50th Audi win in DTM to celebrate 100th anniversary? Ingolstadt/Nuremberg -- The Audi brand celebrates its 100th birthday in July. What could be more appropriate than recording the 50th victory in the most popular international touring car race...
50th Audi win in DTM to celebrate 100th anniversary?
Ingolstadt/Nuremberg -- The Audi brand celebrates its 100th birthday in July. What could be more appropriate than recording the 50th victory in the most popular international touring car race series just before the anniversary celebrations -- and on top of this at the Norisring in Nuremberg, Audi's "home race"?
An Audi has won on 49 occasions in the DTM up to now. However, at the Norisring in Nuremberg of all places, which is as good as on Audi Sport's doorstep, only three victories have been scored to date: Hans-Joachim Stuck took two wins in 1990 and 1991 with the Audi V8 quattro. In the DTM modern era, the only Audi driver to enter victory lane at the Norisring was Frenchman Laurent Aiello -- his triumph during the 2002 season is now seven years ago.
After six successive Mercedes wins Audi will do everything in its power on June 28 to finally win the Norisring race again. It would be the first victory for the Audi A4 DTM on the short 2.3 kilometer track near the Dutzendteich lake, around which especially top speed, traction and good brakes are required. The Audi A4 DTM is, on the other hand, trimmed specifically for aerodynamic efficiency and downforce, which are important factors at the majority of the other DTM race tracks -- after all the DTM title is not awarded after the Norisring but is the result of ten races.
Last year only 2.191 seconds separated Audi from victory after 74 laps around the Norisring. The fastest Audi A4 DTM race lap was only 0.060 seconds slower than the fastest lap posted by the Mercedes C-Class.
The Norisring was also taken into account during development of the Audi A4 DTM for the 2009 season. The "R14 plus", as it is called internally, has a superior Cd value and is faster on the straights -- two factors which are of particular importance at the Norisring. Furthermore, Audi Sport simulated the peculiarities of the Franconian race track at an airfield before the race.
Timo Scheider comes to Nuremberg as defending champion with start number "1" and as championship leader. In 2008, the Austrian domiciled German was the best Audi driver in third place in front of 140,000 spectators. Close behind at the flag was Mattias Ekstrom, who has finished in the points five times in succession at the Norisring and has already mounted the podium three times.
The DTM cars take to the track for the first time in the roll-out late on Friday afternoon. In Saturday's qualifying session the grid positions are determined for the race on Sunday (start at 2:03 p.m.). The ARD broadcasts qualifying and the race live from Nuremberg on "Das Erste".
Quotes before the DTM race at the Norisring
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "The Norisring is always a very special race for Audi since it is more or less viewed as a home race due to its close proximity to Ingolstadt. We have once again planned to finally bring home a result at the Norisring reflecting its proximity to Ingolstadt. Which means: We really want to win again the race there. Of course we know it won't be easy. Our car concept is laid out primarily for aerodynamic efficiency and downforce -- these are factors which are, like at EuroSpeedway, not of importance at the Norisring. Nevertheless, as in the previous years we have prepared ourselves specifically for the Norisring. I hope that we can score a good result there now."
Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #1): "I'm looking forward to the highlight of the season, even though it is unusually early. It's about time that Norisring was in the hands of Audi again. It is after all a home race for Audi which, however, was always very difficult for us over the last few years. We were very good last year and were able to put the leading Mercedes under a lot of pressure towards the end of the race. I hope that we can still improve things this year. We've improved our top speed, the Cd value is also better, this should help us."
Tom Kristensen (100 Jahre Audi -- A4 DTM #2): "I always look forward to the Norisring -- particularly as it is also one of the most important and atmospheric races on the DTM calendar. It's summer, loads of spectators visit, there is plenty of action away from the track and the race itself enjoys great tradition. The track appears to be really easy with its three, four corners. But, it is exactly this that makes it difficult and different from every other race track. It's Audi's home circuit around which we haven't won for a long time. It would be fantastic if I could be the first driver to win there again with an Audi. This has to be the goal. The set-up must be completely different than other race tracks. I hope that my team and I gen get it spot on."
Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #5): "We were very competitive at the Norisring last year -- the only exception was qualifying. I have the feeling that I still have a score to settle there. I'll do everything to produce the maximum and hope that it's enough to be at the very front. I can hardly imagine there being a better atmosphere anywhere than at the Norisring."
Oliver Jarvis (Audi Cup A4 DTM #15): "I want to use the Norisring to forget the EuroSpeedway weekend. I know from last year that it is an amazing event attended by hoards of spectators. The track is tough, I expect a fabulous race."
Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM #12): "Things can only get better for me at the Norisring after the bad weekend at the EuroSpeedway. After Hockenheim you could say that it is my second home race. I love the track and the backdrop is fantastic. As far as I'm concerned five of the ten DTM races could be held on street circuits. I just enjoy drifting out towards the walls. It's always a special weekend at the Norisring. We run with the same weight as the year-old Mercedes'. So, something should spring out of this."
Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #11): "The Norisring is a highlight because it is the only street race on the calendar. There are always loads of spectators there and the atmosphere is fantastic. Although there are actually only three corners the track is a great challenge. You always brake from the top-speed and drive with relatively little downforce. The circuit is very bumpy in the braking areas, which makes it very difficult and tricky. I hope that I manage to be successful in qualifying this year so that I have a good grid position for the race."
Katherine Legge (Audi Collection A4 DTM #21): "I'm really looking forward to the Norisring because it is Audi's home race. The atmosphere there is amazing, as are the spectators. It's a fantastic event which we all look forward to. I'm used to street circuits from the Champ Car Series in the USA. The track in Nuremberg is different but the atmosphere is comparable."
Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank A4 DTM #14): "I've won Formula 3 races at the Norisring and beaten the likes of Hamilton, Kubica and Rosberg in the process, so, the track suits me! I'm 300 per cent motivated because I couldn't score any points in the first two races this year. It's about time I did! I'll do the maximum to score points. I've had the speed since the first race, but we've just be plagued by bad luck up to now."
Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Cola Audi A4 DTM #6): "The Norisring is of course a highlight. Lots of Audi employees and fans will be there. It is one of the most prestigious and wonderful race for Audi. We have the most support there. Audi is a Bavarian brand, I'm a Bavarian driver. I'm looking forward to it even though my record at Norisring hasn't been so positive up to now. But maybe it'll improve on my ninth start in the DTM."
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "Whoever knows the Norisring knows that it is the Monaco of the DTM. We really rub shoulders with the fans and there are always many visitors. I hope that we can reward the crew from Ingolstadt and the loyal fans from Kempten this year. We weren't so successful over the last few years."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "Anything is possible at the Norisring. My drivers love the track just the same as I do. We have a very clear target: We want to get one or two cars on the podium. I'm convinced that this is also possible with a year-old car at the Norisring."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "The Norisring is Audi's home race for which have prepared specially. We got a car into the points in the first two races. This has made us hungry for more. I'd like to see both cars in the points at the Norisring -- we've worked for this."
Facts and figures
The Frenchman Laurent Aiello scored the last win for Audi at the Norisring in an Abt-Audi TT-R on June 30, 2002 ... At 2.3 kilometers in length the Norisring is the second shortest track on the DTM calendar ... In 2002 (Mattias Ekstrom) and 2005 (Tom Kristensen) an Audi driver started from pole position at the Norisring ... since the DTM comeback in the year 2000 only three Norisring victors have also managed to win the DTM title at the end of the season (2000 Bernd Schneider, 2002 Laurent Aiello, 2005 Gary Paffett).
Markus Winkelhock about the Norisring: "The Norisring appears much easier than it is, even though it only runs once up and down with a chicane in between. The circuit is very demanding for the brakes, especially in the normal high summer temperatures. It is very bumpy, and the car can aquaplane very suddenly when it rains. The tires are not stressed as much as they are at other circuits. You only have to be careful that the wheels don't spin too much under acceleration. As a racing driver the exit of the chicane is particularly exciting. You drive as close to the wall as possible till the mirror is scratched, but not the car. The smallest mistake puts you in the wall. On one weekend I lost eight mirrors ... It really is huge fun to race at the Norisring -- and the atmosphere is unique."