Audi driver Kristensen wins at Zandvoort
Commanding performance by Le Mans record winner
Martin Tomczyk on podium again
Timo Scheider best driver of a 2005-spec car
78,500 spectators at Zandvoort (the Netherlands) witnessed another captivating DTM weekend and a commanding victory by Tom Kristensen in the Siemens Audi A4 DTM. The Dane from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline performed a perfect start to take the lead, which he relinquished for merely one lap after his first tyre change. Martin Tomczyk finished third to complete Audi's exploit on the Dutch North Sea coast.
Clinching his second victory of the season, Tom Kristensen reduced his gap to the current DTM leader, Bernd Schneider, to ten points. Claiming his second consecutive podium finish, Martin Tomczyk advanced to position four of the standings. With Heinz-Harald Frentzen finishing in fifth place, and Timo Scheider (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) as the best driver of a car from last year in sixth, two further Audi drivers scored points at Zandvoort.
Although Tom Kristensen was leading the race over 37 of 38 laps, victory did not come easy to the Le Mans record winner. The Dane had to fight his way past several Mercedes cars with last year's specs performing their mandatory pit stops later. During his first pit stop, the refuelling can got stuck. In the final third of the race, Kristensen was driving with reduced braking power because debris on the track had clogged the front right-hand vents for the brake. That's why Bernd Schneider was able to reduce his gap to the victorious Audi to 0.785 seconds.
Schneider was only able to overtake Martin Tomczyk in the Red Bull Audi A4 DTM three laps before the end of the race. Tomczyk drove yet another strong race, keeping the DTM leader at bay for several laps and clinching the third place on the podium for the second time in a row.
A big misfortune was suffered by Mattias Ekström, who was running behind Kristensen and Tomczyk in third place for a long time. The 2002 and 2004 Zandvoort winner was touched on the 27th lap in the famous "Tarzan Bocht" by Mercedes driver Jamie Green. In the incident the right rear tyre of his Red Bull A4 was slit. Green received a drive-through penalty, as did the two-time Formula 1 Champion Mika Häkkinen, who bumped Christian Abt off the track.
Christian Abt's team-mate in Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Pierre Kaffer, lost potential points due to a mistake of his pit crew which had not fastened the front right wheel properly during the first pit stop. Dropping from sixth to 18th place, Kaffer still managed to finish ninth.
Only a short race was driven by Vanina Ickx, who made a braking mistake on the first lap, hitting her team-mate Nicolas Kiesa.
Quotes after the race
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Tom's (Kristensen) victory was a good and well deserved one. He drove a flawless race, and the team's pit stops, too, were top class. Unfortunately, in the Championship we only made up to two points to Bernd Schneider, which is less than we'd been hoping for. Despite great pit stops, we weren't able to fully translate the squad's good qualifying performance in the race. We need to continue to work on getting stronger as a team overall and improve our performance. Our goal continues to be taking home the title to Ingolstadt."
Tom Kristensen: "I feel great. This victory was very important for Audi. I had everything under control and my car was running perfectly. About 15 laps before the end I was beginning to lose braking power. Obviously, the supply of cooling air was clogged at the right front. I had to shift braking power to the rear and had merely three wheels left with proper braking performance. Both pit stops were good - the can getting stuck actually just shows how quick the boys have meanwhile become."
Martin Tomczyk: "Of course I'm satisfied. This was a 2004 revival except that this time Tom (Kristensen) was playing Mattias' (Ekström) part in front of me. That was great teamwork with perfect pit stops. That I wasn't able to keep Bernd (Schneider) at bay in the end is too bad. He was incredibly quick, was driving in my slipstream for ten laps and his tyres simply didn't degrade - while mine did because I had to defend myself. That's why he was able to overtake me three laps before the end."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "This was one of my most interesting races in the DTM. Unfortunately I had two mishaps in it: on the second lap I left the racing line and the tyres got dirty. It cost me three laps to clean them again. Then I'd made up ground before stalling the engine while pitting - that was the second mishap. Altogether, though, I was able to attack well and had some nice duels."
Timo Scheider: "My start was super but in the first corner I got into a bit of a jam. We had a communication problem because our radio didn't work. Tactically, this may have cost us one place which I lost to Bruno Spengler. I found out what the strategy was from the pit boards, but of course with a one-lap delay. I want to thank my team and my engineer, Karl, who chose exactly the right set-up off his own bat."
Pierre Kaffer: "I improved by two positions at the start and overtook Bernd Schneider. Unfortunately, he bumped me in 'Tarzan Bocht' and was wass able to pass me this way. During my first pit stop the wheel nut apparently got jammed. After that, my pace was pretty good. Still, ninth place is disappointing. Today, a better result would have been possible."
Mattias Ekström: "My start was very good. The car felt good all the way to the end. Only in traffic it was difficult because I had understeer when following other cars. I wasn't able to overtake all that well. Being hit by Jamie (Green) meant a disappointing end of what was otherwise a good weekend. For Audi in particular, it was good because Tom (Kristensen) won."
Frank Stippler: "In the beginning my car felt good while the guys in front of me were a bit slower. That's why I was shooting for too much too early, and my poor grid position played a role in this, too. Consequently, I spun. During contact with another car the right rear wheel house came off. The car was still relatively good, but I was no longer able to attack with it."
Nicolas Kiesa: "At the start, I made up one or two places. In the chicane, though, Vanina crashed into my rear. I got stuck in the gravel. That was actually the end of my race. Still, I continued to drive. Basically, the car was running as planned because our race set-up was very good. The car was consistent, the loss of time on old tyres very little. That was only shown by the lap times, though, not by my position."
Christian Abt: "Retiring from the race has been a big disappointment because my performance on the first laps was so good that I was able to keep up easily with Bruno Spengler and Timo Scheider. Spengler's fourth place shows where we, too, could have finished today. This upsets me even more. That Mika (Häkkinen) received a drive-through penalty for is unnecessary attack isn't a great deal of consolation for me."
Vanina Ickx: "It seems like I'm having a streak of very good starts but a problem with crossing the finish line. My engineer was satisfied with the performances this weekend - except for the early 'end' of the race of course. Now I need to start doing better in qualifying."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "Congratulations to Tom Kristensen on a flawless race. It was a race with many incidents which we now need to analyse. Having two cars on the podium is reason for us to be very satisfied. Perhaps we would have expected Bernd Schneider to finish a little further towards the back but he, too, drove a flawless and fair race. Well done to all three of them!"
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "We're extremely disappointed. With Christian (Abt), the front suspension got damaged in a collision. With Pierre (Kaffer), there was a pit stop problem. The strategy we used made it possible for him to move forwards to eighth place. At the end, though, the tyres weren't good enough to defend this place - unfortunately, he finished out of the points yet again."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "With Timo (Scheider), I'm really happy. He drove a perfect race and came sixth. However, we had the problem that his radio stopped working after the first lap. That cost us because we'd wanted him to come in for his first pit stop earlier. This might have enabled us to grab Bruno Spengler. Frank (Stippler) had body contact in the beginning which destroyed the right rear wheel houses, causing the car to lose balance. That's a shame - my wish for him is that he'll break the knot soon. He's got what it takes, we know that."
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Siemens Audi A4 DTM #7
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Siemens Audi A4 DTM #7
3rd place, + 4.977s
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Veltins Audi A4 DTM #6
5th place, + 13.474s
Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Gebrauchtwagen:plus Audi A4 DTM #16
6th place, + 14.907s
Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Castrol Audi A4 DTM #14
9th place, + 38.963s
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #5
13th place, + 1m 11.684s
Audi Sport Team Rosberg, S line Audi A4 DTM #15
14th place, + 1m 13.891s
Futurecom TME, Futurecom Audi A4 DTM #19
16th place, - 1 lap
Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Playboy Audi A4 DTM #12
Futurecom TME, Original Zubehör Audi A4 DTM #20