Hockenheim: Audi preview

Audi drivers enthusiastic about DTM opener Season opener on 22 April at Hockenheim Race premiere for evolution Audi A4 DTM Four Audi drivers on verge of DTM début On Sunday 22 April, the waiting finally has an end: The first 2007 DTM race...

Audi drivers enthusiastic about DTM opener
Season opener on 22 April at Hockenheim
Race premiere for evolution Audi A4 DTM
Four Audi drivers on verge of DTM début

On Sunday 22 April, the waiting finally has an end: The first 2007 DTM race starts at exactly 2:03 p.m. local time. Tens of thousands of fans packing the Motodrom at the Hockenheimring and millions of television viewers in Germany and abroad will be in the thick of the action when the most popular international touring car series heads into the new season.

The Audi drivers and Audi Sport technicians are just as intrigued about the DTM opener as the fans are. The race at Hockenheim provides aficionados and teams alike with the first direct comparison after a winter of intensive work, dominated by development, dynamometer runs and testing. In qualifying on Saturday the latest generation Audi A4 DTM will show just how strong it is in a direct comparison with the competition. In Sunday's race the first championship points are up for grabs.

Four of the ten Audi drivers approach the season opener with particular interest: Lucas Luhr (D/27), Alexandre Prémat (F/25), Mike Rockenfeller (D/23) and Adam Carroll (GB/24) celebrate their DTM débuts at Hockenheim. All four made strong impressions with the Audi A4 DTM during the tests. However, experience shows that worlds often separate the harsh light of day on a DTM weekend and a test.

Quotes before the DTM opener at Hockenheim

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "The season finally starts after a winter of hard work. We are well prepared and have strengthened our team with young drivers, who made a strong impression during the tests. I'm optimistic about the forthcoming season, but know that you only have a true idea of where you stand after two or three races are already run. I'm at the same time convinced that it will be very close again and the spectators can look forward to a thrilling DTM season in 2007."

Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #3): "I'm really interested to see how things shape up at the first race - especially in qualifying on Saturday. Then we'll know where we stand in comparison to the competition. My team and I are well prepared. We tested intensively with the new Audi A4 DTM. My gut feeling is that we can be successful this year. But let's wait and see how things really look after Saturday's qualifying."

Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #4): "It's high time that things finally get started again. I have high expectations for the season opener. I like Hockenheim, until now I've always been in the leading group in qualifying and in the race."

Tom Kristensen (Siemens Audi A4 DTM #7): "We are all looking forward to the start of the 2007 DTM season. Previously, Hockenheim has always been a circuit that didn't suit our Audi, especially the first two sectors. Since we race twice there - the opener and finale - Hockenheim is of particular importance. Audi Sport and the team have improved the A4 DTM noticeably over the winter. It will be very interesting to see whether the step forward was big enough."

Timo Scheider (Gebrauchtwagen:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #8): "After Audi gave me such a fantastic Christmas present by allowing me to drive a new generation car I can hardly wait for the green light for the first race. I'm really looking forward to it. We had several good tests over the winter. In Hockenheim we'll see just how competitive we are and just how good I am."

Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #11): "I've been waiting impatiently for my first DTM race, and now the time has come and I hope that the preparations were good and I can show my talent. I'm not expecting too much just yet. Initially at Hockenheim I want to get to know the ins and outs of a DTM weekend and settle in."

Lucas Luhr (Philips Audi A4 DTM #12): "It'll certainly be difficult. After all Hockenheim is my first DTM race and the learning curve is very steep - even the events on the periphery. And things in the cockpit really get serious for the first time. In the meantime I feel a lot more comfortable in the DTM car, but let's not forget that a proper comparison is only possible on a race weekend."

Christian Abt (Playboy Audi A4 DTM #16): "I come with mixed feelings to Hockenheim. The 2006 car was already extremely well sorted last year, so that there was hardly any room to make it quicker over the winter. I'm afraid that we'll have a tough time in last year's A4 against the year old Mercedes at Hockenheim."

Alexandre Prémat (Audi Bank Audi A4 DTM #17): "I'm approaching my first DTM race with great expectations. I know that the level in the DTM is extremely high. However, we worked hard on both the qualifying and race performance during the tests. I will do everything possible to be on the point at Hockenheim."

Adam Carroll (Audi A4 DTM #20): "Up to now I've enjoyed every metre in the Audi A4 DTM and working together with the team. I'm well aware that I'm at the wheel of a 2005 car, but also that we have worked extremely well over the winter and that the team is giving 100 per cent. I've never been better prepared for a season than I am for this one, and I intend to make the most of it."

Vanina Ickx (Audi A4 DTM #21): "I'm happy to be a part of the DTM again and to be able to tackle a second DTM season. I worked intensively on my fitness over the winter and was also able to test a little bit more. I'm interested to see whether the hard work pays off."

Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "We worked hard throughout the winter. The entire team is looking forward to the first race. The opener at Hockenheim is always the first time we really go head-to-head with the opposition and therefore more exciting than usual. I hope as many fans as possible come to keep their fingers crossed for us."

Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "We really are raring to go after such a long winter break, at last the chance to feel the tough competition in the DTM. We head to Hockenheim with high expectations and expect a good showing from our new driver line-up, which is comprised of one experienced driver and a young gun."

Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Last year Hockenheim was our first race with Audi, which actually ran extremely well right from the word go: We scored a point. However, things will be a little more difficult this year because the new generation cars are quicker. Our two new drivers should however at least be able to keep pace in the year old cars."

-credit: audi

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Tom Kristensen , Vanina Ickx , Lucas Luhr , Martin Tomczyk , Timo Scheider , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Adam Carroll , Alexandre Prémat , Mike Rockenfeller , Hans-Jurgen Abt
Teams Team Abt , Phoenix Racing , Audi Sport Team Rosberg