Zandvoort: Abt Sportsline preview

Abt Sportsline has the best of memories coming to Zandvoort The moments of September 29, 2002 remain unforgotten: in the parc fermé of Zandvoort, Laurent Aiello is climbing on the roof of his Abt-Audi TT-R, together with his team-mates, and ...

Abt Sportsline has the best of memories coming to Zandvoort

The moments of September 29, 2002 remain unforgotten: in the parc fermé of Zandvoort, Laurent Aiello is climbing on the roof of his Abt-Audi TT-R, together with his team-mates, and enjoys being celebrated as the new German touring car champion. Although the Frenchman had only finished sixth in the race, Mattias Ekström's maiden DTM-victory helped him securing the coveted title early. Now, the DTM-circus is heading towards the North Sea again for the penultimate round of the season. And once again, Abt Sportsline's goal is a race win.

Winning the title in the DTM was the biggest achievement in Abt Sportsline's corporate history so far. This year, the situation is different: admittedly, 20 points behind the points leader, Laurent Aiello still has theoretical chances of successfully defending his title. "Of course, we will be fighting all out as long as we still have the slightest chance", team director Hans-Jürgen Abt says. "But for us, it is more important to provide an exciting show and maybe the odd race win in the two remaining races."

Abt Sportsline almost has an immaculate record at Zandvoort: second place in the first appearance of the DTM in 2001 -- back then, Christian Abt was only three tenths of a second down at the finish line. One year later that dominant win by Mattias Ekström and, at the same time, the championship title for Laurent Aiello. "Of course, such memories are an additional motivation boost for the entire crew", Hans-Jürgen Abt says. "At that track, we are feeling somewhat like at home."

The lay-out for the ninth season round suits the strengths of the Abt-Audi TT-R. "On the long straights of the A1-Ring, a lot of top speed was needed. But Zandvoort has many medium-fast and fast corners that should suit our car very well", the team principal explains. Next to his "Zandvoort experts" Aiello, Abt and Ekström, the team director has another ace up his sleeve with Martin Tomczyk. The 21-year old from Rosenheim scored his first championship point of the season in Austria and wants to do better at Zandvoort. On top of that, youngster Peter Terting and stalwart Karl Wendlinger are always good for a surprise.

Quotes before the race

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

"For me and for the team, the race at Zandvoort will always be something very special. Last year, there were emotional moments that I will never forget: first catching up in the main race, cheering with my team-mates on the roof of the car and our instant title party. The only thing still missing for me is victory at Zandvoort, and this weekend, I will give everything to achieve that. My goal is a position among the top three of the championship. And the road there is clear: Abt Sportsline has to win the two remaining races."

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

"Finally, it's Zandvoort again! Two years ago, I only just missed victory there, last season it was all about helping Laurent (Aiello) in his fight for the title. This weekend, we want to score our second win. The track suits me very well, there are many tight corners and sections where you need courage, where the pressure is on the driver."

Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R #5):

"The track at Zandvoort is always a challenge, because the circuit is very slippery. I like that, because it allows you to play a little bit with the car. Last year, I won here and I promised myself that it wouldn't be that long before the next win. So it's about time this weekend at the latest. Unfortunately, I caught a flu after the last race, but I will be top fit again on Friday."

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

"I am looking forward to Zandvoort. Last weekend, we were at the IAA motor show in Frankfurt and there, we also felt the massive support from the fans. Even though things are not running as well for us this year as last season. Now, we want to reward them for this support in the two remaining races."

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

"The track at Zandvoort should suit us better than the A1-Ring. At the tight lay-out here, you need a perfect set-up of the Abt-Audi TT-R, and the driver is needed, too. At some parts, you just must keep the pedal to the floor in order to be quick. I hope that I have broken my duck with my first point in Austria and that I can continue from there at Zandvoort."

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

"At Zandvoort, the wind is playing a major role, I know that already from the ADAC VW Lupo Cup. Depending on the wind force, you get more or less sand blown from the dunes onto the track. This can cause the conditions to change significantly, sometimes within a few laps."


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