Audi driver Scheider defends DTM lead Ingolstadt/Barcelona - With a cleverly clinched second place, Audi driver Timo Scheider defended his overall DTM lead at Barcelona. Before the last two rounds, the 29-year-old German has a seven-point ...
Audi driver Scheider defends DTM lead
Ingolstadt/Barcelona - With a cleverly clinched second place, Audi driver Timo Scheider defended his overall DTM lead at Barcelona. Before the last two rounds, the 29-year-old German has a seven-point advantage over the Scot Paul di Resta (Mercedes) and thus the chance of securing the champion's title early at the next race at Le Mans on 5 October.
In summer temperatures of 26 degrees in the shade Scheider won the starting duel against the quickest in qualifying, Bernd Schneider, and entered the first turn as the front runner. Up to the 19th lap he maintained his position in front of the subsequent winner, Paul di Resta, before the latter squeezed past the DTM leader with slight body contact. Scheider chose not to massively defend himself in order to keep from jeopardising his second place and thus the eight valuable points awarded for a second-place finish. Scheider thus managed the leap onto the podium for as much as the sixth time this year.
With Martin Tomczyk, Mike Rockenfeller and Alexandre Premat in positions four, five and six, three further Audi drivers scored points. Rockenfeller and Premat, who had won the title in the European-based Le Mans Series with the Audi R10 TDI, were the best drivers of cars from last year. In addition, it was the best result both have achieved in the DTM so far this season.
Title defender Mattias Ekstrom crossed the finish line in fifth place, but was later excluded after a tussle with Mercedes driver Jamie Green on the last lap. Green was also penalized. In the starting commotion Ekstrom's A4 had lost important rear aerodynamics components, which deprived him of the chance to attack more forcefully and to advance further.
Ninth place went to Oliver Jarvis, who had to sit a drive-through penalty after exceeding the speed limit in the pit lane, as did Markus Winkelhock after a collision with Gary Paffett. Christijan Albers in the two-year-old Audi A4 DTM positioned himself between Jarvis and Winkelhock. All three were engaged in gripping mid-field duels.
After qualifying, Tom Kristensen was moved to the last position on the grid due to a violation of the rules. The Dane set a new lap record for DTM vehicles (1m 08.422s) but lost all chances of scoring possible points as early as on the first lap after contact with Susie Stoddard's car, which caused a cut in the front right-hand tyre of his Audi A4 DTM.
Katherine Legge collided with Mathias Lauda in the starting phase and later retired after slipping into the gravel trap.
Before the last two races of the season at Le Mans (5 October) and Hockenheim (26 Oktober) four drivers - Timo Scheider (62 points), Paul di Resta (55), Jamie Green (47) and Mattias Ekstrom (44) - still have chances of winning the title. In the teams' standings Audi Sport Team Abt is the runner-up with a two-point gap.
Quotes after the race
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Timo (Scheider) really made the maximum of today's race. He drove a fantastic race and had a long duel with Paul di Resta. One of the crucial factors in this duel was that Paul still had two new sets of tyres, and Timo only one. It was a clever move on Timo's part to settle for second place and to bring it home safely. With a view towards the championship, that was exactly the right thing to do."
Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #10): "Looking at it realistically, second place was our maximum today. Paul (di Resta) was a little too strong for us here. He had to attack because he's in the role of the rival chasing the front runner. We, on the other hand, were able to 'contemplate' the situation to a certain extent. But I do think that it was prudent that I didn't defend myself too much in order to not risk any damage to the car. That's why we've got to be satisfied with second place today."
Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #2): "My start was pretty good. But I wasn't able to maintain third place, which basically predetermined the outcome because we had a disadvantage here: after ten laps our rear tyres degraded more than those of Mercedes. That's why it was practically impossible to attack any more. Towards the end, it was difficult for us to keep up with our rivals' lap times."
Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #1): "The race was very exciting, although I'd have wished for a different result. My start was okay, but someone touched my rear end and I lost some aerodynamics components before the first turn. In the second turn I was pushed into the gravel by Jamie Green and lost a lot of places. The I drove my own race. On the last two laps I wanted to overtake Jamie. He didn't block me and I was very surprised. When I was on the inside he turned in. Something on my car broke. On the last lap I was fighting just to finish the race."
Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #18): "I'm absolutely satisfied. I had a superb start and we were fortunate in the race. Between Jamie (Green) and 'Eki' I even had to lift a bit at the start. Still, I made up some places on the first lap on which there was a certain amount of chaos. Then I drove my race. My first stop was great and I went out in front of Green. At the second stop we had the problem with the fuel can and one of the tyres stuck a bit. Despite this I returned to the track in front of Alex (Premat) and simply gave everything. It was very hot and I had to struggle with heavy oversteer. I'm very happy about fifth place."
Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM #14): "I'm very satisfied with my race. After the start I immediately found myself among the top eight. My two pit stops were excellent, and so was the strategy. During the race I fought with 'Rocky', which was really nice. In the end, I was driving the second-best year-old car. With 'Rocky' I won a championship for Audi last weekend and now we both finished in the points."
Oliver Jarvis (Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM #15): "My start was good but the first turn was chaotic. In the second turn Spengler pushed me out on the exit. That cost me two places. I then had an intense fight with Gary Paffett. After my second pit stop I wasn't able to shift into first gear, so the speed limiter didn't work. I received a drive-through penalty for that. After sitting the penalty, I had to fight to make up ground again. That's why the result is somewhat disappointing. But the race pace was good."
Christijan Albers (Audi A4 DTM #21): "I was able to keep the pace of Paffett and Jarvis well, even after the first tyre change. But on the following set of tyres it was all over, I was no longer able to keep the pace. That's really too bad because otherwise a good place would have been possible."
Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19): "I had a poor start. In the first turn Schumacher drove into my car. Then I was hit by another car and I was pretty much at the end of the field. The race was turbulent. Later Schumacher slowed me, then I overtook Albers after a nice duel. When I wanted to overtake Gary, I unfortunately made a braking mistake and caused him to spin. I received a drive-through penalty. I attacked, but in the end it didn't lead to anything."
Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM #9): "After this qualifying I had to start from the last position on the grid, but got off well. The first two turns were good. Then, many cars drove through the third turn side by side. I was on the outside and was heavily hit on the inside by a Mercedes. I had to go through the gravel trap. The car's underfloor immediately touched the ground. I thought the splitter was broken but it was tyre damage. I had to come in for an additional pit stop and lost almost one lap. The race was over before it really started. A bit of consolidation for the team was the fact that we drove the fastest lap."
Katherine Legge (Audi A4 DTM #20): "My start wasn't great but okay. There was a certain amount of confusion but I found a race rhythm. Then Lauda drove out of the first turn across my driving line and I touched him. I was penalised for that. My car was clearly damaged. When I turned into the third turn much later in the race I drove across a piece of bodywork, damaged a tyre and slipped into the gravel."
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "I think the race was great entertainment for the spectators. With Timo (Scheider) we made the best of the race. Mercedes was a bit faster today. Our prerequisites for the next two races are perfect. Our cars are ten kilograms lighter. So we're going to Le Mans with good pre-conditions."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "A nice result for Alex (Premat) and of course for 'Rocky' too. Audi finished in the points with two cars from last year. We're very satisfied with sixth place. Oliver's (Jarvis) pace was good as well, it's just that he was too fast in the pit lane. These things happen. Both drove a good pace on which we'll continue to build. A big 'well done' to the entire squad, which handled three of the four stops extremely well. That was the crucial factor that made us finish so far at the front."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Rocky' was finally among the front runners, and throughout the whole weekend at that. He did a gigantic job. Towards the end, Alexandre (Premat) caught him, but he kept him well under control and drove fairly. My thanks to him and to the team, everything went extremely well. Markus (Winkelhock) provided a lot of entertainment - unfortunately, there were no points awarded for that. Too bad that he was hit straight away in the starting commotion. It took him a while to get used to the car's new handling."