before. Now we're driving on increasingly shorter tracks. At least this is new for everyone. My car was very good on the old layout in the first race. I think we'll be in a good position again."
Timo Scheider (31/D), GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #1 (Audi Sport Team
- Celebrated the title win at Hockenheim in both of the past two years
- Since 2007 has been the runner-up twice and the winner once in the finale
- Was last fighting for victory at Oschersleben until suffering a puncture "In qualifying and particularly in the race at Oschersleben we showed that we were doing well with our performance. But this year and the past race have also shown what can happen to a racer. If things aren't going well, fortune won't be on your side either. Now we're returning to the venue of the big emotions in the DTM, to Hockenheim. I'm hoping to be able to finally turn the tables there. We'd truly deserve a victory by now."
Martin Tomczyk (28/D), Red Bull Cola Audi A4 DTM #6 (Audi Sport Team Abt
- Started from row one at the 2010 season opener at Hockenheim
- Was leading the opening race up to the time of suffering a puncture
- Contested his 100th DTM race at Oschersleben "I got to know the new track layout for the first time at a test. I'm looking forward to Hockenheim. Actually, I'm not such a great fan of the modification. But basically I've always enjoyed driving at Hockenheim. I drove a great opening race there - except for the puncture. I'm hoping to be able to continue this good performance."
Markus Winkelhock (30/D), Playboy/GW:plus Audi A4 DTM #14 (Audi Sport
- Achieved eighth place in the finale at the South German circuit last year
- Will experience his home race and that of his team at Hockenheim "Because Hockenheim is my home race I look forward to it every time. I'm eager to see how the new track will suit me and the car. This will be a new experience for all the drivers, which is pretty good. I'm hoping to finally be more fortunate now. But I've got to be honest: four times in a row I was struck by misfortune but at Oschersleben I had no one to blame but myself. I made a mistake in a race that I could have finished in sixth place because I was running in front of Alex (Premat). I could have scored my first points of the year there. My wish for Hockenheim is to finish the race, and if points were awarded for it, that would be perfect."
Markus Winkelhock about Hockenheim: "Racing at Hockenheim is like coming home for me as I just live 120 kilometers away. The circuit layout has always suited me well. There are two or three spots where you can overtake. We have a lot of data for the Audi A4 DTM at Hockenheim as we used to test them there and we also compete in two DTM races there every year. The first bend after the start/finish is slightly tricky as there is a red mark you are not allowed to drive over. The views for the spectators have always been impressive, and that's something we even notice as drivers. When my uncle Jockel used to participate in the DTM, I liked to sit in the grandstand on the Sachs bend, and this is still one of the best spots for spectators on this circuit."
Hockenheim 2009 flashback
Audi was the first ever automobile manufacturer to achieve a title hat-trick in the DTM: after 2007 and 2008 the brand with the four rings clinched the coveted trophy for the third consecutive time. At the finale at the Hockenheimring in front of 155,000 spectators Audi driver Timo Scheider stayed immediately on the heels of his only remaining rival for the title, Gary Paffet, throughout the entire 39 laps and successfully defended his title from the previous year by finishing the race as the runner-up.