Audi is set on keeping title fight open Ingolstadt, September 10, 2010 - At the eighth DTM round to be held at the Motorsportarena Oschersleben on September 19 (starting at 1:45 p.m. - local time - live on "Das Erste") Audi is determined to do...
Audi is set on keeping title fight open
Ingolstadt, September 10, 2010 - At the eighth DTM round to be held at the Motorsportarena Oschersleben on September 19 (starting at 1:45 p.m. - local time - live on "Das Erste") Audi is determined to do everything within its means to prevent an early decision in the fight for the title. Timo Scheider, who last clinched two consecutive wins at Oschersleben, has good chances of achieving this goal.
The race at the venue situated in the plains near Magdeburg will be an exciting one: after what has been an unusual DTM season the title fight appears to be coming to a head as early as four rounds before the finale. With third-place finishes in both of the most recent races at Zandvoort and Brands Hatch and the fastest time in qualifying in the Netherlands Timo Scheider, the 2008 and 2009 champion, has clinched his best results of the season so far.
Now the 31-year-old German is returning to the venue of some major exploits: at Oschersleben, in the 2008 season, Scheider celebrated his first ever victory in a DTM race. And 2009 again saw him finish as the winner.
"It's high time to get back on a winning track," says the Audi racer, obviously ready to attack. "My form curve has been pointing upward lately. And I've always felt comfortable at Oschersleben. I like the characteristics of this circuit."
With 29 points to his credit, Scheider is one of seven drivers who still have mathematical title chances four races before the season ends - and he is just one of three drivers in the field to have scored points in all of the previous seven rounds of the season. If Scheider clinched his third consecutive win at Oschersleben, he could, in the best case, reduce his gap in the standings to 13 points. "And if that happened, then the decision would suddenly be completely open again," knows Scheider.
But Scheider is not the only Audi driver in the contest for the title who could turn the tables once more. Mattias Ekstrom, his team colleague in Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, who finished last year's round at Oschersleben as the runner-up, is traveling to the venue full of energy as well.
"Mattias is ranking just one point behind Timo," says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "We all know that his score could be a lot better. Twice this season he's been deprived of finishing in the points due to accidents in which he was not at fault. Most recently, at Brands Hatch, he was knocked out of the race by a rival right in turn one. That's particularly painful."
Everyone in the Audi camp is aware that Oschersleben will offer the last chance for the brand with the four rings to achieve a turn-around in what has been an unfortunate 2010 DTM season so far. Four times in the past six years since its return to the DTM with a manufacturer's commitment Audi has won the round at Oschersleben. The statistics of the current season, as well, show that the Audi A4 DTM basically possesses the requisite performance capability: in the contest of pole positions, the score between Mercedes-Benz and Audi is at 4:3, with respect to the fastest laps it is at 3:4.
Strong trend by Miguel Molina
Miguel Molina most recently made a remarkable contribution to this tally. The newcomer who runs for Audi Sport Rookie Team Abt looks back on two excellent weekends: the two circuits, Zandvoort and Brands Hatch, which are regarded as tracks that particularly test the drivers' skills, were new territory to the Catalonian who is merely 21. By finishing fifth in the Netherlands and fourth in the United Kingdom he not only delivered his personal best performances of the season. At Brands Hatch, he even managed to set a new track record. Now, at Oschersleben, the young talent will compete on a circuit he is familiar with from his previous career.
Topics of the weekend
- Will Timo Scheider be able to shine at Oschersleben again, as he did in the two past years?
- Will Miguel Molina retain his top form?
- Will Audi Sport Team Phoenix, after good performances in the previous races, be able to fight for points with both cars?
- Will Audi's used cars again be clearly outperforming the Mercedes-Benz vehicles with the corresponding specifications?
- Will Oliver Jarvis, after consistently showing good qualifying performances, be able to clinch an adequate race result at Oschersleben for the first time?
Quotes by the officials
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "The track characteristics at Oschersleben require a lot of downforce and the circuit does not have a really long straight. At Brands Hatch we managed a decent team result and improved our performance. Our aim is to continue to work like this. We want to use Oschersleben to perhaps turn the championship around after all. With a victory there we'd have every reason to look ahead positively."
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "We should set our sights on what's ahead. We know that it's very difficult in the championship. But our mission should be to look at the individual events in a positive light. We've got to try and improve in qualifying some more in order to show the performance in the race and to be able to stay at the front. That's possible. The important thing is that we don't lose motivation. I will personally fight for us to get within the reach of exploits together because we have a common goal: to be at the very front."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "Oschersleben has traditionally been an Audi track. It suits the car well, both the old and the new car. We need to begin with the best set-up for the start and then be quick from the outset. Our aim must be to get our drivers on a good mental track. And then we'll take off with momentum."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "I've got fond memories of Oschersleben because that's where we clinched our first podium result three years ago with 'Rocky.' The circuit is relatively angular and should actually suit us well. We're still chasing after our first points of the season. I'm hoping it'll finally work out at Oschersleben."
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers
Mattias Ekstrom (32/S), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #5 (Audi Sport Team Abt
- Contested a NASCAR event during the week before the race
- Oschersleben is the only permanent race track on the current DTM calendar at which the Swede has not yet won a DTM race
- Drove his 100th DTM race at Brands Hatch
"I want to forget the weekend at Brands Hatch as quickly as possible. At Oschersleben, I finished as the runner-up last year. It's the only permanent race track in the DTM on which I've never won before. And it's the track on which we can postpone the title decision this year once more. That's got to be our aim."
Oliver Jarvis (26/GB), Tabac Original Audi A4 DTM #2 (Audi Sport Team
- Achieved grid positions four in 2008 and five in 2009 in the year-old car
- Has so far been deprived of finishing in the points at Oschersleben
"Unfortunately a puncture deprived me of a good result at Oschersleben last year. But our pace has basically always been good there. After a somewhat disappointing race at Brands Hatch I'm looking forward to Oschersleben. The track is great and very aggressive for the cars. I'm really excited about the race."
Katherine Legge (30/GB), Glamour Audi A4 DTM #15 (Audi Sport Team
- Has competed at Oschersleben twice before
- Most recently won the qualifying duel against Susie Stoddart two consecutive times
"I can hardly wait for the race at Oschersleben. We've got to try out a few things on the car. Unfortunately, our work on the set-up has been slightly off the mark lately. We've got to tackle the next race weekend with fresh ideas."
Miguel Molina (21/E), Audi Bank A4 DTM #18 (Audi Sport Rookie Team Abt)
- Knows Oschersleben from his previous career
- Posted the fastest race lap in the most recent race
- With a fourth-place finish achieved his best result of the season
"I know the track from Formula racing. I contested an event there five years ago but I think the layout has changed a little. I'm hoping that we'll be able to run at the same level as in the past two races. I'd definitely like to continue this way."
Alexandre Premat (28/F), TV Movie Audi A4 DTM #9 (Audi Sport Team
- Ninth place has been his best result at Oschersleben so far
- Is currently the third-best driver of a 2008-specification Audi in the standings
"I really like this circuit. It'll be difficult to score points there in the middle of the newer cars. But that's exactly my goal because I do want to advance some more in the standings."
Mike Rockenfeller (26/D), S line Audi A4 DTM #10 (Audi Sport Team
- With grid position two in 2007 has achieved his best qualifying result so far at Oschersleben
- Drove his best DTM race there the same year as well with a third-place finish
- Will contest the Petit Le Mans race two weeks after Oschersleben
"I'm looking forward to Oschersleben because that's where I've achieved my biggest exploit in the DTM so far. Some time has passed since then but I've always been quick on this track. I'm hoping to score some points there again this year and, if possible, even a really good result. I think we need to fully concentrate on qualifying because our race pace has always been good this year, particularly in the past two events at Zandvoort and Brands Hatch. Unfortunately, we never got any points for that. The reason is that we didn't start at the front. We've got to work on this. We haven't been good in qualifying lately."
Timo Scheider (31/D), GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #1 (Audi Sport Team
- Clinched Audi's 50th victory in the DTM at Oschersleben last year
- Dominated the 2008 round with pole position, victory and fastest lap
- With a score of 29 points in fourth place is the best Audi driver in the standings
"I've got very fond memories of Oschersleben because I won there in the past two years. Oschersleben has always considerably contributed to my driving style as well as to my sense of comfort in the car. I clinched my first DTM victory there as well. It would be perfect timing if we managed to turn the tables in our performance contest with Mercedes and achieved a victory. For me, too, this would be a nice trend to mount the top of the podium after the races at Zandvoort and Brands Hatch for a change. Whether that'll work out is a different question. But I'm arriving with a very positive feeling."
Martin Tomczyk (28/D), Red Bull Cola Audi A4 DTM #6 (Audi Sport Team Abt
- Started from the front row at Oschersleben in 2004 and 2005
- Has been on the podium at Oschersleben as many as three times, including in 2008 and 2009
- Will contest his 100th DTM race at Oschersleben.
"Although Oschersleben is not one of my favorite tracks I've always been pretty quick there. That's why I'm traveling to the eighth round of the season with confidence. And I'm happy that races are taking place in such quick succession."
Markus Winkelhock (30/D), Playboy/GW:plus Audi A4 DTM #14 (Audi Sport
- Sixth place two years ago was his best DTM result at Oschersleben
- Has not seen the checkered flag four times in a row this year
"Just two weeks after Brands Hatch Oschersleben is on the agenda and I'm looking forward to it. I'm traveling there with a good feeling because I believe that my run of misfortune has simply got to come to an end. I'm assuming that the trend will point upward. Oschersleben suits me well. I clinched my first pole position there in 2001, in Formula 3, and finished on the podium too. In 2008 I scored my first DTM points there."
Timo Scheider about Oschersleben: "After winning here twice in a row, I have a very special relationship with Oschersleben. The entire circuit gives me a positive feeling and I always get into a good rhythm there. The triple-left bend is an especially fast section. The curb in the first corner is tough on the cars, as is the fast chicane ahead of the back straight. The perimeter walls are closer to the track at Oschersleben than on any other circuit, but I like circuits that don't let you make any mistakes. My tip for the spectators is to go to the grandstand on the chicane ahead of the back straight, because it's a spectacular section and it lets you see the cars for a long time, right from the first corner. A characteristic feature is the long pit stop approach. The whole pit stop therefore takes a lot longer here than at other tracks."
Oschersleben 2009 flashback
Title defender Timo Scheider celebrated his first exploit of the season at Oschersleben, clinching Audi's 50th win in the DTM in the process. Mattias Ekstrom and Martin Tomczyk completed a commanding one-two-three result for Audi. Less fortunate was the quickest in qualifying, Tom Kristensen, whose Audi A4 DTM was not standing exactly within the position markings on the grid. After a drive-through penalty the Dane made a recovery from 17th to eighth place.