• Second half of the DTM season starts at the Nürburgring
• Martin Tomczyk and Timo Scheider are the best-placed Audi drivers
• “Home round” for Audi Sport Team Phoenix
Ingolstadt, July 29, 2011 - Only three points separate Audi driver Martin Tomczyk from the leader of the standings Bruno Spengler after the first half of the 2011 DTM season. And the tracks which the 29-year-old German is particularly looking forward to are just now coming up: Nürburgring, Brands Hatch, Oschersleben, Valencia and Hockenheim.
The 3629-kilometer circuit in the Eifel region suits Tomczyk particularly well. The native of Rosenheim, Bavaria, has won two of the last four DTM races on the "short" Nürburgring (2007 and 2009). And both triumphs turned out to be such commanding ones that Tomczyk has been nicknamed "King of the Short Circuit" ever since.
This year another factor comes into play: For Audi Sport Team Phoenix, for which Tomczyk has been competing since the beginning of the 2011 season, the race is a real "home Grand Prix" as Ernst Moser’s team is based not even three kilometers away from the track, in the industrial area of Meuspath.
It is not only the Phoenix squad that regards the beginning of the second half of the season on the first weekend in August as a "home round" though. Timo Scheider and Mike Rockenfeller from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline grew up near the tradition-steeped circuit as well. The same applies to Arno Zensen, the team director of Audi Sport Team Rosberg, which most recently, at the DTM show event in Munich, hit the headlines by winning day one and finishing day two in second place, both times with Edoardo Mortara.
At the show event between the concrete walls some of the Audi drivers deliberately took it easy on their race cars in order to be perfectly set for the second half of the season - first and foremost Martin Tomczyk, who has been contesting the best DTM season of his DTM career so far: Two victories, four podium places and a fifth place as the worst result of the first five races speak a clear language. The transfer to a two-year-old Audi A4 has long become a wild card for Tomczyk.
Timo Scheider as the second-best Audi driver in the standings, whose chances in the race for the title are certainly still intact, is also a German. The 2008 and 2009 champion has scored points in all five races so far. If he manages to improve his form in qualifying, then the driver who spearheads Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline will definitely be in contention. For Scheider, the race in the Eifel is primarily about not losing touch with the front runners in the standings.
The other Audi drivers are looking toward the second half of the season with confidence and impatience too. The last five races of the year are not only about achieving good positions in the current season but also about securing cockpits for the 2012 season when a third manufacturer - BMW - will enter the DTM and Audi will field the new A5 DTM that will be unveiled in early September at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt - which promises to make the remaining five races even more competitive and thrilling.
The first of the last five acts of the 2011 season will start on Sunday, August 7, at 2 p.m. ARD’s live broadcast from the Nürburgring on "Das Erste" starts at 1:45 p.m. (local time).
Other topics of the weekend
• Will Mike Rockenfeller be able to report back to the top group?
• Will Mattias Ekström shake off the streak of bad luck from the first half of the season?
• Will Rahel Frey clinch a respectable result on the track of her Formula 3 victory?
• Will Audi Sport Team Rosberg be able to continue the good performance shown in Munich?
• Will Miguel Molina finally clinch his overdue first point of the season?
Quotes by the officials
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):
"If you ask Martin (Tomczyk) what his favorite track is he’ll probably say it’s the Nürburgring. The circuit really suits him well. He has been driving a great championship so far. I’m hoping that he’ll arrive in the Eifel with this momentum and that when we leave he’ll still like the Nürburgring as much as he did on our arrival."
If you ask Martin (Tomczyk) what his favorite track is he’ll probably say it’s the Nürburgring
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline):
"The second half of the season starts at the Nürburgring. We’ll try and make up the gap to Mercedes. We’re within a striking distance and want to deliver a top performance. The Nürburgring is a good track for Audi. Let’s see if we’ll have that bit of luck we need in order to be at the very front again."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix):
"The whole squad is looking forward to our ‘home Grand Prix’ as we like to call it. After five races with this kind of performance we’re highly motivated to make such a showing again in front of our fans. With a three-point gap anything’s possible. Martin (Tomczyk) is incredibly fond of this circuit. With the package we’ve had so far, the motivation and this being one of his favorite tracks we’ll give all we’ve got and be very far at the front. Rahel Frey has already won at the Nürburgring in Formula 3. Her curve should - and has to - point further upward. She’s highly motivated and we’ll give her all the support she needs to make the next step."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg):
"The Nürburgring is my home race because I’m from the Eifel region. And Edo (Mortara) is on a roll: He scored his first points in the second race, drove a sensational race at the Norisring and then took overall victory on day one at the Olympiapark in Munich. If we can take this momentum with us, then I euphorically look forward to the second half of the season. Now we’ve just got to help Filipe (Albuquerque). I’m in good spirits."
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers
Filipe Albuquerque (26/P), TV Movie Audi A4 DTM #18 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
- Is driving at the Spa 24 Hours one week before the DTM Nürburgring
"For me the Nürburgring is the first regular track since the Lausitzring because it was followed by two unusual circuits, the Norisring city street race and the stadium race in Munich. My aim in my debut season is not to make the same mistake twice. Dr. Ullrich keeps advising us rookies to stay patient. Since we’re not driving any tests we’re only making progress on the race weekends. I noticed that I can still improve my braking in front of each turn. Fully using the potential of the carbon brakes of the Audi A4 DTM is one of the keys to success. I’m eager to see how well I’ll manage to do that at the Nürburgring. I really like this track."
Mattias Ekström (33/S), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #8 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
- Has already won a DTM race at the Nürburgring and started from the pole position last year
- Was leading the race at the Norisring some of the time but had to settle for seventh place
"I always have a good feeling about the Nürburgring and have also achieved many good results there. This year, our second half of the season starts at this track. I’ll try my best to start a good series of five races there so that my year will end on a positive note."
Rahel Frey (25/CH), Glamour Audi A4 DTM #15 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
- Wants to confirm her consistent performances in the second half of the season
- Has seen the checkered flag at each of her first five DTM rounds
"At the Nürburgring the second half of the season starts. So I want to experience what will hopefully be an equally good, or perhaps even better, half. It’s important for me to finish the remaining races. I want to set an upward trend in order to continue my development. Let’s see where we’ll end up then."
Oliver Jarvis (27/GB), Audi Sport performance cars A4 DTM #5 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
- Was sent into a spin most recently in the race at the Norisring
- Has already been on the podium once this year
"The Nürburgring is a nice race track even though my results there have never been outstanding. In the first half of the season we saw that a podium finish is possible. I want to make a good start into the second half of the year in order to clearly move up some more in the standings."
Miguel Molina (22/E), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #22 (Audi Sport Team Abt Junior)
- Wants to start scoring points in the Eifel
"I’m hoping for a good weekend. In my career the Nürburgring has always been a good race track. It’s about being relaxed, driving a good race and finally starting to score points."
Edoardo Mortara (24/I/F), Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
- With a fifth-place finish at the Norisring in extremely difficult conditions has clinched his best result of the season so far
- Most recently celebrated victory on Saturday at the show race in Munich
"After a nice weekend in Munich I’m now facing my next classification race. I want to take the good feelings from Munich with me and hope that everything will be going nicely. Normally, the circuit should suit Audi. I really know the track well. Last year I won in Formula 3 there, so we should be competitive."
Mike Rockenfeller (27/D), E-POSTBRIEF Audi A4 DTM #9 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
- Has his home round at the Nürburgring
- Wants to be on the podium again now after a victory in the first half of the season
"I like the track. The circuit in the Eifel is my home race. I’m from Neuwied, just about 50 kilometers away from the Nürburgring. Since our last classification race at the Norisring I’ve had a longer break on my calendar. At our show event that took place in Munich in the meantime no points were awarded as everyone knows. At the "ring" I want to be as far at the front of the field as possible. The first turn is always a challenge on this track. It’s very narrow and you’ve got to brake into it very late. On the rear part of the circuit the chicane is the biggest challenge. How much should you run the kerbs in order to be quick? I’m looking forward to the whole event because a lot of friends and acquaintances will probably come to visit."
Timo Scheider (32/D), AUTO TEST Audi A4 DTM #4 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
- Is still lacking a victory at his home round
- Was just one of four drivers this year to finish in the points each time
"I’m looking forward to my home track, the Nürburgring. Friends and acquaintances will be there. And maybe some more fans than usual. This makes for some extra motivation. I’ve got fond memories of my Nürburgring weekends. I clinched my first Formula 3 victory there and have achieved good DTM results. I’ve already won the 24-hour race there as well. So those are many positive memories of the Nordschleife and the Grand Prix circuit and that puts me in a positive mood about coming home again."
Martin Tomczyk (29/D), Schaeffler Audi A4 DTM #14 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
- As the runner-up in the standings with just a three-point gap is the best Audi driver
- Has celebrated two victories in the past four years at the Nürburgring
"The Nürburgring will be a really great event. Not only because my new team is at home here. I like the Nürburgring very much too. In the past few years I always really enjoyed driving there. So I’m really looking forward to the race and hope to be able to recapture the lead of the standings there."