Brands Hatch: Audi preview

Audi drivers keen on the British isles Ingolstadt -- 1.78 million German television viewers recently watched the live broadcast of the DTM race at the Nurburgring. They would be well advised to switch on the television once again on Sunday, 31...

Audi drivers keen on the British isles

Ingolstadt -- 1.78 million German television viewers recently watched the live broadcast of the DTM race at the Nurburgring. They would be well advised to switch on the television once again on Sunday, 31 August at 1.50 p.m.: The exciting final spurt of the 2008 DTM starts at Brands Hatch close to the British capital London.

Like his team mates, Audi "factory" driver Timo Scheider used the summer break between the Nurburgring and Brands Hatch races to go on holiday with his family and to recharge his batteries for the final spurt in the championship battle. Since April 20, and therefore more than four months, the Austrian domiciled German has enjoyed the role of "DTM championship leader". Together with race engineer Armin Plietsch he will do everything possible to finish the season in first place.

However, Scheider must not only overcome strong competition from the Mercedes camp. He has a tough opponent within his own camp in the form of defending DTM Champion Mattias Ekstrom who, despite being six points behind, has far from written off his title defence.

The team internal duel has kept the fans on tenterhooks for several races: At the last corner at the Norisring Scheider out-braked Ekstrom, who had been struggling with a soft brake pedal. At Zandvoort Ekstrom and Scheider circulated nose to tail throughout the entire race. At the Nurburgring Scheider once again made an overtaking manoeuvre on the last lap -- on this occasion he had made a better tyre choice than Ekstrom.

The Audi drivers' power struggle continues at Brands Hatch, whereby both know exactly that the main priority is to win another DTM title for Audi. It would be the first time since 1990/1991 that Audi successfully defends the title in the most popular international touring car race series.

Timo Scheider still has a score to settle at Brands Hatch: In 2006 he only finished tenth despite a strong showing in the race. In 2007 he lost any chance of a taking a good result after a collision on the opening lap. Mattias Ekstrom in contrast won the British DTM race in 2006 and was third in 2007.

However it is not only Ekstrom and Scheider who are keen on the British Isles. Martin Tomczyk narrowly missed winning last year after finishing second. In 2006 Tom Kristensen was the man to beat around the "Indy Circuit", only for a defect within sight of the flag to rob the Le Mans record winner of almost certain victory.

The drivers of the year-old and two-year old cars also expect to be in the thick of the battle for points at Brands Hatch. However, all the Audi drivers know that they face a particularly tough task: 82 laps have to be completed around the short 1.929 kilometre track -- and thousandths and hundredths of a second will be decisive in qualifying. This is also reason enough to switch on the television and select "Das Erste" on 31 August at 1.50 p.m. (German time).

Quotes before the race at Brands Hatch

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Brands Hatch has been very good for us in the last two years. I think that the new A4 will also function there very well. It's obviously a help that we start with less weight than the 2008 Mercedes. After the poor result at the Nurburgring we are fully motivated to score as many points for Audi as possible and to increase our championship lead."

Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #1): "I think that we'll have a good Audi weekend at Brands Hatch. We were very fast there in 2006 and 2007. I've had a win and third place. I like the track and want revenge for what happened at the Nurburgring."

Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #2): "Brands Hatch is a great race track -- very short, very narrow. I was second there last year. It was a good race. The English fans are always very enthusiastic about the DTM, which is why I particularly look forward to this race."

Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM #9): "Brands Hatch 2006 was probably where I had my best DTM race ever ... Fastest in all practice sessions, pole position and 60 laps in the lead before the suspension broke! Last year I was absent due to my accident, so I am obviously exited to see my speed around the little, but very demanding and interesting track -- and hopefully I can repay all the energy and hard work my mechanics and engineers are putting in my 'Edelweiss' A4."

Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #10): "We race at Brands Hatch with ten kilograms less than Mercedes. This is a positive aspect. We were fast at Brands Hatch last year. We've used the summer break to prepare meticulously for Brands Hatch -- but also to have some holiday and recharge the batteries."

Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM #14): "I'm really looking forward to be racing again at Brands Hatch. I scored my first points in the DTM there last season. I like the circuit and the enthusiastic fans. I'm confident that we'll be fighting for points again at Brands."

Oliver Jarvis (Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM #15): "It's fantastic to be racing again in Great Britain. My last race here was more than one year ago. Brands Hatch is a special circuit with a great history. I want to get a good result for my fans and family."

Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #18): "I personally think that the Brands Hatch circuit is actually a little too short, as a driver you can't really find much time. However, I still think Brands Hatch is fun. Perhaps it'll rain in England. We saw in qualifying at the Nurburgring that we are pretty strong with the old cars in the rain."

Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19): "I'm really looking forward to Brands Hatch. I substituted for Tom Kristensen there last year. The circuit is a lot of fun."

Katherine Legge (Audi A4 DTM #20): "I'm absolutely delighted to be able to race in front of my home crowd. It's quite a while since I last competed in a race in England. I aim to improve again at Brands Hatch. I hope we have a good chance there with the 2006 car."

Christijan Albers (Audi A4 DTM #21): "The last time I was at Brands Hatch was in 1996, which is twelve years ago -- actually quite a long time. I hope that it stays dry. If this is the case we should be very competitive and could even score points."

Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "The final spurt in the championship begins at Brands Hatch. With Timo (Scheider) leading, our basis for the final assault is very good. We have a good chance of winning at Brands where Audi has a good track record. Mattias (Ekstrom) has already won there and we were very competitive last year."

Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "It's the shortest track on the calendar and there's a good chance that we'll all get dizzy. With a year-old car on such a short circuit anything could be possible with good strategy."

Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "We again have a small weight advantage over the 2007 Mercedes. As we saw last year the track suits the Audi. It should be possible to get Markus (Winkelhock) past Gary Paffett again and also improve the 'Rocky's' points score."

-credit: audi

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Tom Kristensen , Martin Tomczyk , Christijan Albers , Timo Scheider , Mattias Ekström , Katherine Legge , Gary Paffett , Alexandre Prémat , Mike Rockenfeller , Oliver Jarvis , Markus Winkelhock , Hans-Jurgen Abt
Teams Team Abt , Phoenix Racing , Audi Sport Team Rosberg