DTM

Le Mans: Audi preview

Audi wants further Le Mans triumph Ingolstadt -- Audi victories at Le Mans are nothing unusual. Audi technology is unbeaten at the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans since the year 2000. On 5 October Audi wants to celebrate yet another victory in...

Audi wants further Le Mans triumph

Ingolstadt -- Audi victories at Le Mans are nothing unusual. Audi technology is unbeaten at the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans since the year 2000. On 5 October Audi wants to celebrate yet another victory in the West France city -- this time in the DTM.

Le Mans hosts a DTM race for the second time since 2006. Two years ago Bernd Scheider won the DTM title early there. On the first October weekend Audi driver Timo Scheider has the chance to win the prestigious title.

The 29-year old German is the man of the year in the DTM to date. He celebrated two victories with his GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM, and stood seven time on the podium. He started six times from the front row, on four occasions from pole position.

Scheider has a seven-point lead over the Scot Paul di Resta (Mercedes) going into the last two races. Jamie Green (Mercedes) und Scheider's team mate Mattias Ekstrom (Audi) also still have mathematical chances of taking the title.

The Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline drivers could have a small advantage at Le Mans: Because of the results of the previous races the 2008-spec Audi A4 DTM cars can start with ten kilograms less weight than the current Mercedes.

The cars aerodynamic configuration only plays a minor role around the 4.180 kilometre long "Circuit Bugatti". Decisive are the mechanical grip, traction from the tight corners and maximum braking performance.

The Audi team can unfortunately not benefit from the experience gained in the 24 Hours of Le Mans: The DTM only uses the start-finish area of the 13.629-kilometre long "Circuit des 24 Heures", on which the Audi R10 TDI diesel sportscar celebrated its third consecutive victory last June.

The goal is nevertheless clear: After Tom Kristensen's third position in 2006, Audi wants to write its name for the first time in the DTM winners list and take another -- maybe even decisive step -- in the direction of successfully defending the title.

ARD broadcasts qualifying and the race live on "Das Erste". Saturday's free practice is shown on dtm.tv. Audi.tv also reports from Le Mans.

Quotes before the race at Le Mans

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Since 1999 we have spent a great deal of time in Le Mans and celebrated great victories for Audi with our sports prototypes. The DTM races now on the Bugatti circuit. Two years ago we didn't quite get the result we had aimed for. This is why we still have unfinished business. This is also our goal."

Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #1): "I'm pleased to be coming to Le Mans. It's a very important place for Audi because of the sportscar victories, and this year Le Mans is also a very important event on the DTM calendar: I'll do everything to be competitive there. For Audi it's all about the championship now."

Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #2): "We return to Le Mans after a year away. Although I didn't miss racing at the circuit, I don't have anything against it being on the calendar again. A very special history connects Audi and Le Mans, even if it is now all about the DTM and the Bugatti circuit. I think that the race in 2006 was exciting, and I hope that we will again experience an exciting race this year."

Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM #9): "It is always a great pleasure to come to Le Mans to race. This time we race around the area that is used as paddock at the 24-hours -- namely around the Bugatti circuit. It is a tight circuit with many slow, ninety-degree corners. Apart from the start-finish straight and Dunlop Chicane it has nothing in common with the 24-hour circuit. You have to turn right after the Dunlop Bridge otherwise the lap will be very very long ... I'm looking forward to a great fight in the DTM. It's no secret that my season in 2008 was full of highs and lows, which is why it would be good if I could have a somewhat better result than last time out at Barcelona."

Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #10): "I'm looking forward to Le Mans. We still have a seven point lead. It's important react cleverly in the last two races. We have ten kilos less than Mercedes which should also help us. I'll go in an optimistic frame of mind to Le Mans because I did well there in 2006 in a year old car and scored points. So, I'm ready for Le Mans."

Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM #14): "I'm very happy to race in my homeland. It really is my home track because I started my motorsport career there. I hope it's popular with the French public. I'll give 200 per cent to win points for the Championship. This would be fantastic in a year old car."

Oliver Jarvis (Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM #15): "The closer Le Mans comes the more I'm looking forward to it, as I've never been there before. It'll be a new experience and I'll have plenty to learn. Hopefully I can score a few points and finish the final two races of the season with a couple of good results."

Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #18): "I only know it from the endurance racing. I was however there a few times and know the town. I'm looking forward to driving the DTM car on the short circuit. It's difficult to judge just where we'll be. We certainly won't have things easy. I'm super happy that things went so well at Barcelona, and obviously the LMS championship win. So, I travel to Le Mans in a very positive mood. I'll try to make the best of it."

Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19): "Unfortunately, I didn't have a good weekend at Barcelona, even though my pace was good in the free practice sessions. It was a weekend to forget. I enjoy Le Mans. I won a Renault World Series race there three years ago. The track suits me. I'll be hundred per cent concentrated and I'll prepare myself well for the race."

Katherine Legge (Audi A4 DTM #20): "I've never raced at Le Mans, but I visited the 24-hour race a couple times. I'm already looking forward to driving the DTM car there. After a bad race at Barcelona it's a chance -- starting with Le Mans -- to leave this season on a high note."

Christijan Albers (Audi A4 DTM #21): "I'm intrigued to see want Le Mans looks like. I've never been there. Hopefully the 2006 Audi goes well there. We'll see. I'm interested to see how the circuit is."

Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "We are very motivated. We are looking forward to Le Mans because the Championship has entered its decisive phase. We have to stick together as team in order to bring Timo (Scheider) where he belongs -- to the front."

Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "At Le Mans we all want to help that Timo (Scheider) is crowned champion at Hockenheim. Obviously, we'd like to score as many points as possible with our year old cars."

Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Le Mans is a historical race track and something very special for Audi because of the many wins. We want to take the momentum from Spain with us and we hope to be able to repeat the results from the previous races."

-credit: audi

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Tom Kristensen , Martin Tomczyk , Christijan Albers , Timo Scheider , Mattias Ekström , Katherine Legge , Paul di Resta , Alexandre Prémat , Mike Rockenfeller , Oliver Jarvis , Markus Winkelhock , Hans-Jurgen Abt , Jamie Green
Teams Team Abt , Phoenix Racing , Audi Sport Team Rosberg