Audi driver Kristensen eager to get DTM lead Le Mans record winner particularly strong at Oschersleben First victory of the season is Audi squad's clear goal Demonstration laps of the new Audi R10 TDI Having finished as the runner-up in both of...
Audi driver Kristensen eager to get DTM lead
Le Mans record winner particularly strong at Oschersleben
First victory of the season is Audi squad's clear goal
Demonstration laps of the new Audi R10 TDI
Having finished as the runner-up in both of the first two races, Audi had a better start into the new DTM season than in the past two years. Yet second places are not the declared goal of the Audi squad, which for the next race on 21 May has formulated the result it is shooting for in no uncertain terms: Oschersleben is to bring the Audi A4 DTM's first victory of the season.
Appearing practically predestined for this result is Tom Kristensen. The Le Mans record winner suffered a misfortune twice in qualifying but shone both at Hockenheim and the EuroSpeedway with enormous speed and a flawless performance in the race. And the 3.667-kilometre circuit at Oschersleben suits the Dane from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline like no other: in 2004, this was where Kristensen celebrated his first and so far only victory in a DTM race. Last year he captured first place on the starting grid with a dominant lead, stalled at the start, yet fought his way back towards the front of the field from position 19 to fifth place.
Now the seasoned driver, who calls Oschersleben his "home game" in jest because of its "proximity" to Denmark, is eager to finally add the second victory to his DTM track record and, better yet, become the leader of the standings - not an unrealistic goal, considering his merely four-point gap to the front runner, Bernd Schneider.
Kristensen, however, not only has to stand his ground against the fierce competition from the Mercedes camp. His team-mates, too, want to shine at Oschersleben. Mattias Ekström, who drove his first race in an Audi A4 quattro for Team Abt Sportsline at Oschersleben in 1999, is in urgent need of an exploit after two unfortunate retirements.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen wants to make up for the set-back at the EuroSpeedway and continue the trend marked by his third place at Hockenheim. And Martin Tomczyk, like Kristensen, is considered an Oschersleben specialist, as well: in two consecutive events the youngster started from the first row there, in 2004 even from the pole position. In the race, then, he merely had to admit a narrow defeat to Tom Kristensen.
The four drivers of the 2005-spec A4 cars entered by Audi Sport Teams Phoenix and Rosberg, as well, figure that they have good chances. And Vanina Ickx may look forward to Oschersleben, too. In the past, the circuit full of turns near Magdeburg suited her 2004-spec A4 DTM entered now by the private team Futurecom TME particularly well.
For Audi fans, there is another good reason to come to Oschersleben on 21 May: Shortly before the start of the race on Sunday, Audi factory driver Marco Werner will take the Audi R10 TDI out on the track - to complete the first public laps of the revolutionary Audi diesel sports prototype in Europe.
Quotes before the race at Oschersleben
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):
"Our expectations are high: we want to win at Oschersleben and achieve a good team result. So far, Oschersleben has suited our car and our drivers pretty well, that's why I'm hoping that we'll finally break the knot. In the race our performance is right already. Now we need a good qualifying result for a change and, if that's the case, I'm confident we'll manage to clinch a good race result as well."
Martin Tomczyk Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #4:
"I'm convinced that we're well set for Oschersleben. In the past two years we were fast there, too. I think that we'll be as strong there as Mercedes last was at the EuroSpeedway and that we'll be able to run at the very front of the field with all four new cars."
Mattias Ekström Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #5
"Zero points twice, in the first two races - that means from now on things will really be pretty tough for me in the Championship. I now take every race as it comes. There can only be one maxim, and that is: all-out attack! I like Oschersleben and finished as the runner-up there last year."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Veltins Audi A4 DTM #6:
"I'm eager to drive the Audi A4 at Oschersleben and hope to finish in the points. Last year, there was a very large turnout of spectators at Oschersleben, the atmosphere was great. I think that the mood will be just as good again this time."
Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Siemens Audi A4 DTM #7:
"I not only like Oschersleben because the circuit is relatively close to Denmark. In my first DTM season I clinched victory there as early as in the seventh race. Last year, as well, the speed was right: I had pole. Unfortunately I didn't get off the grid. So I've got something to make up and hope the time has come for me to claim another win."
Christian Abt Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Playboy Audi A4 DTM #12:
"I'm looking forward to Oschersleben, That's a demanding track for the driver. Last year it was obvious, too, that Audi was strong there with the 2005-spec car. That makes me feel confident."
Pierre Kaffer Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Castrol Audi A4 DTM #14:
"Oschersleben should be suiting us well. Because overtaking is almost impossible, the qualifying will be pretty crucial. With a good team performance and a good strategy we should have quite a few chances - perhaps even for the first points."
Frank Stippler Audi Sport Team Rosberg, S line Audi A4 DTM #15:
"I've got fond memories: I had some good races in the Carrera Cup at Oschersleben and won a race there, as well. I'll let myself be surprised to see what happens this year. The circuit is varied with a few fast corners requiring downforce. When exiting the slow turns, though, you need traction."
Timo Scheider Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Gebrauchtwagen:plus Audi A4 DTM #16:
"Oschersleben is a demanding circuit that puts the drivers to the test. It's difficult to overtake. That's why the driving will probably be all the harder. I'm looking towards Oschersleben with a positive feeling. Twice we've shown that our racing performance is good. If we improve in the qualifying, we may be able to set a highlight."
Vanina Ickx Futurecom TME, Original Zubehör Audi A4 DTM #20:
"Oschersleben is another circuit I don't know yet. I did take a look at it, though, on my way back from the EuroSpeedway. I'm going to prepare myself well for the race and wish for it to turn into a positive experience."
Olivier Tielemans Futurecom TME, Futurecom Audi A4 DTM #19:
"In my second race, as well, I learned a lot about the DTM. I know Oschersleben. Yet I've meanwhile come to find out that knowing a circuit from a formula car doesn't really help all that much in the DTM. We'll see what's possible."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline):
"Our memories of Oschersleben are absolutely positive. The circuit with its many turns suits our A4. If we find a good set-up, we should have good opportunities to claim the first victory of the season for Audi."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix):
"At the EuroSpeedway we found a basic set-up for the car with which we can start immediately at Oschersleben. Of course the circuit is different, but we now have a basis that should help us to get to the point quickly."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg):
"Oschersleben is the third race this year. The hectic mood has subsided somewhat, the team has become more settled. We still need to work on our pit stops, but have had time to practice after the EuroSpeedway. Besides that, we've got to improve in the qualifying, because that is the basis for a good race."