Circuit Park Zandvoort
- Three races on three consecutive weekends
- DTM visits Zandvoort in The Netherlands
- Audi is set on taking lead of the standings
Busy schedule for Audi Sport
A busy schedule for Audi Sport: The DTM season opener at Hockenheim, the debut of the Audi R18 TDI at Spa-Francorchamps and the next DTM race immediately following at Zandvoort (The Netherlands) on May 15 - the squad around Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich is certainly not suffering from boredom these days.
We’ll try and clinch our first win of the season on this track.
Audi has fond memories of the DTM’s Dutch round on the outskirts of Amsterdam. The brand with the four rings has always been strong on the track in the dunes along the North Sea coast in the past. Particularly impressive was Audi’s showing in 2008 when the four current-specification Audi A4 DTM cars of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline occupied the top four places and the best Mercedes-Benz finished with more than a 20-second gap.
In 2009 (pole position for Oliver Jarvis) and 2010 (pole position for Timo Scheider) Audi again set the benchmark at Zandvoort. That it was a Mercedes-Benz driver - Gary Paffett - who won nonetheless still upsets the Audi squad. Therefore, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich has clearly stated the aim for this round: victory.
The Hockenheim season opener has shown that the Audi A4 DTM apparently harmonizes well with the tires of the new exclusive DTM supplier Hankook. Based on the experience gathered at Hockenheim with respect to optimum inflation pressures it should be possible at Zandvoort to make even better use of the new tires’ potential - as this continues to be the key to success in the DTM.
In addition, Hockenheim has suggested that in 2011 Audi not only has the youngest driver line-up in its DTM history but possibly the strongest one as well.
The two-time DTM champions Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider both lived up to their leading roles by clinching positions two and four. And both are regarded as absolute Zandvoort specialists. Mattias Ekström has already won there three times. Timo Scheider took the pole position an equal number of times and is now set on finally claiming his first victory on his favorite track.
Martin Tomczyk, who made a strong initial showing as a member of Audi Sport Team Phoenix, has previously been on the top of the podium at Zandvoort (in 2007). Given that his team has a tradition of being particularly strong on the dune circuit the idea of Tomczyk clinching victory in a year-old car is not far-fetched at all.
Mike Rockenfeller and Oliver Jarvis struggled with the set-up of their cars at Hockenheim. Both have performed in-depth analyses of the data together with their vehicle engineers and aim to show at Zandvoort that they are sitting in two current Audi A4 DTM cars for a good reason. Particularly so as they have a strong team-mate in Miguel Molina who in last year’s A4 was very quick at Hockenheim yet again.
Filipe Albuquerque and Edoardo Mortara paid dearly on their DTM debuts at Hockenheim. Team Director Arno Zensen (Audi Sport Team Rosberg), however, continues to be fully convinced of having two uncut diamonds in his team. Mortara was in a class of his own in the Formula 3 Euro Series at Zandvoort last year.
And last but not least there is Rahel Frey. At Hockenheim the young Swiss not only thrilled the paddock with her charm. She also showed a solid performance at the wheel of her Audi A4 DTM and aims to further improve at Zandvoort.
So, all nine Audi racers can hardly wait to start from the grid at Zandvoort. They want to deliver a similar amount of action as they did at Hockenheim and capture the top of the standings for Audi. For those who cannot travel to the venue, ARD will air live coverage from Zandvoort starting at 1:55 p.m. (local time) on Sunday (May 15).
Other topics of the weekend
• Who will do the best job of handling the Hankook tires at Zandvoort?
• Will Audi be able to take the lead of the standings at Zandvoort?
• With a track record of four victories so far, will Audi remain the most successful brand at Zandvoort since the beginning of its factory commitment in 2004?
• After his Formula 3 victory at Zandvoort last year, will Edoardo Mortara be able to shine there in the DTM as well?
Quotes by the officials
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "We always like to return to Zandvoort. We’ve celebrated a large number of exploits there with Audi. We’ll try and clinch our first win of the season on this track. At Zandvoort, we’re set on heading for the DTM title which we want to bring back to Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "Zandvoort is an incredibly great track. We’ve gathered fantastic experiences there. It’s also one of Audi’s favorite circuits. After the results at Hockenheim we’re very confident that we’ll be in convention for victories again. We’ll also continue to work hard on achieving the best set-up for our cars. In combination with the new Hankook tires this will be the crucial factor that decides who will be at the very front."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "Zandvoort has always been a good track for Phoenix in the past. Martin (Tomczyk) has previously won a race there. That’s why we’ve got every reason to expect that we’ll clinch a good result. With Rahel (Frey) we want to take the next step and come closer to the pace of the others. She was still lacking some speed at Hockenheim. But with the spirit she demonstrates on the track we’ll soon get to where we want to be."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Zandvoort is always worth a visit. It’s a really beautiful circuit in the Dutch dunes. At night you can even walk along the beach eating a fish sandwich. Of course we’re dying to race there because it’s a real driver’s track. It should suit our drivers, Filipe Albuquerque and Edoardo Mortara, too. By clinching a grid position among the top ten and making a good race start we showed last weekend what is possible. We can probably build on that."
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers
Filipe Albuquerque (25/P), TV Movie Audi A4 DTM #18 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
• Was beaten below his potential at his first DTM race
• Contested the A1GP series at Zandvoort in 2008
"I know Zandvoort better than Hockenheim, which I was relatively unfamiliar with. What’s more, the Audi A4 DTM has always been very strong at Zandvoort. Now I’m starting with more experience. My motivation is very high anyway. Expectations compared with the debut race naturally increase as well."
Mattias Ekström (32/S), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #8 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
• Has a track record of three DTM victories at Zandvoort
• Was on the podium a total of seven times at ten races
• After his injury, shone as the best Audi driver at Hockenheim
"I’ve got very fond memories of Zandvoort. The competition, also within our own team, will be very thrilling there because I’ve got strong team colleagues. I’ll have to give my maximum and am thoroughly preparing myself for this at home. The championship has just begun. There are still nine classification rounds to go. Through hard work a podium will hopefully be possible again at Zandvoort."
Rahel Frey (25/CH), Glamour Audi A4 DTM #15 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
• Was the third-best rookie out of five drivers on her DTM debut
• Knows Zandvoort only from a brief test
"Zandvoort will be a big challenge for me. I don’t know the track really well yet. I drove ten laps at a Formula 3 test once. So it’ll start with a learning phase. But I was able to gather some experience at Hockenheim which I’ll take with me to Zandvoort."
Oliver Jarvis (27/GB), Audi Sport performance cars A4 DTM #5 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
• Was on pole in a year-old car two years ago at Zandvoort
• As the runner-up at Zandvoort achieved his best race result so far
"Hockenheim is history. My season starts at Zandvoort. I can hardly wait to drive there. I love this track and the region. I’ve had good results there. In 2009 I achieved my first pole position there as well as my best race result."
Miguel Molina (22/E), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #22 (Audi Sport Team Abt Junior)
• Was sent into a spin at the first race at Hockenheim
• Achieved fifth place at Zandvoort last year
"I’m hoping for Zandvoort to turn out better than my season opener. Last year I drove one of my best races of the year there. Naturally, I’m aiming to clinch as good a result as possible. We’ll work hard to achieve this. We’ll try and work out an even better set-up. I’ve got a positive feeling before this race."
Edoardo Mortara (24/I/F), Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
• Was the best Audi newcomer at Hockenheim in qualifying and the race
• Achieved the pole position, victory and fastest lap in the Formula 3 Euro Series at Zandvoort last year
"Zandvoort is a very special event. I think quite a bit will be possible there. I’ve always enjoyed driving there. Particularly important at the first rounds is that I finish the races in order to gain experience. This was our aim most recently at Hockenheim. I completed all the race laps - that was important. And we’ll be making use of this experience at the next races. Naturally we want to improve some more and eliminate minor mistakes. A track like Zandvoort rewards a good driver."
Mike Rockenfeller (27/D), E-POSTBRIEF Audi A4 DTM #9 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
• After a difficult opening round, is set on achieving a good result at Zandvoort
• Competes in the new Audi R18 TDI a week before the DTM race at Spa
"Zandvoort is a track I really like. If my car is as good again as it was on the first weekend up to the race I’ll be able to run at the far front. That’s the goal. I’m planning to go for an all-out attack because I’ve got nothing to lose. I’m very much looking forward to this track and am very positive that we’ll manage a better result there."
Timo Scheider (32/D), AUTO TEST Audi A4 DTM #4 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
• Started from pole there three times before, most recently last year
• Has achieved two podium places at Zandvoort since 2008 but no victory yet
"Now, Zandvoort is coming up. That’s clearly my favorite track. Three times I’ve been on pole there. I’m really looking forward to it. Last year, I unfortunately bungled the start. But then I had an incredible race and made up ground again to third place. Now I want to finally settle my unfinished business and clinch victory - for Audi and for myself. That would finally give me the satisfaction of having won on my favorite track for once."
Martin Tomczyk (29/D), Schaeffler Audi A4 DTM #14 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
• Celebrated victory at Zandvoort in 2007
• Was on the podium in the dunes a total of three times
"Zandvoort is a demanding and a fantastic track. I’m eager to see how it’ll be to drive on the new tires there and how the difference between the older and the newer cars will pan out. These are some of the unknown factors. But I do believe that we’ll be competitive again and in contention for places at the front. Let’s be surprised. Obviously, I want to finish as the best driver of a year-old car again."