Abt Sportsline returns to the venue of its maiden DTM-victory Accompanied by the cheers of his team and the spectators on the grandstands of the NÃ¼rburgring, Laurent Aiello climbs onto the top step of the podium. Still today, the memories of...
Abt Sportsline returns to the venue of its maiden DTM-victory
Accompanied by the cheers of his team and the spectators on the grandstands of the Nürburgring, Laurent Aiello climbs onto the top step of the podium. Still today, the memories of the maiden victory in the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) of Abt Sportsline are well alive. This week-end, the team from Kempten returns to the track in the Eifel, where Aiello also won during the series' second appearance last year. Now, he is the points leader, highly motivated to get another step closer to making his dream of the title come true.
"Of course, we are looking forward to returning to the Nürburgring. But it shouldn't be forgotten, that the situation has changed," explains team boss Hans-Jürgen Abt. Last year, Aiello still surprised the entire scene with his maiden DTM-victory, whereas this season, the Frenchman is the main target after four wins. "We notice how the pressure from Opel and Mercedes is increasing. But our drivers and the entire crew from the Allgäu will keep on fighting until the final chequered flag has fallen, in order to defend our leading position," says Hans-Jürgen Abt.
A totally unknown factor is the new track lay-out with the name of "Mercedes-Arena", that leads the drivers right after the main straight into a stadium-like infield section. "For the fans, this section is a great thing, as they are much closer to the race action," Hans-Jürgen Abt says. And his drivers Christian Abt, Laurent Aiello, Mattias Ekström, Martin Tomczyk and Karl Wendlinger are looking forward to the new section. "So far, nobody has tested there, so all 21 drivers are facing identical conditions -- it will surely be exciting," says Christian Abt.
Before the Nürburgring round, Laurent Aiello is leading the championship with 54 points from Bernd Schneider (33 points) and Abt team-mate Mattias Ekström (29 points). With 13 points, Christian Abt is currently placed fifth, while Martin Tomczyk and Karl Wendlinger are eighth and 14th respectively before the seventh out of ten season rounds. Abt Sportsline is leading the teams' classification with a 14 points' margin.
Quotes before the race
Christian Abt (#10):
"At the Nürburgring, the equipment counts above all, you need a car that is sorted perfectly. Our TT-R certainly is, and the rest comes down to us as drivers. At the Nürburgring, I have experienced many unforgettable moments throughout my career, both positive and negative ones. Therefore, I am always happy to race in the Eifel."
Laurent Aiello (#3):
"Of course, I only have the best of memories of the Nürburgring, and I really would like to collect a few more. First of all, I have to be careful of Bernd Schneider, because with 52 points still at stake, a 21 points' margin is by no means comfortable. I am curious to find out how we will cope with the new part of the track. I hope we will do well, even though it is called Mercedes-Arena..."
Mattias Ekström (#9):
"My goal for the Nürburgring round is clear: I want to claim second place in the championship back from Bernd Schneider, who took it away from me at the Lausitzring, notably on my birthday. It will not be particularly easy, but it would be great to go into the five weeks' summer break with a one-two lead for Abt."
Martin Tomczyk (#23):
"After I finished my first race this year at the EuroSpeedway, I now want to try to convert my good performance from qualifying into some race results. At the Nürburgring, where things already went well for me last year, I want to finish in the points -- at least. I only know the new track from TV so far, but it is difficult to judge it that way. We will all know more after Friday's practice sessions."
Karl Wendlinger (#4):
"I am looking forward to the Nürburgring, because things now really have to start for me this season. The new lay-out of the track should suit us well, but in fact, our TT-R is doing well on each track on the calendar. Of course, my goal is an error-free race until the finish and scoring some points. In spite of our strong car, I haven't been able to do so for quite a while now."