Kristensen claims second victory of the season
His boat came under water in Audi's funny paper boat race on Friday evening, but on Sunday, Audi-works driver Tom Kristensen came out on top as he scored his second DTM victory of the season, winning the race at the circuit of Zandvoort in The Netherlands in front of a 78,500 strong crowd, a new DTM record for the Dutch track.
Starting from second place, Kristensen pipped pole-sitter Jamie Green (Mercedes-Benz) as the lights went out and led throughout the 38 lap race. "Perfect race, perfect day. A wonderful victory for Audi and for myself", said the winner. After a thrilling battle over many laps, points leader Bernd Schneider claimed second place for Mercedes-Benz from Audi's Martin Tomczyk, who scored his second podium finish in as many races. With his victory, Kristensen reduced Bernd Schneider's margin in the championship standings to ten points, with another three rounds to go and 30 points at stake.
A good start was the basis for Tom Kristensen's excellent race result at Zandvoort. As the track was dry again for the race after heavy rain in the morning, he took first place at the start and led the 20 car field into the first corner and never was to lose his position again, in spite of problems during his first mandatory pit stop, when the tank can got stuck after his Audi A4 DTM had been re-fuelled. The Dane's second pit stop went without any trouble and thus he retained the lead on his way to his second victory of the season after his victory at Oschersleben.
Points leader Bernd Schneider shone again with a spirited drive that brought him from a rather dissatisfying seventh position at the start - his worst qualifying result of the season so far - to second place as the chequered flag was out. After his second pit stop, the Mercedes-Benz-driver quickly closed up to Audi's Martin Tomczyk and had a fierce battle with the Bavarian for second place. Three laps before the end, the two were driving side-by-side through Gerlach corner and Schneider had the upper hand accelerating out of the corner. After that, he stayed in front of Tomczyk and came home second.
Schneider's Mercedes-Benz-team mate Bruno Spengler, who had won the two previous races at Norisring and the Nürburgring finished fourth from Audi's Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Timo Scheider. The latter was the best-placed driver with year-old machinery in sixth place. The top eight was completed by the two Mercedes-Benz C-Classes of Stefan Mücke and pole-sitter Jamie Green. Mattias Ekström, two times winner at Zandvoort, lost all his hopes of a good finish after a collision with Jamie Green, for which the Briton was given a drive-through penalty.
Tom Kristensen (1st place, Audi Sport Team Abt): "Perfect race, perfect day. A wonderful victory for Audi and for myself. It was a hard fight at the end because I had some brake problems, but a victory is a victory and I closed the gap to Bernd a little bit. I had hoped that a few more Audi drivers would have been between me and Bernd.
Bernd Schneider (2nd place, Vodafone AMG Mercedes): "A great race with a perfect car. Already a few laps after the start, I recognised that I could do well with this car today. At the end, it wasn't easy. I was sure of third place, but obviously, I wanted more and eventually I succeeded in overtaking Martin.
Martin Tomczyk (3rd place, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "I had a great race and a fantastic fight with Bernd at the end. Unfortunately, I had some tyre problems in the closing stages of the race, so I couldn't manage to keep Bernd behind me. Anyway, I am very happy with the weekend. Third place in Zandvoort again, just like in 2004."
Mercedes-Benz motor sport director Norbert Haug: "Bernd Schneider has done a tremendous job. Making up from seventh place on the grid to second at the finish is great. We have seen a strategic masterpiece here. Unfortunately, Jamie Green lost five places at the start, which of course isn't very helpful in the race. Audi has shown a great team performance, Martin Tomczyk has driven an excellent race. All in all, it was a great race that surely has enthralled the spectators. Racing was close and we have seen top class driving."
Audi motor sport director Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: "For sure, this race was the best promotion for the DTM. It was exciting and the racing was close. We tried to make the best out of our grid positions. I am very happy that Tom Kristensen could drive his own race here, although he was having problems with one of the front brake discs towards the end and thus lost braking power. The balance of the car was affected a little bit, too. In the championship, he is two points closer to Bernd Schneider. That is not much, but Bernd Schneider has been driving an excellent race and his second place is well-deserved. I am not so happy with what happened to Mattias Ekström. From my point of view, that wasn't necessary. Certainly, we haven't been showing a 100 percent performance here, there is still room for improvement for the next couple of races."