Audi enters DTM finale with head start
Ingolstadt -- It was the most extensive factory programme in AUDI AG motorsport history to date. On Sunday, 26 October it could become the most successful ever: If Timo Scheider clinches the DTM title for Audi at Hockenheim, then the brand with the four rings will have won everything there was to win this season.
In June Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish scored the third successive victory for the Audi R10 TDI in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner won the American Le Mans Series title with the diesel sportscar, Alexandre Premat and Mike Rockenfeller in the European based Le Mans Series.
Audi has also been on the road to success from the very beginning of the 2008 DTM season. The new Audi A4 DTM made a perfect debut in Hockenheim by taking a spectacular one-two-three finish. Since then Audi has not relinquished its hold on the championship lead of the most popular touring car series.
Now, Audi has the chance to successfully defend a DTM title for the second time since 1990/1991. Like Mattias Ekstrom before him, Timo Scheider comes this time to the final race of the year at Hockenheim with a two point advantage. Two different drivers also won the title for Audi at the Hockenheim finale in 1990 and 1991: 1990 with Hans-Joachim Stuck, 1991 with Frank Biela.
This time Audi's hopes rest on the shoulders of Timo Scheider, who already boasts an impressive record this season: He celebrated two victories with his GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM. The 29-year old started four-times from pole position, and mounted the podium seven times. Without a jump start at Mugello and an unfortunate tyre choice at the Nurburgring and at Le Mans the German, who lives on the shores of Lake Constance, would have long been champion.
The fans can look forward to a thrilling finale. Advance tickets sales have exceeded 60,000 and, as a result, last year's record crowd (152,000 spectators throughout the weekend) could even be beaten.
Timo Scheider took pole position at Hockenheim at the start of the season. The championship leader also has good memories of the final race: In 2006 he was the best driver of a year-old car. At the 2007 finale he claimed his first ever DTM podium finish. Now he aims to win his first DTM title and, in front of his home crowd, fend-off Paul di Resta's attack in the Mercedes-Benz.
Timo Scheider has a two point advantage over his rival. This means that di Resta must finish in front of Scheider -- a small but not unimportant psychological advantage for the Audi driver.
As usual ARD broadcasts qualifying and the race live on "Das Erste". Free practice is shown by www.dtm.tv in the Internet. Audi.tv shows the highlights and background reports. Whoever prefers to watch the eagerly awaited finale at the track can still order tickets from the Audi Ticket-Hotline +49 (0)841 / 8947777 or online at www.audi-dtm.de.
Quotes before the DTM finals at Hockenheim
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "At the last race at Le Mans we already had the title in our hands until halfway through the race. Unfortunately, we couldn't fix it. This means there is now a big showdown at Hockenheim. The atmosphere will be fantastic. I'm convinced that the grandstands will be full. We'll do everything to bring the championship home for Audi."
Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #10): "We scored a memorable one-two-three at the start of the season at Hockenheim, and history shows that the final races at Hockenheim have always gone well for me. I've actually always finished my years positively there, which is why I'm particularly pleased that the finale is held at Hockenheim. It definitely won't be plain sailing with just a two point lead over Paul (di Resta), but in fact a battle royal. The many German fans in the stands will certainly act as extra motivation for me."
Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #1): "I'm really looking forward to the finale. We won at the start of the season at Hockenheim, which also happens to be my goal for the last race."
Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #2): "It's great to finish each season at Hockenheim. The atmosphere is always excellent there. I hope that it stays dry and we will see an exciting championship battle that obviously goes in favour of Audi."
Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM #9): "Without a shadow of a doubt Hockenheim will be very interesting. There'll be hoards of spectators there. The championship battle between Timo (Scheider) and di Resta is very close. I personally hope that I can finish the season with a good result. We were always quick this season. My team always gave me a good car; unfortunately we had more than our fair share of bad luck in the races."
Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM #14): "It'll be hard for us at Hockenheim because we'll have heaviest 2007 car in the field. I want to do a good job again. We'll see what the weather does. My goal is to take ninth place and therefore be the best driver of a 2007 Audi."
Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #18): "A long season comes to an end for me. The weather at Hockenheim can also be very unpredictable. I would like to continue my run of good form that we've seen in the past races, which was particularly good more recently in qualifying."
Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19): "Hockenheim is a race where there is always loads going on. It is also my home race and Hockenheim is a circuit that really suits me. I hope that we can win the title with Audi there."
Oliver Jarvis (Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM #15): "It's great to be returning to a circuit that I already know. Things ran well for me there at the season opener, I got into the top-eight in qualifying. I hope that I can score a few points."
Christijan Albers (Audi A4 DTM #21): "We'll have a pretty tough time with the 2006 cars at Hockenheim. However, it'll be an exciting final. I hope that Audi can win the title."
Katherine Legge (Audi A4 DTM #20): "I drove my first DTM race at Hockenheim, which means we'll be able to see just how we have improved during the season. It'll be a great final. The spectators can look forward to a really fantastic race."
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "The DTM will see one of the most exciting final races ever. Travelling to Hockenheim with a two point lead is a small cushion, but not really reassuring. As a team we'll have to try to deliver an absolute top performance. The car can do it. I believe that Timo (Scheider) is also well capable of keeping his cool. It goes without saying that I hope things turn out well for us."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "It's a shame that the season is already nearly over again! Our team is extra motivated for Hockenheim after the great result at Le Mans. We'll do everything within our power so that Timo (Scheider) can take the title at the finale and score a few points ourselves as team."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Hockenheim will certainly be very tense for all concerned. I hope that we can help to bring the championship home. Le Mans went a little disappointingly for us as team, which is why we hope to turn the tide at Hockenheim."