Return to the venue of the first victory Ingolstadt, October 22, 2010 - On October 31 the DTM will visit the Adria International Raceway near the Italian lagoon city of Venice. There, in May 2004, Audi celebrated its first victory with the Audi...
Return to the venue of the first victory
Ingolstadt, October 22, 2010 - On October 31 the DTM will visit the Adria International Raceway near the Italian lagoon city of Venice. There, in May 2004, Audi celebrated its first victory with the Audi A4 DTM. Accordingly, the Audi squad has fond memories of the round in Italy, the second-largest European market of the Audi brand outside Germany that saw the delivery of 57,204 vehicles in 2009.
Back to the starting point: On the last October weekend in 2010 Audi will return with the DTM to Adria, the venue of the first victory of the Audi A4 DTM. At Adria, on May 16, 2004, Mattias Ekstrom achieved the first triumph of the brand's new race touring car with a 3.1-second lead as early as in the car's third race. To date, 25 further single exploits complement its track record, plus the champion's titles of Mattias Ekstrom (2004, 2007) and Timo Scheider (2008, 2009). Since Audi's return to the DTM with a "factory" commitment at the beginning of the 2004 season the score has been 4:3 in the championship decisions between Audi and Mercedes-Benz. In addition, Audi is the first manufacturer to have clinched a title hat-trick in DTM history, in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
"Needless to say we would have liked to again keep the championship open a little longer this season," says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "But this year things just weren't running smoothly for us, and our rival was as strong as usual. The title fight is over for us, but the season isn't: we want to make as good a showing as possible at Adria and Shanghai and win these races."
Most recently, the two Germans Timo Scheider and Mike Rockenfeller left a
particularly strong impression. After experiencing a difficult start to
the season Scheider has long regained his usual strength, and the first
victory since Barcelona in 2009 just seems to be a matter of time. At
Hockenheim, Rockenfeller was again the best driver of a
2008-specification vehicle and figures on chances of finishing the season
as the driver of an older-generation model with the best point score.
"I'm just seven points behind Jamie (Green), that's a gap you can certainly make up," says "Rocky" with a fighting spirit. The Le Mans winner, who will celebrate his 27th birthday on race day, has never competed in a DTM race there, but in 2003 and 2004 the German contested the Porsche Carrera Cup on the 2.702-kilometer circuit in the Veneto region.
Four of the nine current Audi DTM drivers - Mattias Ekstrom, Timo Scheider, Martin Tomczyk and Markus Winkelhock - have previously raced in DTM cars at Adria. Alexandre Premat knows the track from the Formula 3 Euro Series. The circuit is new territory only to Oliver Jarvis, Miguel Molina and Katherine Legge.
"New old" conditions
The current Audi A4 DTM (internal designation: "R14 plus") has never been driven at Adria before, but the Audi engineers are certainly familiar with this circuit. The first generation of this touring car (the "R11") celebrated its first victory there in 2004. "From experience in those days we know that high braking performance, good traction and mechanical grip in the narrow turns are focal topics," explains Dr. Martin Muhlmeier, Head of Technology at Audi Sport. "The tarmac on the track makes no special demands but in combination with the Dunlop tires produces very typical friction coefficients. Of course the old data generated by the 2004-specification Audi A4 cannot be directly used any more. But in combination with current vehicle data we can use it as a basis for simulations. These results help us with our preparations, for example in selecting the gear ratios and similar aspects."
Topics of the weekend
- Will Mattias Ekstrom be able to repeat his 2004 victory?
- Will Timo Scheider continue to show his excellent form?
- How much faster have the DTM race cars become since their last run at Adria six years ago?
- Will Mike Rockenfeller in the battle of the best drivers of 2008-spec cars continue to make up ground to Jamie Green?
- Will Miguel Molina experience a similarly strong debut on a track that is new to him as he did before at Zandvoort and Brands Hatch?
- Will Team Rosberg score its first points in Italy?
Quotes by the officials
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "It's been many years since we last drove at Adria. That was a good beginning for us then. Hopefully that's a good omen. We aim to finally convert the continuous performance improvement we showed in the past races into the victory for which we've been working hard for such a long time."
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "We've got fond memories of Adria. That's where we achieved our first victory with the Audi 'factory' team in the DTM. Now we're aiming to clinch the second win of the season. At Hockenheim we again came very close, but didn't quite make it. But we won't give up and believe that we're able to clinch one or two victories yet this year in order to end the season on a positive note."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "At Adria it's possible to be surprised by dense fog in the morning at this time of the year. On this track everything will be decided in qualifying. It's very difficult to overtake there as I recall from the years in the DTM and GT racing. Therefore, we'll focus on our qualifying performance. In the standings we want to reduce the gap to Jamie Green. We want to keep the situation in suspense so that we can catch up with him at Shanghai and provide the best driver - Mike Rockenfeller - of a 2008-specification vehicle."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "I'm certainly looking forward to Adria in the land of 'la Dolce Vita.' We've still got two races to go and the tables have got to turn at some point. I've got fond memories of Adria. Our aim is the same as before: after a series of retirements Markus Winkelhock has got to finally finish a race. At Hockenheim we had achieved a good starting base and than he was struck by misfortune again. The track is a 'Mickey Mouse circuit' and doesn't give Markus, Katherine Legge and their rivals any time to rest."
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers
Mattias Ekstrom (32/S), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #5 (Audi Sport Team Abt
- Occupied second in 2003 and first place in 2004 at Adria
- In 2004 celebrated the first of so far 26 victories of an Audi A4 DTM
- Started from the pole position at Adria in 2004
"I'm looking forward to Adria. When I was there last, I achieved my first victory as an Audi 'factory' driver in the Audi A4 DTM. This year it probably won't be as hot as it was there last time. I'm excited about my new race and want to fight for victory there again."
Oliver Jarvis (26/GB), Tabac Original Audi A4 DTM #2 (Audi Sport Team
- At the previous race at Hockenheim finished in the points for the fourth time this season
- Has contested 30 DTM races so far for Audi
"Adria is a new track for me which I'm really looking forward to. It's always a nice experience to get to know a new circuit. Hopefully things will continue the way they went at Hockenheim where we scored a few points. Maybe I'll even be able to fight for the podium."
Katherine Legge (30/GB), Glamour Audi A4 DTM #15 (Audi Sport Team
- Will contest her 30th DTM race for Audi at Adria
- Was one of the victims of the accident on lap one at Hockenheim
"Before heading for Italy I'll try and learn the track on the computer. The circuit reminds me of a go-kart track. I can't judge yet whether or not that'll suit us well. But, as always, it's nice to drive on a different track and to get to know new people."
Miguel Molina (21/E), Audi Bank A4 DTM #18 (Audi Sport Rookie Team Abt)
- Enters new territory at Adria
- With four point-finishes under his belt remains the best rookie in the DTM in his debut season
"The track is new for me. It just has one longer straight and many turns. At Zandvoort and Brands Hatch I achieved my best results of the year on my first encounters with a track. That's exactly what I want to try in Italy too."
Alexandre Premat (28/F), TV Movie Audi A4 DTM #9 (Audi Sport Team
- Was last running in fifth place at Hockenheim when he had to retire due to accident damage after a collision by Jamie Green
- Occupied fifth place in the Formula 3 Euro Series at Adria in 2003
"I was at Adria with Formula 3 in 2003 and 2004 and really like this track. As at Hockenheim I'm aiming to drive good practice sessions and to qualify far at the front. If I do that, I should also be able to score many points. We've got a very good team. My team colleague most recently showed that a nice result is possible in this environment."
Mike Rockenfeller (26/D), S line Audi A4 DTM #10 (Audi Sport Team
- As the best driver of a 2008-spec Audi A4 DTM ranks in seventh place of the standings
- Finished the Porsche Carrera Cup at Adria in fourth place in 2003 and in third in 2004
- Will be 27 on race Sunday at Adria
"Of course I'm looking forward to Adria. My third place at Hockenheim gives me an extra dose of motivation. I'm lacking seven points to Jamie (Green) in the standings. I'd like to make these up in the two remaining races. That's why a good result at Adria would be important."
Timo Scheider (31/D), GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #1 (Audi Sport Team
- As the runner-up in round nine achieved his best result of the season
- In 2004 took fifth place at Adria as the best driver of his team
- Most recently, at Hockenheim, was the second current Audi driver to have surpassed the 300-point mark in his DTM career
"We're facing a new challenge. I was previously at Adria with the DTM. I know the circuit, which appears to me a little like a somewhat enlarged kart track. But it's a tricky circuit nevertheless, and actually a quite demanding one. We can expect a very close race there. There's always a lot of traffic due to the shortness of the track and the low speeds. That's what I'm looking forward to. We've still got two chances of winning this season - and that has to continue to be my goal."
Martin Tomczyk (28/D), Red Bull Cola Audi A4 DTM #6 (Audi Sport Team Abt
- Finished in the points at Adria in 2004, in eighth place
- After starting from position eleven at Hockenheim achieved fifth place as his best result of the season.
"I always enjoy going to Italy although I don't necessarily prefer the track. It's a relatively small, narrow circuit. Frequent acceleration, heavy braking and very tight turns are typical there. I don't dare to make any statement about the balance of power. The cars have changed very much since we last ran there in 2004. So, the power constellation will more than likely be completely different than it was back then."
Markus Winkelhock (30/D), Playboy/GW:plus Audi A4 DTM #14 (Audi Sport
- Has raced at Adria before in Formula 3 in 2003 and 2004
- With grid position six at Hockenheim achieved his best qualifying result of the season
"Although there are circuits with a more fluid layout which I find to be bit more fun I do look forward to Adria as an additional race on the calendar. I raced there before, six years ago, but that's probably no longer a real advantage. I still remember where the left- and the right-hand turns are but after such a long time it's like you've never driven there before."
Mattias Ekstrom about Adria: "I enjoy returning to Italy. My victory at Adria in 2004 was one of several important stations on my way to the title. The track layout with its turns creates a start-stop rhythm of driving. Whether that personally suits you well or not: it always made for very thrilling races in the past. You need excellent brakes and good traction for this. This could suit our car well, although I'm afraid it might suit our rival at least equally well."
Adria 2004 flashback
As early as in its third race the new Audi A4 DTM celebrated its first victory. At the Italian round of the DTM at the Adria International Raceway Mattias Ekstrom was the dominant driver. The Swede secured the pole position in an extremely thrilling qualifying, immediately took the lead with a good start and controlled the pace during the whole race. By clinching the second DTM victory in his career Ekstrom moved up in the drivers' standings, separated by just a two-point gap from the front runner, Christijan Albers.