From position eleven on the grid to third place in DTM race at Moscow
Ingolstadt/Moscow - With one of his typical recoveries Mattias Ekström clinched a podium result for Audi at Moscow Raceway in front of 50,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) and captured second place in the DTM drivers standings.
Two weeks following his strong showing at the Norisring and a week after clinching his first victory in the World Rallycross Championship, Mattias Ekström, in the DTMs round in Russia, again hit the headlines. In the Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, the Swede advanced from position eleven on the grid to third place, reducing the gap to overall leader Marco Wittmann to 20 points in the process. After the race at Moscow, Audi continues to lead the DTM manufacturers standings with a score of 223 points.
Following a qualifying session that was less than perfect for him, Ekström immediately made up four positions on lap one. On lap eleven, the time sheets reflected the Swede running in fourth place and three laps before the end of the race, he managed to snatch third place from ex-Formula One driver Timo Glock.
Sundays seem to be my days quite often. This was another one of them with plenty of tough fights, said Mattias Ekström. I had to keep my cool all the way to the end. Finishing this race in third place is okay, these are good points. However, Im beginning to feel the loss of holding the big trophy.
Youngster Nico Müller in the Audi Financial Services Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg in fifth place scored the first points in his still young DTM career. The 22-year-old Swiss was initially running in third place but due to a gradual loss of grip on the front axle had to pit for a tire change earlier than scheduled. After temporarily dropping to 22nd place, the youngster managed to improve to position five and, like Ekström, overtook Timo Glock shortly before the finish.
Edoardo Mortara in the Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM in ninth place clinched two fiercely contested points after having dropped to the rear of the field following a collision with Jamie Green on the starting lap. On the final laps, the Italian on standard tires successfully defended himself against the massive attacks by Augusto Farfus and António Felix da Costa, who, like Miguel Molina (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM) behind them, were running on the much faster option tires.
Molina, in the final stage, was the only Audi driver on option tires which proved a disadvantage this time because he was only able to pit late on account of two safety car periods, which reduced his ability to run on the faster tires to eleven laps. The best race lap was only cold comfort for the Spaniard.
Audi Sport Team Phoenix experienced a day of huge misfortune. Timo Scheider, after 22 laps, had to park his AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM with an electronic defect on the start-finish straight. The resulting safety car period indirectly sealed the fate of his team-mate Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM). When the race was re-started, the title defender and last years winner, with locked wheels, slipped into the rear end of the car of his brand colleague Adrien Tambay (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM), who was directly in front of him, in an unfortunate incident that ended the race for both of them. Both drivers were running on different strategies and up to the time of the collision, in positions three and four, had good chances of finishing on podium.
For Jamie Green, the race in Russia was over early as well. In a collision with Edoardo Mortara on the starting lap, the right rear suspension of his Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM was damaged, forcing the Briton to retire after six laps.
The race, no doubt, didnt go according to our expectations because we were set on repeating last years victory here. But we made too many mistakes, said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport, summing up the event. Mike (Rockenfeller) was very fast on standard tires and would have had good chances. Unfortunately, he made a mistake following the safety car period, which is a very rare occurrence with him. In the end, Mattias Ekström pulled our chestnuts out of the fire with a brilliant recovery from grid position eleven to third place. Congratulations also to Nico Müller on scoring his first points in the DTM.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): Obviously, were not pleased to see two Audi drivers taking each other out of the race. Today, this even happened twice. While it wasnt intentional in either case, its clear that such things should not happen. The incidents deprived us of valuable points and part of our advantage in the manufacturers classification. Mattias (Ekström) again drove a strong race and now is the only driver to have mounted the podium three times this year. But hes got to work on his qualifying form.
Dieter Gass (Head of DTM): We obviously had higher expectations for this race. The goal was clear that we were set on winning. We missed this mark pretty clearly. We just made too many mistakes to win this race. We definitely need to look at this and eliminate these issues for the future.
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM), 3rd place
Sundays seem to be my days quite often. This was another one of them with plenty of tough fights. I had to keep my cool all the way to the end. Finishing this race in third place is okay, these are good points. However, Im beginning to feel the loss of holding the big trophy.
Nico Müller (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM), 5th place
Im happy about the points. But the way theyve been clinched and the number theres probably room for improvement in that respect. We had a problem with the option tires and I had to make sure that Id survive until the pit stop window opened. Afterwards, on the standard tires, I was running superbly, drove a long stint and became faster and faster. The first part of the race was frustrating and the second one was great. On the whole, Im pleased and fifth place is good.
Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM), 9th place
This was a difficult race today especially after the accident with Jamie (Green) on the first lap. I was on the inside on option tires and I think he didnt see me. Afterwards, I tried and gave my best resulting in ninth place. More than these two points wasnt possible today. Its a shame. It was another race in which we could have been in contention at the front.
Miguel Molina (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM), 12th place
We had a good strategy. The first safety car period was positive for us. The second one was too long. We couldnt improve any more. In the end, it was a difficult race. We scored no points. But we were fast and are going to build on that next time.
Adrien Tambay (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM), retirement
The race was near-perfect up to the re-start following the safety car period. Everybody saw what happened. I dont want to put the blame on anybody. Mike (Rockenfeller) is sorry about the incident. Two Audis colliding is something that shouldnt happen. But things like this do happen. We lost a podium result today. We could have easily finished in third place. That was a shame and Im hoping for Germany to win the World Cup.
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM), retirement
I can only say one thing: that Im incredibly sorry for Adrien (Tambay), Audi and my Phoenix team. It was clearly my mistake and not intentional. After the re-start, I just wanted to drive behind him, because a lap later I would have had to pit for a tire change anyhow. Maybe my front wheels werent warm enough. In any event, Im surprised that they locked and I slipped into the rear end of Adriens car. Just slightly but thats enough to make somebody spin. To make things worse, we touched and the race was over for both of us. I can only apologize to everybody involved in this.
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM), retirement
Another difficult weekend. We had the right strategy of starting on standard tires from where we were at the back of the field and concentrated on getting through without any problems in the beginning. Due to the aggressive driving style of the others my car was also damaged relatively early. Still, our pace compared to the others was okay. I then got stuck behind Joey Hand. On option tires, wed have still had a good chance of finishing in the points. The thing that happened afterwards is bitter for us as a team. I wanted to shift into second gear on braking in front of the last corner and then the engine stopped. So now weve got to look ahead.
Jamie Green (Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM), retirement
Unfortunately, my race was over early. Thats always disappointing. My car was really good this weekend. We had a lot of potential for the race. We had the speed to move far to the front. Unfortunately, we werent able to show it. Edoardo (Mortara) turned me around. I didnt know that he was there. I only noticed him when he hit me and by that time it was too late.
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Dirctor Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): Mattias (Ekström) finished on podium from mid-field again that was a really strong performance. As the runner-up in the Championship hes in striking distance so that together with all the fans we can look forward to an extremely thrilling second half of the season. Our other guys fought fierce battles as well and at least Edo (Mortara) was rewarded with two points. Of course its a real shame for Adrien (Tambay). But Ive known Rocky for a long time and regard him highly, so I know that he, himself, feels sorrier about the incident than anybody else.
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): As great as last years race went as poor was this years. We were happy with the strategy and had a good speed on standard tires. I was optimistic. Unfortunately, there was contact between Rocky (Mike Rockenfeller) and Adrien (Tambay). That was a shame. In Timos case (Scheider) the fuel pressure dropped to zero. That ended his race. Of course a total retirement is bad. But such things happen. On a race Sunday, everythings got to fit, and today it didnt.
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): It was a turbulent race. What happened with Jamie (Green) on the first lap is a shame. Weve got to take a look at that. There was no doubt more potential. Nico (Müller) probably ruined his option tires a bit in the beginning but on the standard tires he was good. Ive still got to talk with the stewards of the meeting about Timo Glock. He was supposed to swap places and didnt reduce speed. Fifth place by Nico Müller was damage containment today. But the points were important for the team and a nice confirmation of its work.