Audi arrives at Brands Hatch with an advantage Ingolstadt/Brands Hatch -- Six races, five different winners -- the course of the 2009 DTM season has been marked by plenty of variety and is thus just to the fans' liking. On September 6 the most...
Audi arrives at Brands Hatch with an advantage
Ingolstadt/Brands Hatch -- Six races, five different winners -- the course of the 2009 DTM season has been marked by plenty of variety and is thus just to the fans' liking. On September 6 the most popular international touring car series will visit the outskirts of London -- with two Audi drivers in the top two positions of the standings.
At Brands Hatch, the 2009 DTM begins its final spurt. Just four more races are left to show whether Audi will have achieved its big aim of the season: The brand with the four rings aims to be the first automobile manufacturer in the DTM, which has been held since 1984, to win the champion's title for a third consecutive year.
With its commanding triumphs at Oschersleben (places one to three) and at the Nurburgring (places one to four), Audi took a major step toward successfully defending the title. Two Audi drivers -- Timo Scheider (Germany) and Mattias Ekstrom (Sweden) -- occupy the top two positions in the standings with just a one-point gap between them. Gary Paffett in third place is trailing them with a six-point gap as the best Mercedes driver.
Yet everyone at Audi knows how quickly the tables can turn in the DTM -- even after the technology has been frozen at the level of the Nurburgring race and the resulting stop of development. Consequently, Audi Sport has left nothing to chance before the Brands Hatch round and tested set-up variants at the EuroSpeedway with Tom Kristensen and Martin Tomczyk. Now, more than ever, every detail -- no matter how small -- counts in the DTM.
This particularly applies to the "Indy" circuit at Brands Hatch, which -- with a mere length of 1.929 kilometers -- is the shortest DTM race track. Last year, the times posted by the top ten in qualifying were within half a second. Just 90 thousandths of a second decided the duel for the pole position in favor of Audi driver Timo Scheider.
Scheider showed an impressive performance back then in the race as well when he kept Paul di Resta's Mercedes at bay throughout the entire 82 laps and celebrated his second victory at a DTM race.
But not only Scheider has fond memories of Brands Hatch: Mattias Ekstrom won in 2006 at the DTM's debut event and was third on the podium in both 2007 and 2008. Martin Tomczyk in 2007 just barely missed victory. And Tom Kristensen dominated the race in 2006 before retiring due to a technical defect shortly before race end.
This season, as many as three drivers of a current Audi A4 DTM -- Tom Kristensen, Timo Scheider and Martin Tomczyk -- have won a race. Only Mattias Ekstrom is still lacking a win. Instead, the Swede is the only DTM driver to have scored points at all six races and mounted the podium on as many as five occasions.
Due to the time difference between the United Kingdom and Germany both qualifying and the race will take place one hour earlier than usual. For TV viewers in Germany, this means that the live broadcasts on "Das Erste" will start at the usual times: at 1:25 pm (local time) on Saturday and at 1:45 pm on Sunday.
Quotes before the DTM race at Brands Hatch
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Brands Hatch has always suited us well as a circuit in the past few years. It's true that we didn't always have the best of racing luck but, actually, the track should be a relatively good fit for us. At Brands Hatch, we'll have weight parity between the 2009-spec vehicles of Audi and Mercedes. That means the competition will be very close. I'm confident that we'll also be able to show a good performance at Brands Hatch. Of course we want to convert that into a good racing result."
Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM 2009 #1), 1st (35 points) "Last year I won at Brands Hatch, so that's a nice track for me. With 88 laps, and Paul Di Resta on my heels with a tenth-of-a-second gap, it was arguably the toughest race in my career. I couldn't afford to make even the slightest mistake. The performance I showed there gives us a positive feeling for Brands Hatch. In addition, our performance at Oschersleben and at the Nurburgring shows that our work over the past few weeks has paid off. It's nice traveling to Brands Hatch as the leader of the standings."
Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM 2009 #5), 2nd (34 points) "I've got fond memories of Brands Hatch. But now I'm going to take a few holidays first to recharge my batteries in order to be fit again when I return for the race and fight for victory again."
Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Cola Audi A4 DTM 2009 #6), 5th (21 points) "It's a good feeling arriving at Brands Hatch with the first victory of the season in my pocket. Now, the weight distribution is neutral again and recent years have shown that the fight was pretty balanced. So, as far as this goes, we're expecting Mercedes to fight back a bit more than they did at the last two races. Nevertheless, we're hoping to be able to continue our string of victories."
Oliver Jarvis (Audi Cup A4 DTM 2008 #15), 8th (14 points) "I can hardly wait to be competing on my home circuit at Brands Hatch. I'm very much looking forward to the event and am expecting a great race. And I'm hoping we're quick and can score a few points."
Tom Kristensen (100 Jahre Audi -- A4 DTM 2009 #2), 9th (13 points) "The Brands Hatch Indy circuit is a very short track and you feel like you're in a tumble dryer. We achieve high levels of centrifugal force in the fantastic turns. Making it through four or five turns on each lap without any mistakes is a great challenge. I think the British motorsport fans are the best audience you can imagine. So, as always, let's look forward to a fast and hot race in the spin cycle."
Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM 2008 #12), 10th (10 points) "Brands Hatch is a circuit I enjoy tremendously. In 2007, I stood in for Tom Kristensen and last year I got on well with my car there. The track suits me perfectly and particularly after my performance at the Nurburgring I'm looking forward to the race. I'm hoping for things to continue this way."
Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM 2008 #11), 13th (2 points) "Brands Hatch is an interesting circuit. I'm hoping to be able to finally take home a good result from there. My pace has always been good this year -- perhaps except at the Nurburgring. However, after the first lap I kept running at the far end of the field. Therefore, what counts for me now is to clinch a good qualifying result and making it through the first lap without losing any places. If that happens, then maybe I'll finally be fortunate enough again to be the one making up a few places. In the past few races, I always had everything going against me. So I'll let myself be surprised now. I've learned to be careful about making predictions."
Katherine Legge (Audi Collection A4 DTM 2008 #21), 17th (0 points) "I'm very excited already, after all, this is my home race. I will meet my family and friends there, who will be watching me. I know the circuit pretty well, and I also like it a lot. It's a great venue for the fans as well because they have a full overview of the whole circuit. That's an incredible atmosphere."
Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank A4 DTM 2008 #14), 20th (0 points) "I'm happy to be back at Brands Hatch. It's a very short circuit so we've got to drive consistently and fast. Of course I'll try and give all I've got to deliver the best possible performance for Audi and Team Phoenix."
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "Brands Hatch is a great race for me. So far, we've always gathered very good experiences there. Last year, we went home as the winners. Now we'll try and continue the roll we're on and pick up where we left off at the Nurburgring."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "The past few years already showed that Audi is very competitive at Brands Hatch. Oliver (Jarvis) has his home round at Brands Hatch and I think that he doesn't need anyone to motivate him. Alexandre (Premat) wants and absolutely has to score points. So we've got two ambitious drivers and a super car. As always, the team is highly motivated and we'll try and clinch points again."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "I'm hoping for us to be able to take the momentum from the race at the Nurburgring with us. My biggest wish is for Mike Rockenfeller to make it through the first lap as well and to move forward. Brands Hatch is an incredibly great circuit with over 80 laps and you actually don't have the chance to stop and take a deep breath. In any event, it'll be a thrilling race."
Facts and figures
In 2009 DTM visits Brands Hatch for the fourth time in a row ... Audi won two of the previous three DTM races at Brands Hatch and clinched pole there three times as well ... The DTM track record at Brands Hatch is held by Audi driver Timo Scheider with 42.084 seconds -- set in last year's qualifying ... With a length of 1.929 kilometers, the "Indy" circuit at Brands Hatch is the shortest DTM race track and even 371 meters shorter than the Norisring ... For Oliver Jarvis and Katherine Legge, the race at Brands Hatch is a "home round."
Oliver Jarvis about the Indy Circuit at Brands Hatch: "I love Brands Hatch, not only because I was very successful there in Formula Renault and Formula 3. The circuit has a lot of character. Paddock Hill is arguably one of the best turns of all. Although the 'Indy' circuit is short, it is demanding and physically very strenuous. In the rain, the circuit is particularly difficult, especially before the first two turns. The fact that it's possible to do two or three laps on the same set of tires in qualifying is a specialty of Brands Hatch. This means you've got more opportunities to drive a qualifying time. At other circuits, this is normally possible just during one lap. Of course the atmosphere at Brands Hatch is fantastic as well. The whole thing reminds me of a soccer stadium. From many places in the grandstands it's possible to see the entire track."