Brands Hatch: Audi Motorsport preview

Audi travels to England as last year's winner DTM heads for Brands Hatch near London 82 laps around the shortest track of the season Audi driver Mattias Ekstrom won at Brands in 2006 The fourth round of the 2007 DTM is staged close to the city...

Audi travels to England as last year's winner

DTM heads for Brands Hatch near London 82 laps around the shortest track of the season Audi driver Mattias Ekstrom won at Brands in 2006 The fourth round of the 2007 DTM is staged close to the city of London at Brands Hatch on 10 June. The Audi drivers in particular are looking forward to the appearance of the DTM on British soil: Because one year ago the Audi A4 DTM was the benchmark around the 1.973-kilometre and shortest DTM track.

Tom Kristensen claimed pole-position and led the race in dominating style from the start before being forced to retire within sight of the chequered flag. At that time, his team-mate Mattias Ekstrom jumped into the breach to celebrate his sole victory of the season. Martin Tomczyk finished fourth, Christian Abt rounded off the excellent Audi result in fifth place at the wheel of a year-old A4.

The target for the coming weekend is crystal clear: Audi aims to repeat last year's win at Brands Hatch in order to travel, if possible, as championship leader a fortnight later to their "home race" in Nuremberg.

The first three races of the season have shown that making predictions in the 2007 DTM is almost impossible. The latest generation Audi A4 DTM is, as a result of the additional weight stipulated by the regulations, once again the heaviest car in the field at Brands Hatch, the 2005 and 2006 A4 models the lightest. Unfortunately, Tom Kristensen, who was in a class of his own last year at Brands Hatch, must continue his enforced break. Formula 1 test driver Markus Winkelhock will again stand-in for the Dane as he did previously at the EuroSpeedway.

It will be decided mid-week whether Tom Kristensen can celebrate his comeback. If the Dane, who was in a class of his own last year at Brands Hatch, must continue his enforced break, Formula 1 test driver Markus Winkelhock will again stand-in.

Eighty-two laps must be completed around the rollercoaster Brands Hatch "Indy" circuit -- an enormous strain for both man and machine and a unique spectacle for the spectators. As usual, ARD TV broadcasts qualifying (Saturday from 1:30 p.m.) and the race (Sunday from 1:45 p.m.) live on "Das Erste". The race starts at 1:00 p.m. local time (2:00 p.m. in Germany) because of the time difference between England and Germany.

Quotes before the race at Brands Hatch

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Our Audi A4 was very strong at Brands Hatch last year: We took pole-position with Tom (Kristensen) and the win with Mattias (Ekstrom). In spite of this, it was nevertheless the turning-point against us in the championship, which had nothing to do with the performance of the car. So we know what our 2006 cars are capable of at Brands Hatch. Our 2007 cars significantly still have more additional weight than the new Mercedes. Nevertheless, I hope that we can also be capable of winning with the new A4."

Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #3): "I'm really looking forward to returning to Brands Hatch. The circuit suited us last year and the race went well for me. In general we are even better prepared this season, which is why we should be capable of fighting for podium positions again. However, we'll have to wait and see just what affect the additional weight has at Brands Hatch."

Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #4): "We get dizzy during the race at Brands Hatch: 82 laps around there is very intensive. The circuit is really short which means lots of work for the pit board man. However, it's a lot of fun, especially going into the fast first right-hand corner. I hope things run as well for us as they did last year."

Markus Winkelhock (Siemens Audi A4 DTM #7): "Despite not knowing Brands Hatch, I'll go there with a lot of expectations. At EuroSpeedway, things did not run perfectly for me. I was able to improve during the free practice sessions reducing more and more the gap to my team-mates. However, I was not able to continue this trend in qualifying and the race. I want to do this at Brands Hatch and get a good result for Audi."

Timo Scheider (Gebrauchtwagen:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #8): "Brands Hatch will again be a tough race which I'm particularly looking forward to -- especially the English fans. Those fans simply love motorsport. It goes without saying that I hope we look better than last time out at the EuroSpeedway."

Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #11): "I've never raced at Brands Hatch but was able to run a few laps before the start of the season with our Audi A4 DTM Race Taxi, which means I have a rough idea about the track's peculiarities. I really like it."

Lucas Luhr (Philips Audi A4 DTM #12): "I've only driven once at Brands Hatch up to now: In 1996, in a Formula Ford. The circuit is fantastic. My DTM season to date hasn't quite run as I'd expected. That's why it's time for a change of fortunes!"

Christian Abt (Playboy Audi A4 DTM #16): "I have fond memories of Brands Hatch. Things went exceptionally well there last year for both Audi and I. The circuit suits our A4, we can expect a lot. The speed is there, we just have to convert this in to results."

Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank Audi A4 DTM #17): "My expectations just have to be high since I haven't finished a single DTM race yet. I finally want to get a good result for Audi. I'm convinced that we'll be quicker at Brands Hatch than we were at the EuroSpeedway."

Adam Carroll (Audi A4 DTM #20): "I'm delighted to be able to race at Brands Hatch again for the first time since my Formula 3 days. I love the circuit, which is very short. This means that things will be even closer than they already are in the DTM. A good lap in qualifying will be super important. We have a host of British drivers in the DTM this year. I hope that a large number of spectators will come to support us at our home race."

Vanina Ickx (Audi A4 DTM #21): "I think that Brands Hatch will be the toughest DTM race of the year. The circuit is short and challenging. The race will also be hard -- particularly if it's hot."

Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "Brands Hatch is a fantastic track and it was a good hunting ground for us last year. We hope that we are competitive again this time. However, we don't know yet just what affect the weight will have. The fans can look forward to another interesting DTM race."

Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "Christian (Abt) scored a good result at Brands Hatch last year. Alex (Premat) was running strongly before his accident at the EuroSpeedway, and we have lighter cars: Put simply, we must expect a lot. In general, we are looking forward to the knowledgeable spectators. Racing in England is always a lot of fun."

Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "We didn't have the speed we'd hoped to have at the EuroSpeedway. We think we know the reasons why and should get the result at Brands Hatch that we'd promised to get at the EuroSpeedway."

The schedule at Brands Hatch

Friday, 8 June
09:00 -- 09:15 Roll-out
10:45 -- 12:15 Practice 1
14:25 -- 15:55 Practice 2

Saturday, 9 June
09:00 -- 10:00 Free Practice
12:28 -- 13:15 Qualifying

Sunday, 10 June
10:00 -- 10:30 Warm-up
13:00 Race

-credit: audi motorsport

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Tom Kristensen , Vanina Ickx , Lucas Luhr , Martin Tomczyk , Timo Scheider , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Adam Carroll , Alexandre Prémat , Mike Rockenfeller , Markus Winkelhock , Hans-Jurgen Abt
Teams Team Abt , Phoenix Racing , Audi Sport Team Rosberg