Audi aims to win DTM's world finale
Ingolstadt, November 19, 2010 - For the second time the DTM will race in Shanghai and for the first time the most popular international touring car racing series will hold a classification race plus its world finale there. Audi is set on continuing in China the form it last proved when Timo Scheider clinched a commanding victory from grid position 15 at the European finale at Adria (Italy). In addition, Audi will enter Darryl O'Young from Hong Kong in Shanghai, a driver who has regional ties to the event.
After his so far best performance of the season and his sixth personal DTM victory Timo Scheider, like his team colleagues, aims to achieve a brilliant finish of the 2010 season for Audi. As well as Mattias Ekstrom, Martin Tomczyk and Markus Winkelhock the champion of the past two years competed in Shanghai in 2004 when the DTM visited China for the first time. Whereas Audi will not be able to continue the hat-trick of having won the championship in the past three years, and the title decision in China will be made between the Mercedes-Benz drivers, Audi with a score of 4:3 remains the more successful manufacturer in terms of the number of title wins since its return to the DTM in the 2004 season.
The finale in Shanghai will be held on a 2.456-kilometer circuit in the district of Pudong that has been specifically established for the DTM. None of the teams has any knowledge of the new track that has no reference to the circuit used in 2004. "This means the cards will be reshuffled once more at the end of the year," stresses Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "While our competitor will experience a tough fight within its own team we'll be free to drive for victory. It would be nice to actually make this happen in a country that is as important to Audi as China is."
The newly prepared race car designated as car number "9" will be entered with a new driver and special graphics. After giving Alexandre Premat a leave of absence Audi signed the Hong Kong Chinese Darryl O'Young. The blue Audi A4 DTM driven by the 30-year-old racer will continue to advertise a product of the Bauer Media Group - albeit this time it will not be TV Movie but the Chinese magazine "Du Shi Li Ren." It is China's highest-circulation fashion and lifestyle magazine for women, selling over 1.25 million copies.
In addition to the nine Audi A4 DTM race cars the Chinese fans will get to see four other fascinating models on the race weekend. During the DTM's supporting program they will be able to marvel at two Audi TT RS cars with endurance race specifications, an Audi R8 LMS race taxi and an Audi R8 GT. The race taxis will be driven by the five-time Le Mans winners and former Audi "factory" drivers Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela, the former European FIA GT3 Champion Christopher Mies and the Malaysian Alex Yoong. Yoong was most recently victorious at the wheel of the R8 LMS in the GTC class at the ILMC round at Zhuhai.
Racing in an increasingly important market
By holding its finale in Shanghai the DTM responds to the importance of a steadily growing automobile market. In October Audi delivered the one-millionth vehicle in China, after the brand's success story had begun with a license agreement in 1988. The most recent sales statistics complement this success: in the first ten months of 2010 Audi delivered 192,060 vehicles in China - marking a growth of 55.7 percent over the prior-year period. This now makes China Audi's largest single market ahead of Germany. On November 7, just three weeks before the DTM finale, Audi finished the ILMC season in China with a victory: the Audi R8 LMS in the hands of the customer sport team KK Performance won the GTC class. Now the aim is for another product-related race car - the A4 DTM - to win on Chinese soil.
Complex logistics extending all the way into next year
From October to January - this is how long the DTM finale in Shanghai lasts from the perspective of the logisticians. As early as on October 8 the hazardous goods of all the teams, such as lubricants, brake cleaners or compressed air bottles, were sent off in a bulk container by ship. Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Audi Sport Team Phoenix and Audi Sport Team Rosberg have individually been dispatching their air cargo since November 10. At the Hahn airport in the Hunsruck region the material was loaded onto aircraft pallets and the Audi A4 DTM race cars on car racks. A two-car team like Rosberg or Phoenix shipped about 16 to 18 tons of cargo weight consisting of material, equipment and vehicles, Abt Sportsline with five race cars, the two DTM safety cars, the Audi RS5 and the R8, plus a race taxi shipped 40 tons. After their arrival in China, clearing customs at the circuit on November 22 and the race, the sea containers will be loaded again for the return trip as early as on November 28 and 29. The race cars will be flown back and will land in Frankfurt on December 6. It is anticipated that the container cargo ship will embark on its voyage for Europe during the 49th calendar week and arrive at the port of Antwerp in the third calendar week of 2011, in other words from January 17 onward. Only then will the teams receive their material again "from the longest race weekend of the year."
Topics of the weekend
- After the triumph at Adria, will Audi achieve the second consecutive victory?
- Will Mattias Ekstrom, as in 2004, be the best Audi driver in China?
- What will be Mike Rockenfeller's chances in the fight with Jamie Green for the position of the best driver of a used car in 2010?
- Will Audi Sport Team Abt still clinch the "vice champion's title" in the team classification?
Quotes by the officials
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "In the past races we worked our way forward, closer and closer toward the chance for victory. At Adria, it actually worked out. That was a huge motivation boost for the whole squad. We'd like to use this boost in Shanghai to make a good showing and to be in contention for victory again. This race is very important for Audi. China is one of the most important markets of all. Therefore, we'll tackle our tasks with full concentration once more at the end of the season."
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "We're looking forward to Shanghai. It'll be great to prepare for the race in this metropolis. This is a mega-event for the whole series. We can be relaxed about the decisions in the championship. We, by contrast, have got nothing to lose. We want to clinch this last trophy of the season if possible. And we've still got a chance to finish the team classification as the runners-up."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "The street circuit is new to everyone. Such a track has no grip at first. You've got to keep your cool and find the right set-up even if the grip level changes again. You need a good grid position because overtaking is difficult on such circuits. And you've got to stay out of trouble. We've simply had our fill of such situations; we saw enough of them at Adria. It's better to take the bull by the horns and win!"
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Even though Shanghai unfortunately brings back memories of a case of total damage due to a manhole cover in 2004 we'll start into the finale with momentum. Fourth place by Markus Winkelhock in Italy has lifted everyone's spirits. We feel relieved and are relaxed about tackling the race. We no longer feel the pressure we did before Adria. I'm optimistic that things will be going as well for us in Shanghai as they did before, in Italy."
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers
Mattias Ekstrom (32/S), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #5 (Audi Sport Team Abt
- With a third-place finish was the best Audi driver in Shanghai in 2004
- Was most recently fighting for a podium position at Adria until encountering a minor defect "I don't know yet what we can expect in Shanghai. I only know the circuit from a map so far. I like street circuits and this one will be very narrow. So a lot will be predetermined in qualifying. Before flying to Asia I'll enjoy a couple of days off, and then the finale will come."
Oliver Jarvis (26/GB), Tabac Original Audi A4 DTM #2 (Audi Sport Team
- Experienced part of his career in Asia
- Most recently, at Adria, clinched his second-best result of the season by finishing fifth "It's always nice to return to Asia. I've got fond memories of races in Japan and China. I clinched my first A1GP podium in Beijing. Our form curve points upward a bit. I scored points four times in the five past races. It would be great to finish the season with a good result."
Katherine Legge (30/GB), Glamour Audi A4 DTM #15 (Audi Sport Team
- Enters new territory in Shanghai
- Drove the fourth-fasted race lap in difficult conditions most recently, at Adria "My car was excellent at our last wet race, at Adria. I really like street circuits and often raced on such tracks in the United States. It'll probably be a little bit like at the Norisring. The atmosphere is really special at such events. I've never been to this part of the world. That's why I'm very much looking forward to it. The track looks great on the pictures. I can hardly wait to drive there. It'll probably be an exciting event."
Miguel Molina (21/E), Audi Bank A4 DTM #18 (Audi Sport Rookie Team Abt)
- Remains the best DTM rookie of the 2010 season
- Will be racing in Shanghai for the first time "This will be a completely new and no doubt a good experience for me. We don't yet know what to expect there. I want to continue to clinch the best possible results. And I'm hoping that we'll manage to do this better than we did at the previous races."
Darryl O'Young (30/CN), Du Shi Li Ren Audi A4 DTM #9 (Audi Sport Team
- Will celebrate his DTM debut in Shanghai
- Will be sporting the colors of a Chinese magazine published by the Bauer Media Group during his run "I'm proud to have the chance of competing for Audi in Shanghai. This is a fantastic opportunity. I'm not running in an Audi for the first time. Competing for Race Experience Team Joest and finishing the Sepang 12 Hours in the R8 LMS as the runner-up was a great experience. Of course I realize that the Audi A4 DTM is a completely different car. The street race in Shanghai is very special. Nobody has ever driven on this circuit. I like street circuits very much and achieved good results in Macau in the past few years. Although I won't have much time to get used to my new environment I'll do my best to make a good showing for Audi and the DTM fans."
Mike Rockenfeller (27/D), S line Audi A4 DTM #10 (Audi Sport Team
- As seventh in the standings continues to be the best driver of a 2008-specification Audi A4 DTM and third-best Audi driver in total
- The DTM in Shanghai will be his 18th racing commitment this season "I'm looking forward to Shanghai. Unfortunately, I didn't clinch any points at the last race, at Adria. I'm hoping for a good qualifying and want to really score points once more at the finale. The circuit is new to all of us. Hopefully, it'll be a nice circuit that suits us well and is fun to drive on."
Timo Scheider (32/D), GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #1 (Audi Sport Team
- Celebrated his 32nd birthday 18 days before the race
- Only completed 13 laps at his DTM run in Shanghai in 2004
- Still has a mathematical chance of clinching third place in the standings "The final race is a good motivator. It's also great that before the finale we managed to clinch the victory we'd been hoping for so long. Since the middle of the season our performances have stabilized. We were on pole twice in the second half of the season but didn't win any races before Adria. Shanghai will be another heated battle. I'll attack there again and will hopefully deliver a good final result."
Martin Tomczyk (28/D), Red Bull Cola Audi A4 DTM #6 (Audi Sport Team Abt
- Wants to continue his string of five consecutive point-finishes
- Retired after an accident at his run in Shanghai in 2004 "This is something new for a change. I'm sure we'll be in for a nice closing of the season. And it'll no doubt be a tough and thrilling race because three drivers from Mercedes-Benz will be fighting for the title."
Markus Winkelhock (30/D), Playboy/GW:plus Audi A4 DTM #14 (Audi Sport
- Achieved his best result of the season with a fourth-place finish at the most recent race at Adria
- Took ninth place in Shanghai in 2004 "I'm really excited about going to Shanghai. After my success at Adria I'm even more motivated. Street circuits have always suited me well, both in touring and in formula cars. I've competed in Shanghai before but obviously don't know this circuit version. So it's new territory for everyone and the same prerequisites apply to all of us."
Track length: 2.465 km
Race distance: 60 laps 147.900 km
DTM qualifying record on this track: new track layout, no previous statistics
DTM race record on this track: new track layout, no previous statistics
Mattias Ekstrom about Shanghai: "The DTM came to Shanghai in 2004, and I secured third place for Audi in an Audi A4 DTM back then. I really liked racing on this street circuit and I'm delighted that we're going back to China. We don't yet have any details about the new circuit, so I can't really say much about what we can expect there. But one thing's for sure: a DTM finale on a street circuit is bound to be an exciting affair."
Shanghai 2004 flashback
At the DTM invitation race in Shanghai Mattias Ekstrom finished in third place as the best Audi driver. In his Audi A4 DTM the Swede pushed forward from position nine on the grid to third place in a turbulent race that had been started with a nearly five-hour delay due to work on the circuit. Dindo Capello on his DTM debut occupied fifth place. Audi lost its chance for victory in Shanghai as early as on the starting lap due to collisions. Of all cars, the incidents took the fastest Audi A4 DTM cars in qualifying out of the race.