Audi newsletter 2003-07-19

Audi driver Fredrik Ekblom pulls further away STCC: Audi driver Fredrik Ekblom has increased his lead in the Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC) with two-second places at Knutstorp. After ten of 16 races, Ekblom now has a 37-point advantage...

Audi driver Fredrik Ekblom pulls further away

STCC: Audi driver Fredrik Ekblom has increased his lead in the Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC) with two-second places at Knutstorp. After ten of 16 races, Ekblom now has a 37-point advantage over Volvo driver Jan Nilsson, who had to put up with a further retirement in Knutstorp. Ekblom instead remains the most reliable driver in the STCC: The Swede crossed the finish line in all ten races.

Richard Goeransson narrowly beat Ekblom in the first race at Knutstorp. In the second race, Ekblom was able to fight his way up to second again after having started from seventh position on the grid. Tobias Johansson finished fifth in both races in another Audi A4 twice and jumped up to fourth in the STCC overall classification.

Emanuele Pirro welcomed enthusiastically in China

Le Mans: Thousands of Chinese people were greeted to an unusual sight in Beijing a week ago on Sunday: To coincide with the market launch of the A8, Emanuele Pirro drove a lap of the Chinese capital's famous "forbidden city" in the powerful 610 hp sports car Audi R8. "That was an incredibly emotional experience," enthused Emanuele Pirro, who drove among the cars, trucks and bicycles of the normal city traffic with the 2002 Le Mans 24 Hour race-winning car. "The Chinese were really impressed." The Italian flies to China again on Tuesday, to show the Audi R8 in action on a race track close to Peking.

Two ALMS races in one week

ALMS: Tough week for the customer Audi teams ADT Champion Racing and Infineon Team Joest: Two races within eight days on the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) schedule. And if that is not enough: Both the races, at the Infineon Raceway close to San Francisco (California) and in Canadian Trois-Rivières, lie more than 3000 miles apart. The transporters of both teams must drive practically non-stop to arrive punctually in Canada.

The Infineon Raceway is regarded as one of the most challenging tracks in the ALMS. "There is not a single straight, overtaking is extremely difficult," explained Ralf Juttner, Infineon Team Joest Technical Director. His team has already won twice with the Audi R8 there, however, last year a Panoz triumphed. After the Champion team celebrated their first ALMS victory three weeks ago in Road Atlanta, the Joest team has two reasons for revenge. "Our target is clear: We want to climb the top step of the rostrum again," said Marco Werner, for whom the circuit in California is new terriotory.

The German driver duo of Frank Biela/Marco Werner is under threat from Johnny Herbert and JJ Lehto again, who won from the word go in their first race together driving the Team Champion Audi R8. "It would be fabulous if we left California as clear championship leaders", said JJ Lehto. "But it will be a hard race: Team Joest will be highly motivated after our victory in Road Atlanta."

The ALMS race on the Infineon Raceway starts on Sunday at 1200 a.m. local time (2100 p.m. CET) and last for 2 hours 45 minutes.

Well prepared for the second half of the season

DTM: The "return leg" of the current DTM season begins this coming weekend with round six in Donington (Great Britain). Team Abt Sportsline used the five-week long summer break very efficiently to prepare themselves for the second half of the season: In addition to champion Laurent Aiello, Christian Abt and Mattias Ekstrom driving during two unproblematic test days in Italy, at which the performance of the Abt Audi TT-R was further tweaked, the Audi Junior Martin Tomczyk also got behind the wheel. "The possibilities of development during the season are limited due to the strict DTM regulations. However, we always find a few details that we can improved on," explained Team Director Hans-Jurgen Abt.

Martin Tomczyk, who forms the S line Audi Junior Team together with the 19-year old Peter Terting, has good memories of Donington Park: Last year, the youngster had a spectacular and much celebrated duel over many laps with former Formula 1 star Jean Alesi. His drive onto the podium was only stopped by the vehement attack of an opponent. While Peter Terting competes in his first race in Great Britain on 27 July, the appearance of Laurent Aiello in Donington is something of a homecoming: In 1999, the Frenchman convincingly won the British Touring Car Championship. The DTM champion lacks only a victory in Donington.

Audi Motorsport in numbers

Knutstorp (S), July 20, Round 9 of the Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC)
1 Richard Goransson (BMW) 15 laps
2 Fredrik Ekblom (Audi A4) + 1.861s
3 Carl Rosenblad (BMW) + 14.223s
4 Mattias Andersson (BMW) + 19.751s
5 Tobias Johansson (Audi) + 20.102s

Knutstorp (S), July 20, Round 10 of the Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC)
1 Jan Nilsson (Volvo) 25 laps
2 Fredrik Ekblom (Audi A4) + 5.620s
3 Magnus Krokstrom (Volvo) + 8.158s
4 Tommy Rustad (Opel) + 15.255s
5 Tobias Johansson (Audi) + 17.342s

Positions after 10 of 16 rounds: 1 Ekblom, 157 points; 2 Nilsson, 120; 3 Rustad, 110; 4 Johansson 96; 5 Engstrom, 88.

Next race: Karlskoga (S), 17 August

Coming up this week

Third round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at the Infineon Raceway (Sunday) ... Sixth round of the DTM at Donington Park (Sunday) ... Sixth round of the SPEED World Challenge at the Infineon Raceway (Sunday) ... Emanuele Pirro presents the Audi R8 at the Golden Port circuit in Beijing (Thursday till Sunday) ...

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About this article
Series ALMS , DTM , Le Mans , Road racing
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Jean Alesi , Frank Biela , Laurent Aiello , Carl Rosenblad , Martin Tomczyk , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Marco Werner , Peter Terting , Mattias Andersson , Hans-Jurgen Abt , Richard Göransson , Richard Goeransson , Ralf Juttner , Tommy Rustad , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto