Audi shoots for another victory at EuroSpeedway Three races and two wins for the A4 DTM at Lausitz so far Impressive series by former Champion EkstrÃ¶m Frentzen and Kristensen have positive memories as well After clinching places two and three...
Audi shoots for another victory at EuroSpeedway
Three races and two wins for the A4 DTM at Lausitz so far
Impressive series by former Champion Ekström
Frentzen and Kristensen have positive memories as well
After clinching places two and three in the season opener at Hockenheim, the Audi squad has set a clear goal for the second DTM round at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz on 30 April: this time the top position on the podium should be occupied by an Audi driver. One man, in particular, is familiar with the vista from there: Mattias Ekström.
The Swede from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline won two of the last three DTM races on the circuit located 130 kilometres south of Berlin - last September after a thrilling duel with Gary Paffett, which had spectators watching with bated breath over the entire 48-lap distance.
Ekström's track record at the EuroSpeedway is impressive: five out of six events saw the fair-haired racer finish on the podium, twice at the very top. The former DTM Champion's first podium result - in 2001 - was claimed at the "Lausitz" circuit as well. The Audi driver's worst EuroSpeedway result so far was fourth place last May when a drive-through penalty was imposed on him after a collision with Jamie Green's Mercedes.
Ekström and Green are considered hot candidates for the title in the most popular international touring car racing series this year, but neither of them finished the Hockenheim season-opener in the points. Though, both are under particularly high pressure this time and need to score to stay in the race for the title.
This promises a fierce competition because within the Audi squad Tom Kristensen and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, in particular, will give everything to repeat their performance at Hockenheim and to defend their positions.
Both have good chances because the circuit suits them well, too: Frentzen started the race from the front row at the EuroSpeedway last September, Kristensen last May finished as the runner-up to claim the new Audi A4 DTM's first podium result - having started from seventh place on the grid at that.
Kristensen is eager to clinch his second victory in the DTM after Oschersleben in 2004. After Hockenheim, there is no doubt left in Frentzen's mind that as an Audi driver he finally has the chance to manage his first victory in a DTM race.
This is what Martin Tomczyk is striving for as well. Tomczyk, who at the age of 24 is the youngest Audi driver, showed a qualifying performance at Hockenheim which proved that he is a contender to be reckoned with again this season. What is more, the season opener demonstrated the fact that the cars from last year have genuine chances for victory in the 2006 DTM season, too.
Consequently, Christian Abt, Pierre Kaffer (both with Audi Sport Team Phoenix), Timo Scheider and Frank Stippler (both with Audi Sport Team Rosberg) are going to the EuroSpeedway with a high level of motivation - all four have scored points in the past.
Last but not least, Vanina Ickx wants to improve at the wheel of the 2004-spec A4 in her second DTM race. This will certainly be no mean feat because for the Belgian, who at Hockenheim had to handle as much interview stress as Heinz-Harald Frentzen, the EuroSpeedway is new territory again.
The second 2006 DTM round promises to be a real thriller. Tickets for race day start at a price of 15 euros and may be ordered at www.dtm.de, Audi fan packages at www.audi-dtm.de. ARD will broadcast the qualifying live on Saturday (29 April) starting at 1:35 p.m. (local time), the race on Sunday (30 April) starting at 1:45 p.m.
Quotes before the race at the EuroSpeedway
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):
"We have good memories of the EuroSpeedway from last year and, since our DTM comeback as a manufacturer, have won two of three races there. The circuit should be suiting our Audi A4 DTM even a bit better yet than the Hockenheim track, that is why we have set our sights on victory of course. If our new teams continue to make progress, a strong team performance should be possible."
Martin Tomczyk, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #4:
"I believe that at the EuroSpeedway we will be seeing a similar performance level as in the season opener. The venue has everything that distinguishes a good circuit. Yet because of the longer corners we need a different set-up than at Hockenheim."
Mattias Ekström, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #5:
"I'm already looking forward to the EuroSpeedway. It's one of my favourite tracks because in 2001 I clinched my first podium in the DTM here and last year won the last race I've driven so far at this circuit. After retiring at Hockenheim, I'm coming to the EuroSpeedway with an extra dose of motivation. I know that I need a good result there."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Veltins Audi A4 DTM #6:
"Third place at Hockenheim was a good start, which gives me a positive feeling for the EuroSpeedway as well. I've gotten to know the Audi squad and I am in the process of acclimatising myself very well. The EuroSpeedway is very nice for the spectators because most of the places give a good view of the circuit. I'm curious to see how my Audi A4 DTM will feel on the track. A good balance is particularly important there."
Tom Kristensen, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Siemens Audi A4 DTM #7:
"The season opener at Hockenheim was very thrilling. In the race we showed that we've got the right speed - even on a 'Mercedes track'. In terms of its characteristics, the EuroSpeedway should be suiting our A4 even better, that's why we think we've got pretty good chances. We want to score as many points as possible and, preferably, Audi's first win of the season."
Christian Abt, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Playboy Audi A4 DTM #12:
"Last year we saw that Audi is able to win at the EuroSpeedway. If you get everything right, you can finish among the top eight in the DTM with a car from last year as well. That was done at Hockenheim and should be possible at the EuroSpeedway, too."
Pierre Kaffer, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Castrol Audi A4 DTM #14:
"I'm looking towards the race at the EuroSpeedway full of confidence. At Hockenheim, we already had a pretty good pace, even though we failed to achieve the desired result. The EuroSpeedway brings back primarily positive memories to me from the 2005 season. That's why I'm very much looking forward to the race."
Frank Stippler, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, S line Audi A4 DTM #15:
"Sixth place at the EuroSpeedway last year was a good result but I do remember having had difficulties racing this circuit in the past as well. The track continues to be a really tough nut for us to crack."
Timo Scheider, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Gebrauchtwagen:plus Audi A4 DTM #16:
"I'm looking forward to the EuroSpeedway because I believe that Audi will be even better on this track than at Hockenheim. I hope that we'll be able to make good use of our initial experience with the 2005-spec car - Hockenheim was a good learning phase for us. It would be great if we could support Audi's front runners with the 2005-spec car."
Vanina Ickx, Futurecom TME, Original Zubehör Audi A4 DTM #20:
"We've gathered a great deal of information at Hockenheim, analysed a lot and now want to translate these findings into action of course. I want to qualify for a place further towards the front than in the first round, find a better rhythm and achieve more efficient pit stops with the team in order to improve my final result. I'm eager to see if we'll manage to do this because the EuroSpeedway is the second new race track for me this year."
Olivier Tielemans, Futurecom TME, Futurecom Audi A4 DTM #19:
"At the EuroSpeedway I want to continue exactly where my positive start at Hockenheim ended. As a team we've managed to finish the race and know where we can improve further. I already know the EuroSpeedway from Formula 3000. The circuit is anything but easy yet this makes the challenge all the more exiciting."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline):
"We have set a high benchmark for ourselves as a team and achieved a good result at Hockenheim. This is the way we want to continue. Our goal continues to be running four cars without making any mistakes and to improve our performance yet again. Let's face it, we want to be at the very front in the end. In the past two years, the EuroSpeedway suited us. We will try and finish one place better as at Hockenheim...."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix):
"After we learned a great deal during our first race for Audi at Hockenheim we're going to the EuroSpeedway with a positive feeling. The Audi brand has achieved some nice exploits here in the past. As a team we were able to put pressure on our rivals there in the past on numerous occasions as well, and last year we were leading a DTM race for part of the time. Experience has shown that at the EuroSpeedway a great deal depends on the driver - some like the circuit very much, others don't."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg):
"Of course finishing in the points at Hockenheim in our first race for Audi was great but we do know that there is a lot more work for us to be done. At the EuroSpeedway we need to get a few things better than in the first race. We're working on this and hope that racing luck will continue to be with us."