Ingolstadt -- Podium lock-out on debut at Hockenheim, one-two finish at Oschersleben, and now the first four finishing positions at Zandvoort: The new Audi A4 is clearly the car to beat in the 2008 DTM. Audi also wants to demonstrate this in no ...
Ingolstadt -- Podium lock-out on debut at Hockenheim, one-two finish at Oschersleben, and now the first four finishing positions at Zandvoort: The new Audi A4 is clearly the car to beat in the 2008 DTM. Audi also wants to demonstrate this in no uncertain terms to the spectators at the Nurburgring on 27 July.
The final spurt in the title fight starts in earnest at the seventh round of the most popular international touring car series. With championship leader Timo Scheider (40 points) and defending champion Mattias Ekstrom (35 points) Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline comes to the last German DTM race before the finale at Hockenheim with two drivers heading the standings. Three international events at Brands Hatch, Barcelona and Le Mans are still to run before the big showdown in October.
During the first half of the season, Audi established an excellent base for the successful defence of its title with the new A4. The brand from Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm last achieved this in the DTM with the V8 quattro seventeen years ago (1990/1991).
Target at the Nurburgring is to make another step in the direction of winning the title. The foundations for this are good since the 3.629 kilometre long sprint-track has usually been a happy hunting ground for Audi over the past years. The then Audi customer team Abt Sportsline celebrated its first ever DTM race win there in 2001. Since then Audi has taken a total of five victories at the track in the Eifel, including 2005 with Mattias Ekstrom and 2007 with Martin Tomczyk. Last year all four Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline drivers scored points.
Championship leader Timo Scheider comes highly motivated to the Nurburgring: The 29-year old was born in Lahnstein near Koblenz. For his "home race" the Audi factory driver once again plans a special event: Like last year he will treat the fans to 1,000 litres of free beer and will be pulling the pints in person.
To avoid TV coverage of the final stage of the Tour de France the race will start at 5:35 p.m. on Sunday (27 July). Immediately before the DTM race starts, spectators in the Eifel can see in action the Audi R10 TDI, which will race three weeks later on 17 August in the 1000 kilometre race at the Nurburgring.
Quotes before the race at the Nurburgring
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "We go completely motivated to the Nurburgring after the good result at Zandvoort. Martin Tomczyk won there last year. Even though the circuit hasn't always suited our car perfectly in the past, we still want to get a good result. With the new Audi A4 we have an excellent base for this."
Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #1): "It's safe to say that I'm really looking forward to the Nurburgring. I want to drive a good race for myself, for Audi and my team. If you are second in the championship you can only look forward."
Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #2): "The Nurburgring is a good circuit which will certainly suit our new A4. I won there last year, so I have good memories."
Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM #9): "The Nurburgring is steeped in tradition, and in many respects the home of German motorsport. I'm always happy to drive there. I'm expecting a very interesting DTM race. The 2008 cars from Audi and Mercedes start with identical ballast. Mercedes must be capable of responding to our dominant form at Zandvoort. It has the potential to be a real thriller."
Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #10): "I'm especially looking forward to the Nurburgring. I grew up not far away from the track. It's a great feeling to visit my fans and friends who live there. Obviously I hope that lots of fans come and keep their fingers crossed for me. Like last year, as a way of saying thank you and showing my appreciation there will be 1,000 litres of free beer for the fans on Saturday evening."
Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM #14): "It is the home race for Team Phoenix. After several rather unlucky races I'd finally like to score some points again. I like the circuit. Last year things went very well for us there."
Oliver Jarvis (Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM #15): "I still don't know the Nurburgring. So, I have to learn a new track again. However, I'm really looking forward to it, particularly as it is my team's home race. I hope that lots of fans will support us."
Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #18): "The Nurburgring is my home track. I'll do everything possible to get a good result. It's a shame that it wasn't quite enough to get a point at the last race at Zandvoort. I hope that things work out better at the Nurburgring."
Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19): "The Nurburgring is one of my favourite circuits. I've always been successful there, whether in Formula Renault, Formula 3 or last year with the highlight in Formula 1. My car won there in 2007, so things should by okay."
Katherine Legge (Audi A4 DTM #20): "I think that my form curve is positive in the DTM: Apart from Norisring every race was an improvement. I hope that I can improve still further in qualifying, after all the Nurburgring is a track that suits my Audi."
Christijan Albers (Audi A4 DTM #21): "I wish that things run better than they did at Zandvoort. I want to move on from that race as quickly as possible and attack again at the Nurburgring. I've already won there in the DTM. Perhaps I can also get a good result with the current package."
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "We suffered absolutely no damage at Zandvoort and could therefore prepare correspondingly well for the forthcoming race. We are very confident. The Nurburgring suits us. We want again score a fantastic result."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "This is our highlight: Our home race at the Nurburgring. The entire team is looking forward to this. We want to show the locals just where we are in the DTM. Our target is to finish in the points with the year old cars. Anything is possible with our two divers."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Nurburgring is a home race for me. I was born only 20 kilometres away. We want to take the momentum we had at Zandvoort to the Nurburgring. We hope to score points there also."