Oschersleben: Audi race report

"Rocky" clinches podium result for Audi 23-year-old racer shines in DTM round at Oschersleben Timo Scheider best driver of a 2007-spec car Mattias Ekstrom defends DTM lead 63,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) at the Motorsport Arena ...

"Rocky" clinches podium result for Audi

23-year-old racer shines in DTM round at Oschersleben
Timo Scheider best driver of a 2007-spec car
Mattias Ekstrom defends DTM lead

63,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) at the Motorsport Arena witnessed another turbulent DTM race and an impressive showing by Mike Rockenfeller: Audi's youngest factory driver - aged 23 - fought a thrilling duel with the two-time Formula 1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen, which he decided in his favour on the second last lap. Clinching third place after a fierce fight, "Rocky" managed to make it onto the podium in what was only his second DTM race so far. In addition, he claimed the best result for Audi Team Rosberg since the launch of the "new" DTM in 2000.

As early as at the start the Audi youngster caused a sensation when he outperformed Mika Hakkinen and entered turn 1 as the leading car. Up to his first pit stop on lap 13, "Rocky" in the S line Audi A4 DTM defended first place. During his first tyre change, the young German dropped behind Hakkinen. In the final phase, however, he put so much pressure on the Finn that Hakkinen ultimately made a mistake and Rockenfeller pushed past him in a spectacular manoeuvre.

An impressive race was also driven by Mattias Ekstrom. However, the Hockenheim winner received a drive-through penalty for a jump start. As a result of the penalty the Swede lost more than the 22.8 seconds he was lacking to surprise winner Gary Paffett at the finish line. With consistently fast lap times Ekstrom worked his way forwards from 20th to seventh place, thus scoring two valuable points and defending Audi's lead in the standings.

Best-placed driver of a 2007-spec DTM car was Timo Scheider, who saw the chequered flag at Oschersleben in fourth place, barely ahead of his team-mate Martin Tomczyk. Ranking third in the standings, Tomczyk now has the same number of points as his team-mate Mattias Ekstrom.

With Adam Carroll and Christian Abt in positions nine and ten, two other Audi drivers made it into the top ten. Lucas Luhr, Marco Werner and Frank Biela occupied positions twelve, 15 and 18, with Biela having to park his A4 DTM prematurely just before the finish due to an electrical problem. Vanina Ickx retired after a collision with Mercedes driver Jamie Green, who received a drive-through penalty for the incident.

Quotes after the race

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "This was a very unusual race, in which strategies were crucial. Also, a lot today depended on where you ended up in traffic after a pit stop. That Mike (Rockenfeller) dared the attack against Mika (Hakkinen) towards the end of the race proves the qualities he possesses. I'm proud of his performance, and he has every right to be proud of it himself, and I'm happy to have him with us. Congratulations to Mercedes - but we continue to lead the championship - and that's what counts!"

Mike Rockenfeller 3rd place: "I'm incredibly happy! This was only my second DTM race, and a lot of things are still new to me. Nevertheless, I made it onto the podium. I was determined to take the lead in the starting phase and it worked. The car was very good, I was running in front for a long time. When I was behind Mika (Hakkinen) I gave everything. It's difficult to be running so close behind a rival. I was a tiny bit faster and able to overtake him in the end - that was fantastic! The team performed two great pit stops. Whether the strategy was the best or not, I don't know. But we had decided it that way and were rewarded by a podium position."

Timo Scheider 4th place: "The start was 'so-so' because I was a little confused by Mattias' (Ekstrom) jump start. I was just about to drive off but that was the wrong moment. I had to push the clutch pedal again and, as a result, wasn't able to get away quickly. Gary Paffett managed a good start and passed me. Later, I was following Mike (Rockenfeller) and Mika (Hakkinen) for a long time. At some point, my tyres were ruined so that I had to let myself slow down a bit. Two small delays during the pit stops may have cost us a position. Well, these things happen."

Martin Tomczyk 5th place: "Unfortunately, the race wasn't going all that well. Like at Hockenheim, I had a very good start. I was between Jamie Green and Timo Scheider and had to make some room when Timo pulled over. When I lifted, I lost a few positions, and our strategy was not designed for this. We made the best of the situation anyhow. In the end, I was running behind Timo for a long time. Of course the tyres don't hold up to such a situation very long, but it lasted for 20 laps. Even though I would have liked scoring more points, I now have the same number of points as Mattias (Ekstrom)."

Mattias Ekstrom 7th place: "I was very confident. When I was engaging the clutch, the car just started moving. I just thought to myself: 'Oh no, that's not what you wanted!' I'll learn from this and won't take such a high risk again. The car was very good in the race. My mistake was a shame for the team, because with this car I could have won today. But I have to look ahead now. After all, I'm still leading the championship. Two points in a race like this are simply a bonus - and would not have been possible without such a great car."

Adam Carroll 9th plac: "Now I've seen the finish line for the first time in the DTM. It was a pretty tough race. The immense heat in the cockpit came as a surprise to me. The race was difficult because I had to run on one set of tyres for a long time. I gave one hundred percent. The result is good."

Christian Abt 10th place: "The start was great, and I was among the top six. Later I put myself at the service of the Audi brand and let Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekstrom pass. Of course that cost me time and, in the end, points too. The team did a good job. Thanks to the pit stops we were even able to make up ground. We would have liked scoring points today. Maybe we will next time."

Lucas Luhr 12th place: "That was a very turbulent race! Congratulations to Mike Rockenfeller and Team Rosberg. Third place is definitely a respectable result. Unfortunately I was caught in traffic all the time, and three or four times Paul di Resta bumped into my car that was a bit crooked afterwards. The times were okay. In traffic it simply wasn't possible to push forward."

Marco Werner 15th place: "In the end, things were going really well! If I'd had four such sets of tyres, meaning two more in practice, to put me further forward on the grid, I'd have been really happy and would have achieved a better position. My place is not satisfactory, but my lap times were okay when I was following the front runners. That's when I saw that things were working out. The tyres were a bit of gamble. That's too bad, but I'm not really unhappy either."

Frank Biela 18th place: "The race was fun, even knowing that you can't achieve a lot from this grid position. I learned a little more again today. The team did a perfect job. It's a shame that I wasn't able to drive all the way to the finish. It was fun, and I fought. And that's what I was able to do this weekend."

Vanina Ickx Retired (accident): "The start was okay, but I had to lift in order to keep from getting into a sandwich. After the first pit stops a few rivals were approaching me from behind, and I was in the middle of traffic. When Jamie Green sent me off the track, my race was over."

Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "It was a race that was thrilling for the spectators, but not a very fortunate one for us. Basically, the race ended for us with Mattias' (Ekstrom) jump start. We still made the best of the situation with places four, five and seven. Now we'll continue to fight. In the championship things are looking good for us. We're motivated for the next race."

Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "With Christian (Abt), we started from ninth place and finished in tenth. Of course that wasn't what we'd been wanting to achieve. Instead, we wanted to collect points, which would have been possible too. We stayed out too long on the first set of tyres. The next two sets were much better. With Christian, we could have achieved a result between sixth and eighth place. Marco (Werner) was getting along better with each lap and in the end kept the pace of the others. He has finished his break-in period and could now really be running at the front of the field."

Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "I'm speechless! This was the best result Team Rosberg has ever achieved in the DTM. The squad did an incredibly good job, and Rocky was superb. Thank you very much for this!"

-credit: audi

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Mika Hakkinen , Frank Biela , Vanina Ickx , Lucas Luhr , Martin Tomczyk , Timo Scheider , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Marco Werner , Adam Carroll , Gary Paffett , Paul di Resta , Mike Rockenfeller , Hans-Jurgen Abt , Jamie Green
Teams Team Abt , Phoenix Racing , Audi Sport Team Rosberg