Norisring: Abt Sportsline preview

Looking forward to Abt Sportsline's home round at the Norisring For Abt Sportsline, the fifth round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) at the Norisring is the undisputed highlight of he season. Many thousands of Abt fans are expected to...

Looking forward to Abt Sportsline's home round at the Norisring

For Abt Sportsline, the fifth round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) at the Norisring is the undisputed highlight of he season. Many thousands of Abt fans are expected to the famous race at the street circuit in Nuremberg to support the team from the Allgäu in the title race. In time for the journey to Nuremberg, some 260 kilometres away, the Abt-Audi TT-Rs of Laurent Aiello and Christian Abt have been repaired and are ready for the home round of the team from Kempten.

"We have taken the two cars entirely apart and thoroughly checked every single part," team director Hans-Jürgen Abt explains. "It turned out that the cars could be repaired. A compliment and thanks to the mechanics, who have succeeded in getting our starting numbers one and two perfectly on their wheels again." The tour de force by the crew was necessary after the TT-Rs had been seriously damaged in accidents during testing at the EuroSpeedway a fortnight ago.

So, the home race can come. "All of us are looking forward to the Norisring weekend -- also, because we all still remember the action from last year," says Abt. Flashback: in June 2002, Laurent Aiello and Bernd Schneider staged the battle of the year and one of the most spectacular duels in the history of the DTM. The Abt driver trailed his rival from Mercedes for almost the entire duration of the race, defeated Schneider on the final corner and collected another highly acclaimed victory on his way towards the title.

This year, the cards have been reshuffled. Schneider is the points leader, Laurent Aiello and his team-mate Mattias Ekström are the hunters coming to Nuremberg. The champion from France is ten points down on the top position, the youngster from Sweden is another two points behind him. "We can live with the hunters' role," Hans-Jürgen Abt says. "We have prepared ourselves for this race in the best possible way, all drivers are highly motivated -- it will be a hot weekend."

Quotes before the race

Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R #1):

"Of course, I want another such great duel with Bernd Schneider, preferably with the same result. But that will be a lot of work to do: I am not that far down in the points, anything can happen. But therefore, I need to break my duck. Following the accident at the EuroSpeedway, I have an almost new car at the Norisring. Maybe, that is a good opportunity for a new start. The first victory would surely be a great reward for the team, that had to put in some night shifts again."

Christian Abt (Abt-Audi TT-R #2):

"The Norisring round is my race. Nowhere else you will find more Audi and Abt fans, the atmosphere can't be topped. The open paddock allows for close contact with the fans all weekend. From Friday till Sunday, I am writing several thousands of autographs and I still can't make everyone happy. I can't think of a better place to score our first win of the season."

Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R #5):

"Mercedes has been in front for the first half of the season, but for me, the second half already starts at the Norisring. Things are so close in the DTM that making any predictions is almost impossible. Last year, I first had pole position and then, I had the best place to watch the duel between Laurent (Aiello) and Bernd (Schneider). I wouldn't mind at all being the main actor this time round."

Karl Wendlinger (Abt-Audi TT-R #6):

"Racing in front of such a huge fan crowd is a great thing. As easy as the Norisring may look, it has its very special things. The race will certainly be decided on the corners. You need an optimal set-up, which we will be concentrating on from Friday onwards. And physically, it will be just as hard as at the Adria or at the EuroSpeedway."

Martin Tomczyk (Abt-Audi TT-R #14):

"At the Norisring, it is especially about engine power and working with the brakes as well as possible. There are certainly tracks that I like more. But the atmosphere is simply unique. Many friends and acquaintances will come to watch the race, moreover, many members of my fan club will be there. Something like that surely gives some extra motivation."

Peter Terting (Abt-Audi TT-R #15):

"I am happy to be present as a DTM-driver in the home event for Abt and Audi, that is something quite special indeed. Still, it won't be easy: especially accelerating out of tight corners, like the hairpins at the Norisring, is very difficult with a DTM-car. But I have had four race weekends to learn and now, I can hardly await driving past the packed grand stand."


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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Karl Wendlinger , Laurent Aiello , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Peter Terting , Hans-Jurgen Abt