Ingolstadt/Le Mans -- With a proper "Oktoberfest", the Audi Hospitality at Le Mans offered some Bavarian flair at the DTM race in France. Nevertheless, there are notable differences between France and Germany: the livery of Katherine Legge's Audi...
Ingolstadt/Le Mans -- With a proper "Oktoberfest", the Audi Hospitality at Le Mans offered some Bavarian flair at the DTM race in France. Nevertheless, there are notable differences between France and Germany: the livery of Katherine Legge's Audi had to be altered due to the French ban on advertising for alcohol and the going in normal traffic can get pretty rough as the painful experience suffered by Markus Winkelhock's Audi RS 6 showed. A cordial experience, though, was the reunion with former DTM Champion Laurent Aiello.
The "Oktoberfest" is taking place in Munich and the Audi DTM teams are at Le Mans, far away from home. This problem simply had to be solved, so on Thursday the Audi Hospitality in the paddock was re-decorated into an Oktoberfest marquee. The waitresses wore Bavarian "Dirndl" dresses and "Hofmuehl" beer fresh from the tap was served with culinary specialities like roast chicken, "Leberkas" (a type of meat loaf) and pretzels, accompanied by Bavarian folk music. The traditional tapping of the keg was performed by Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich.
Bonjour mon ami -- Laurent Aiello, the 2002 DTM Champion in the Abt-Audi TT-R, used the opportunity of the round staged in his native France to visit old friends. Accompanied by his wife and two children, the 39-year-old travelled from Bordeaux to Le Mans, to stand by Audi's side during the hot phase of the title fight.
Katherine Legge's blue Audi A4 DTM received a new look for the round at Le Mans: since the beer of partner Hofmuhl falls under the French ban on advertising for alcohol, the brewery's logo -- analogous to the Brit's car number -- was replaced by a distinctive "20". A number printed in italics has already worked well as the striking element of the graphics on Christijan Albers' car. The Audi A4 DTM driven by Legge's partner in the Audi customer team Futurecom-TME is emblazoned with a glossy chromium "21".
A cherished possession requires tender loving care. Hence Markus Winkelhock personally washed his Audi RS 6, which had gotten very dirty during the trip to Le Mans, with a hose and sponge -- albeit with assistance by Mike Rockenfeller. The two team-mates from Audi Sport Team Rosberg had met in Trier to drive to France together. On Friday morning "Rocky" said to Winkelhock, "It's a good thing we took your Audi." The reason was that the car park attendant at the hotel had put a dent into the rear bumper while manoeuvring the vehicle.
With great pleasure several Audi DTM drivers participated in a fund raising activity of the TV channel, Motors TV. On camera, Katherine Legge, Tom Kristensen, Alexandre Premat, Mike Rockenfeller and Mattias Ekstrom as well as Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich were shown pictures from the past and asked to spontaneously tell the stories behind them. Afterwards, they signed the pictures, which will be auctioned for the benefit of a charity the autograph-givers can choose themselves.
As the only French DTM driver, Alexandre Premat was in high demand by the media at his home race at Le Mans -- and not only with regard to the DTM. The driver from Audi Sport Team Phoenix served as an expert for Formula 3 Euro Series coverage at the Motors TV channel. The 26-year-old definitely possesses the requisite expertise: in 2003 and 2004 he contested the junior series himself and crowned this part of his career by finishing his second year as the runner-up in the championship. In addition, he won the prestigious Formula 3 races at Zandvoort and Macao in 2004.
At Le Mans the Audi Lounge in the paddock again hosted several hundred invited guests. The delegation of Audi France alone included 300 motorsport fans, who wanted to witness the DTM live alongside the track.