The Head of DTM at Audi Sport about the three-day DTM tests in Spain.
Audi reeled off more test kilometers at Monteblanco than its two competitors. How did the test go from your perspective?
Dieter Gass: "It was a very good test. We drove a lot of kilometers without any major issues. We had an extensive test program and completed our homework in Spain to the extent we’d been planning."
What’ll be next now?
"We gathered a large amount of data with both cars on the three days that we’re now going to merge and analyze in Neuburg. Our task is to find out what’s best and to pass that on to our teams for the ITR pre-season test at Hockenheim at the beginning of April. At Monteblanco, we intensively worked on the “tool box” that’s available to our teams. It’s about having the right setup options for always being optimally prepared in varying conditions. This is crucial in view of the extreme competitiveness in the DTM."
Audi Sport only used two drivers at Monteblanco – Jamie Green and Mattias Ekström – who reeled off a particularly large number of test kilometers. Why only these two?
"In order to achieve the best possible test results, we prefer using only one driver per car in a development test. That proved to be the right choice again this time. Jamie and Mattias held up well. On Wednesday alone, they drove 200 and 206 laps, respectively. I don’t know if the DTM has ever seen anything like this before. For me, that looks like a new record."
On two of the three days, Mattias Ekström and thus Audi, was the front runner and in the end, the best time of the test went to BMW driver Timo Glock. How relevant are the lap times?
"Obviously, it looks to be at the top of the time sheets. But, as always, lap times in tests aren’t really conclusive. We can’t judge the new Mercedes-Benz after these three days yet either. Like every year, we’re only going to know where we stand in the first qualifying session of the season opener at Hockenheim. But that’s what makes the DTM so thrilling."
So, what can the DTM fans look forward to when the season starts at Hockenheim on May 7/8?
"I think they’re again going to see a very well-balanced field. Efforts are underway to add more variety and reduce the formation of blocks within the manufacturers’ lineups. The performance weights obviously play a part in this, as well as the DRS (Drag Reduction System) that is to be used more intensively for overtaking than in the past instead of being able to follow a faster car."