Catalunya: Audi preview

Audi travels as leader to Spain again Ingolstadt -- On 21 September at the "Circuit de Catalunya" on the outskirts of Barcelona the final phase begins in the DTM, the most popular European racing series after Formula 1. Like last year, ...

Audi travels as leader to Spain again

Ingolstadt -- On 21 September at the "Circuit de Catalunya" on the outskirts of Barcelona the final phase begins in the DTM, the most popular European racing series after Formula 1. Like last year, Audi travels to Spain as championship leader. The proposed target: a repeat of the 2006 win.

The Audi A4 DTM was the fastest car at the first two appearances of the DTM in Spain. Martin Tomczyk started from the pole position twice in succession at Barcelona. In 2006 he converted this into the first of his three DTM wins to date. In 2007 the man from Rosenheim led from the start before being touched by two-time Formula 1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen.

Last year at Barcelona Martin Tomczyk still had a chance of winning the title. In the 2008 season the hopes of the Audi fans rest on Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekstrom.

Scheider is in the form of his life. At four of the first eight races, the 29-year-old started from pole position with his Audi A4 DTM. He mounted the podium six times, and twice on the top step. The German has built up a nine point lead. At Barcelona he could take another important step towards his first DTM title.

However, Mattias Ekstrom still also has his eyes firmly fixed on the championship title -- it would be the third for the Swede after 2004 and 2007. Ekstrom is only one point behind Jamie Green and Paul di Resta in the overall standings and aims to overhaul the two Mercedes drivers at Barcelona.

With Martin Tomczyk in sixth place and Tom Kristensen in seventh all the drivers of the four latest Audi A4 DTM are inside the top-seven in the standings -- an indication of just how good the new Audi A4 is, which has already started from pole position six times and won four races this year. Audi has taken 14 of a possible 24 podium positions available to date with the "R14".

The drivers of the 2007 Audi A4 DTM cars, which start with 15 kilograms less weight than the latest models from Audi and Mercedes, are also gunning for points at Barcelona.

The fans can also look forward to a premiere in the supporting programme: Maria de Villota, daughter of the former Spanish Formula 1 driver Emilio de Villota, tests an Audi A4 DTM for the first time during the DTM weekend. Furthermore, the 28-year-old Spaniard will also chauffer guests around the 2.977 kilometre long circuit in the Audi R8 Race Taxi.

The race at Barcelona starts on Sunday (21 September) at 2:03 p.m. local time. "Das Erste" broadcasts the race live from Spain from 1:45 p.m. and also shows qualifying live on Saturday from 1:30 p.m., free practice is shown live www.dtm.tv. At www.audi.tv there are highlights and exclusive background reports.

Quotes before the race at Barcelona

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "We have a nine-point lead in the championship when we go to Barcelona. However we can't rest on our laurels. We have to get another good result and for this we'll work hard."

Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #1): "We were very strong at Barcelona in the last two years, however I had trouble in both races with Mercedes drivers and didn't manage to get on the podium there. Maybe it'll be third time lucky. I'd really like to boost my title chances with a win. I will concentrate on qualifying so that we can fight from the front already from the start!"

Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #2): "We've been to Barcelona twice before, and on both occasions I took pole position in the wet. I actually only have fond memories of the circuit, apart from last year's race of course. I think the track suits both Audi and Mercedes. We can expect an exciting race there."

Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM #9): "I love the Circuit de Catalunya, the Barcelona city and the people, which is why I'm really looking forward to it. The circuit has always been the scene of exciting races. The championship is incredibly close this year. Anything is possible at Barcelona."

Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #10): "I can hardly wait to get to Barcelona. We are very motivated after winning at Brands Hatch. With a nine point lead we can approach things in a slightly more relaxed way. But we have to stay focussed as anything is possible in the DTM. There are still another 30 points to be won, which is why we have to do everything possible to be at the front in Barcelona as well."

Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM #14): "I'm looking forward to Barcelona. I love the circuit at which I've already had some good results in the past. I hope that it also suits me in this car. As always I'll give my all."

Oliver Jarvis (Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM #15): "We are looking forward to Barcelona after we didn't get the result we'd hoped for at Brands Hatch. We travel to Barcelona with a positive attitude and want to score points."

Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #18): "I say the same as before every race: I hope that I can perform well and, if possible, bring home a good result. However, absolutely everything must click for this to happen in the DTM."

Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19): "The circuit is great fun to drive and should suit me. Last year I had the flu and a temperature of 39 degrees. For this reason the race was very tough. This time I'd like to score a point or two."

Katherine Legge (Audi A4 DTM #20): "I'm looking forward to Barcelona, because I once had a team mate who was a Catalan. He told me where the coolest places are. The circuit looks really good. I hope that the sun shines and we can turn our speed into a good result."

Christijan Albers (Audi A4 DTM #21): "It'll be difficult for us at Barcelona. Downforce is very important there, and downforce is something that our 2006 car doesn't have so much of. We'll see how things progress. I hope that the sun shines and it stays dry. I hope that we learnt something at Brands Hatch about strategy."

Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "Barcelona is a great race track. The track suits our Audi. The team is very motivated after winning at Brands Hatch. We still have two irons in the fire as far as the championship is concerned and hop that we can continue our winning ways at Barcelona."

Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "We look forward to Barcelona just like every international race -- they are always something special. We race with less weight than the 2007 Mercedes, which should help us. We have again targeted finishing in the points. This time we also want to reach our goal."

Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Barcelona is a fantastic circuit. Since we lose a few kilos and Mercedes must add a few, things should actually look quite good for us. I would say: Maximum attack!"

-credit: audi

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Mika Hakkinen , Tom Kristensen , Martin Tomczyk , Christijan Albers , Timo Scheider , Mattias Ekström , Katherine Legge , Paul di Resta , Alexandre Prémat , Mike Rockenfeller , Oliver Jarvis , Markus Winkelhock , Maria de Villota , Hans-Jurgen Abt , Jamie Green
Teams Team Abt , Phoenix Racing , Audi Sport Team Rosberg