Abt Sportsline start DTM title defence After sensationally winning the championship last year, Abt Sportsline's DTM title defence begins on 27th April at Hockenheim. For the first time in Abt Sportsline's history six yellow, blue and silver-red...
Abt Sportsline start DTM title defence
After sensationally winning the championship last year, Abt Sportsline's DTM title defence begins on 27th April at Hockenheim. For the first time in Abt Sportsline's history six yellow, blue and silver-red Abt Audi TT-R's will line up on the grid when the first race of the new DTM season kicks off. In the thick of the action are Christian Abt, Laurent Aiello, Mattias Ekström, Martin Tomczyk and Karl Wendlinger, the five championship drivers from the 2002 season, and new team member Peter Terting.
"We are obviously going to take up the challenge and there is no doubt that the goal after such a year is the title defence", explained team director Hans-Jürgen Abt. "Our competitors will do everything possible to win back the title. However, my drivers are well aware of this and will make their opponents lives as difficult as possible."
The team director firmly believes in his five successful drivers, Peter Terting (19), the ADAC VW Lupo Cup Champion, was signed as new team member who will form the new "S line Audi Junior Team" together with Martin Tomczyk. "It was important for us to preserve the harmony within the team", said Abt. Therefore, the championship winning team from the Allgäu decided against the signing of "big names" electing instead to retain the composure and team spirit among their drivers.
In addition to the team, Abt Sportsline also relies on well-proven material for technical matters: The basis of the Abt Audi TT-R, the 2002 championship-winning car, was not modified. Every detail went under the microscope during the long winter months. The new generation TT-R now has a modified outer skin and beneath the yellow, blue or silver-red suit, many improvements. In order to manage six racecars, Abt Sportsline strengthened its ranks with the addition of Team First Choice Racing who will run two TT-R's this season.
"I believe this will be the most exciting DTM season ever. The correct strategy is even more important in a race with refuelling stops", said Hans-Jürgen Abt. In order to be fully prepared for the ten races, his team has again this year left nothing to chance. Practising the perfect refuelling procedure is long since a component of the regular pit stop training. The drivers also worked on their fitness before the season at a team training camp. Drivers, car, team -- Abt Sportsline is ready. The season can begin.
Quotes before the race
Laurent Aiello (#1):
"It really is high time that the DTM got under way again. We have had the opportunity to check each other out over the last few months during the tests. We will only really know the full story on Saturday after qualifying -- it is always extremely interesting. I am already familiar with the new qualifying system from my days in the British Touring Car Championship. To give the absolute maximum in terms of performance and concentration over one lap -- I believe it suits me very well."
Christian Abt (#2):
"It really is a great feeling to be able to stick the numbers one and two on your cars before the first race -- after all, it's the first time since Abt Sportsline have been racing touring cars. Obviously, defending the title is of prime importance. However, if we have done our homework properly and the team sticks together as they did last year -- why shouldn't we succeed?
Mattias Ekström (#5):
"I'm ready. Obviously, we will have to see how quick our car is first. However, I have a good feeling and so far, I have rarely been disappointed. Over the last few weeks, I've played a lot with Moss, my puppy. He is only just three months old, but already exactly the same as me: He also understands nothing other than maximum attack..."
Karl Wendlinger (#6):
"I have already driven plenty of kilometres in the TT-R at our test in Adria and during preparations for the 24 hour race. As far as I am concerned the season can start, the winter break was long enough. I can't wait to see how the new qualifying unfolds: Before we had four shots at it, now everything has to be perfect for just one lap. It is particularly interesting for the fans."
Martin Tomczyk (#14):
"Obviously I'd much rather test for a complete month to be absolutely perfectly prepared. However, I think that we have done our homework very well. I'm really looking forward to the new qualifying system. If things go as they did last year then I should be regularly in the top ten, and then everybody really has the same conditions."
Peter Terting (#15):
"In the meantime I go training nearly every day, to ensure that I am one hundred percent fit for when it really counts. The closer we get to the race weekend, the more peculiar my stomach feels. Presumably, it will be at its worst when I walk into the paddock in Hockenheim. I have really settled in exceptionally well and have a great understanding with all the team engineers and mechanics."