Brno: Round nine preview

Will Ekström clinch the title in Brno - or can Albers counter? The finish of the 2004 DTM-season promises to be exciting - even though Audi's shooting star Mattias Ekström made sure of having the best chances by winning the last round at ...

Will Ekström clinch the title in Brno - or can Albers counter?

The finish of the 2004 DTM-season promises to be exciting - even though Audi's shooting star Mattias Ekström made sure of having the best chances by winning the last round at Zandvoort (NL). The 26-year-old Swede from Audi Sport Team Abt won three times this year, has a total of 61 championship points and enjoys a 13 point lead over his closest rival Christijan Albers (48 points). So Ekström could win the title early in Brno. But Albers, Vice-Champion of 2003 will do everything to take the Cup to The Netherlands. And then there is also his Mercedes-Benz-colleague Gary Paffett who lags by 16 points but with 20 points to be gained still has chances to win the Championship.

Opel will be aiming to continue the positive trend which became obvious during the event at MOTOPARK Oschersleben when Manuel Reuter stepped on the podium as third placed driver. Before the ninth of ten Championship rounds there are three Opel-drivers among the Top-Ten: Timo Scheider, Laurent Aiello and Manuel Reuter.

The Race at the 5,403 km natural track near Brno in the Czech Republic is the premiere of the new DTM at this location. The circuit features eight right- and six left turns, its fast and medium-fast sections account for rather high tyre wear making the right race strategy extremely important. The Auto Motodrom Brno is situated about 120 km from Vienna and just over 200 km from the Czech capital Prague.

The ARD will broadcast live on Sunday, 19 September from 1345 CET. Qualifying on Saturday will be shown from Third Programmes of the ARD, live from 1300 CET by HR and WDR, and MDR from 1315 CET. BR (1605 CET) and SWR (1630 CET) will broadcast it later. On www.dtm.de you find an overview on the international broadcasts.

Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt, Championship Leader, 61 points):
"With a lead of 13 points I'm in a good position. But the most important thing for me is the fact that the decision is in my own hands, I'm not depending on somebody's bad luck or support from others. I know my colleagues from Mercedes well enough and realize that they won't give up as long as there is the tiniest ray of hope for the title. But it will be difficult for them as my whole team, my driver-colleagues and I myself are in top shape and will certainly hold against their efforts."

Christijan Albers (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes, Second, 48 points):
"I am very confident for the race weekend in Brno. It is a very challenging race track with several exciting corners. In April I've had a very good test there. With my third place in Zandvoort I hope I can keep a small chance in the title race. I don't give up at all."

Gary Paffett (C-Class AMG-Mercedes, Third, 45 points):
"Brno's circuit layout should suit our cars. I like the fast parts of the race track very much. We've had promising tests there in April. We will try hard to score as many points as possible to keep the Championship open to the last race."

Manuel Reuter (OPC Team Holzer, Tenth, nine points):
"The layout of the track is quite diverse. You need plenty of top speed on the long straights, and in the turns you just can't have enough downforce. This makes the set-up a difficult thing. I feel that the circuit should benefit our Opel Vectra and therefore I hope that I can manage a place on the podium again. In addition the race is nearly a home game for me as I live in nearby Austria."

Audi Motorsport Director Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich:
"We expect to see the chances in Brno rather evenly spread. Our whole crew is highly motivated following the victories in the latest two races - we'll try to make good use of this. We will aim at leaving Brno with a sufficiently large advantage as at the Final in Hockenheim it will be particularly difficult to be at the very front due to the characteristics of the circuit."

Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director Norbert Haug:
"With 13 respectively 16 points behind Mattias Ekström, Christijan and Gary are not really favourites in the fight for the title. But we will tackle the remaining races with as much enthusiasm as we did the past ones. If we manage to turn minimal title chances into maximum points in Brno, a sold-out circuit in Hockenheim will see this year's DTM fitting final with exciting and fair sport."

Opel Motorsport Director Volker Strycek:
"The DTM is a German series. But right from the beginning it was aimed at communicating the fascination of this series to foreign motor sport fans. At races outside of Germany we register a continuous increase in the numbers of spectators. In addition the interest of foreign media is quickly growing. This is proof of the international significance of the DTM. And the drivers are international anyway."


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Series DTM
Drivers Laurent Aiello , Manuel Reuter , Christijan Albers , Timo Scheider , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Volker Strycek , Gary Paffett
Teams Team Abt