Mattias EkstrÃ¶m takes second place on his birthday Mattias EkstrÃ¶m made himself the nicest present for his 24th birthday: at the sixth round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters), the Swedish youngster secured himself second place in front...
Mattias Ekström takes second place on his birthday
Mattias Ekström made himself the nicest present for his 24th birthday: at the sixth round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters), the Swedish youngster secured himself second place in front of over 40,000 spectators. With victory in the short qualification race and fourth place in the subsequent main race, Laurent Aiello retained the lead in the championship standings. After strong performances, Christian Abt and Martin Tomczyk occupied seventh and ninth place respectively.
Sweated through and through, but very happy, Mattias Ekström enjoyed the cheers from the spectators and the mechanics on the podium at the Lausitzring. Having been surprised with a giant birthday cake by his team, the Swede had to fight hard for his best birthday present: over almost the entire race distance, the other competitors put the pressure on Ekström, but at flagfall, he only had to let reigning DTM-champion Bernd Schneider in front.
The almost 60,000 spectators of the week-end, who made for an impressive backdrop at the Lausitzring, witnessed motor racing at its best during the race day, including exciting position fights in all areas of the 21 drivers' strong starting field. In the middle of the action, Laurent Aiello attempted to add another victory to his tally of four wins, but in the end, he had to make do with the rather unsatisfying fourth place.
In the qualification race of only seven laps, the Paris-based driver immediately converted his pole-position into the race lead and then secured victory from Bernd Schneider and Christian Abt. In the early stages of the 23 laps' main race, it looked like the reigning champion and the main title candidate would once more stage a similarly exciting fight like at the Norisring in Nuremberg a fortnight ago. But during the mandatory pit stop, the wheel nut on the left rear wheel of the Abt-Audi TT-R was stuck: Aiello only got back onto the track with a few seconds' delay and had lost all chances of victory.
Christian Abt showed his competitive spirit once again: after a sensational start into the qualification race, in which he overtook Bernd Schneider to take second place, the driver from Kempten missed the start of the main race and dropped back massively. With an error-free race and some good overtaking manoeuvres, he only just missed out on a points scoring finish position with seventh place.
At the Lausitzring, Martin Tomczyk achieved a personal victory. After the only 20-year old driver from Rosenheim had been among the fastest drivers in qualifying at each race week-end of the season so far, he always lacked the necessary bit of luck on Sunday. At the Lausitzring, however, Tomczyk put an end to this series' of bad luck with an error-free and fast race, that brought him to a ninth place finish. Only Karl Wendlinger was forced to sit out the race after he had to retire with gearbox failure on the ninth lap.
Quotes after the race
Laurent Aiello (1st place / 4th place):
"Unfortunately, I lost valuable seconds during my pit stop. But my mechanics have helped me win races so often, it can happen, that it doesn't go perfectly once. After that, I gave everything still to make it on the podium. I closed up to Marcel Fässler again and again, but I couldn't overtake him."
Mattias Ekström (4th place / 2nd place):
"That was one of the hardest races of my career. Throughout the week-end, I had a light cold and in the closing stages of the race, I was really finished. For my birthday, I wanted a quick pit stop from my team and that was what I got. Now, I want to claim second place in the championship back from Bernd Schneider at the Nürburgring."
Karl Wendlinger (10th place / retired):
"Unfortunately, my gearbox went after a few laps in the main race already, and I had to retire. Of course, I am quite upset by my current series of bad luck. But I still feel very well in the DTM and I am sure that I will be looking forward to the Nürburgring round from tomorrow onwards."
Christian Abt (3rd place / 7th place):
"For me, it was a great race today: I had many close duels, that were all fair and really fun. Unfortunately, I made a mistake at the start of the main race and then I had to fight back to the front again. I think that the spectators have experienced an exciting race day today and have seen motor racing at its best."
Martin Tomczyk (5th place / 9th place):
"Today, it was like a small victory, because finally, I could make it to the finish in a main race for the first time this season. When I noticed that I wouldn't make it into the points anymore, I drove a little more cautiously. Now, my season is really starting."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (team boss):
"All five drivers have been showing an exciting, close and absolutely fair race today. Mattias has made himself the nicest birthday present that one can think of. Of course, we rather would have won, but now, we will be fully attacking in the next race again. After all, we have fond memories of the Nürburgring after our two victories there last year."