Audi driver Aiello again on winner's rostrum DTM: Three starts, three third places - Audi driver Laurent Aiello is the only driver to have stood on the rostrum at every DTM race in 2003. At the NÃ¼rburgring, the defending DTM champion forged his...
Audi driver Aiello again on winner's rostrum
DTM: Three starts, three third places - Audi driver Laurent Aiello is the only driver to have stood on the rostrum at every DTM race in 2003. At the Nürburgring, the defending DTM champion forged his way, as he did in Italy two weeks earlier, from eleventh on the grid to third at the finish in an impressive fight back. During the course of events, the Frenchman again got the better of archrival Bernd Schneider in a Mercedes. "I'm satisfied with the result, but not with my start position," said Aiello. "I am driving to win the championship - if we want to keep up with the leaders, I have to start closer to the front."
Mattias Ekström was out of luck on the day, after an explosive start from the second row, he led comfortably, increasing his lead to over ten seconds. Two disappointingly slow pit stops, during which the right hand rear wheel nut failed to mount cleanly, cost the Swede precious time and, as a result, possible victory. After having fallen back to seventeenth place, Ekström worked his way back up to seventh - together with team colleague Christian Abt during the last third of the race. The former German Super Touring Car champion was barged into by one of his competitors on the first lap. Abt fell to 19th position because of the ensuing spin, but was rewarded with a point for eighth place at the finish following his fighting performance.
Audi Junior Peter Terting starred in a premiere: At 19-years of age, the youngest DTM driver of all time, briefly led because he made a late first pit stop. "A fantastic feeling, the race was great fun," beamed the youngster after another faultless race, which he finished in 14th position. "I was able to overtake opponents in a DTM race for the first time. After this race I am obviously even more motivated and more confident for the race at the EuroSpeedway."
His team colleague in the S line Audi Junior Team, Martin Tomczyk, lost all chance of scoring points because of a "Drive Through" penalty. After a troublesome pit stop, the 21-year old from Rosenheim, who was the quickest Audi driver during single lap qualifying ("Super Pole"), crossed the white line on the pit lane exit. "That was clearly my fault," said a disappointed Tomczyk. "As usual everything ran perfectly in qualifying, in the race it doesn't want to happen for me." Karl Wendlinger was also unlucky: An opponent nudged the Austrian in the first corner. The time consuming repairs to the rear bodywork left him with absolutely no chance.
Acid test for the Abt-Audi TT-R
24h Nürburgring: Following the DTM Championship victory, the Abt-Audi TT-R faces a particularly hard challenge: Two Abt-Audi TT-R's compete in this coming weekend's 24-hour race at the Nürburgring with support from quattro GmbH. On Saturday, at 3 p.m. local time, 210 teams will start the race. The organisers expect more than 150,000 spectators will visit the Eifel. The circuit, almost 26 kilometres long and created from the Grand Prix circuit and the legendary Nürburgring-Nordschleife, is considered to be the world's most difficult racetrack. The starting field has rarely been so competitive. BMW and Opel compete with works teams. Again numbering among the list of favourites are Chrysler and Porsche, who, between them, supplied the winning cars over the last four years.
"The race is of very high importance to me, because of the huge manufacturer commitment," said Audi driver Christian Abt, who played an important role in the TT-R's development. "We will see how competitive and reliable the car is, however, we have prepared ourselves well." Both Abt-Audi TT-R's were modified for the specific demands of the Nürburgring and an endurance race with help from Audi Sport's Customer Sport Department. "I was very impressed by the TT-R during the tests," said Audi works driver Frank Biela, who makes his touring car comeback.
Frank Biela in Audi R8 on the Nordschleife
24h Nürburgring: Visitors to the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring can look forward to a very special supporting programme highlight: On Saturday, before the start of the race, Audi works driver Frank Biela will drive a demonstration lap in the 550 hp, three times Le Mans winning Audi R8 on the Nordschleife. "I'm really looking forward to it," said Biela. "It is simply fantastic, to be able to drive the world's best sports car once on the most challenging and beautiful circuit in the world. Obviously, during such a demo-lap it is not possible to go to the absolute limit, but nevertheless it will be a fantastic experience - particularly for the spectators." The last sports car race on the Nordschleife was held 20 years ago.
First pole position for Audi RS 6
SPEED GT: Team Champion Racing continues to make progress with the new Audi RS 6 Competition in the North American SPEED World Challenge GT class. The touring car with almost 500 hp occupied pole position for the first time. During the wet qualifying session, Randy Pobst and Michael Galati fully exploited the advantages of quattro drive, planting both RS 6's on the front row. During the initial stages of the race - now on a dry track - the Audi drivers occupied first and second positions, before Galati slid into the tyre wall after being nudged by a competitor. Despite damage to the RS 6's front end, the defending champion continued, finishing the race in tenth position. After battling hard for position, Randy Pobst finished 3rd for the third time in succession. As a result, the American reduced the points deficit to Phil McClure, the championship leader, to five. The next round is held at Lime Rock on Monday. "Maybe it will be raining," said Rod Bymaster, Motorsport Manager of Audi Sport North America hopingly.