Audi targets third successive Zandvoort win o Dutch DTM track suits Audi especially well o Four Zandvoort winners in the Audi driver squad o Championship leader Timo Scheider regarded as Zandvoort specialist Ingolstadt --...
Audi targets third successive Zandvoort win
o Dutch DTM track suits Audi especially well
o Four Zandvoort winners in the Audi driver squad
o Championship leader Timo Scheider regarded as Zandvoort specialist
Ingolstadt -- If there is one track on which Audi feels particularly at home then it is Zandvoort. Audi won three of the last four DTM races on the circuit around the sand dunes on the North Sea coast of Holland. Last year Audi even filled the top-four positions. The anticipation for the sixth race of the 2008 DTM season is correspondingly great in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm.
Three of the four Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline drivers have already won a DTM race in Zandvoort: Mattias Ekstrom celebrated his first DTM victory there in 2002. In 2004 he triumphed again on the way to clinching his first DTM title. In 2006 Tom Kristensen won and in 2007 the winner was Martin Tomczyk.
Only Timo Scheider has yet to mount the DTM podium in Zandvoort. The current championship leader is, however, regarded as a Zandvoort specialist: He has already claimed pole position twice on the extremely challenging circuit. Last year he dominated every practice session. For this reason, Scheider travels to the North Sea with a clear goal: He aims to increase his series lead by taking his maiden Zandvoort win.
The foundations are good: The new Audi A4 DTM, which started its 2008 campaign with a one-two-three in April at Hockenheim, should be able to exploit its technical advantages to the maximum around circuits with many corners -- and there are enough corners at Zandvoort. Additionally, the 2008 A4 will be lighter than the current Mercedes for the first time.
The drivers of last year's A4 also expect to have a much better chance in Zandvoort than last time out at the Norisring. Oliver Jarvis, Alexandre Premat, Mike Rockenfeller and Markus Winkelhock judge the Netherlands track to be one of their favourites.
Christijan Albers won the Zandvoort DTM race in 2003. However, with his two-year-old Audi A4 DTM he is considered an outside bet this time around; despite this, the Dutchman aims to shine in front of his local fans. Zandvoort is new terrain for his team mate Katherine Legge. She will certainly have one reason to celebrate on the North Sea: It is the Briton's birthday on qualifying day.
Due to TV coverage of the Tour de France the battle for pole position begins on Saturday at 5:43 p.m. local time, the race on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. local -- therefore an hour earlier than usual. ARD broadcasts qualifying and the race live on "Das Erste". Free practice is broadcast on www.dtm.tv in the internet. Highlights and background stories can be seen on www.audi.tv
Quotes before the race at the Zandvoort
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "The fact that Zandvoort has always suited our cars over the years and because of what we have seen over the course of the 2008 season to date, I'm very confident that we'll be able to deliver the goods at Zandvoort. We want to use this opportunity to score as many points as possible for Audi."
Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #1): "I'm looking forward to Zandvoort. I won my first DTM race there in 2002. I'll be 30 years old there on race day and will try to give myself a perfect present."
Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #2): "Zandvoort was always an excellent hunting ground for Audi. I've got fond memories of Zandvoort, especially as a result of the perfect team work last year. I hope that I can forget the misery of Norisring as quickly as possible and that things run better for me again in Zandvoort."
Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM #9): "Zandvoort is a wonderful race track located in beautiful surroundings which remind me a little of Denmark. Audi is traditionally very strong on twisty circuits, which is why I'm looking forward to driving our 2008 A4 there. As our car will also be a little lighter, I can see the chance that the podium will be full of Audi drivers."
Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #10): "I'm looking for the dunes in Zandvoort enormously. I still have a score to settle there, especially as I took pole-position twice already. After dominating every practice session last year, I want to go one better this time and win the race as well. Our A4 should be very strong in Zandvoort."
Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM #14): "It's very satisfying for me to come to Zandvoort again. It's as good as a home race for me. I love the circuit and the atmosphere. I won there in Formula 3 and almost won the DTM race there last year. I've purposely saved extra tyres for Zandvoort. I hope it pays off."
Oliver Jarvis (Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM #15): "I won the opening race of the A1GP season in Zandvoort last year and obviously have good memories. I can hardly wait to drive on a circuit that I know. I want to score big points!"
Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #18): "The circuit suits our car better than at the Norisring. I also like Zandvoort and I've always been quick there. Zandvoort is a real driver's circuit. It's always good to come to Zandvoort."
Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19): "I've always liked the Zandvoort circuit. I think that we'll also be okay with our year-old Audis, after all one did win there in 2007. We'll have a car with which we can score points."
Katherine Legge (Audi A4 DTM #20): "I only know Zandvoort from the television and have done a few laps on the computer. I'm already very intrigued to see it as I've heard that the circuit should suit our car better than the Norisring. It's always interesting to get to know a new circuit."
Christijan Albers (Audi A4 DTM #21): "It's always a great feeling to race in your home race. The public and the atmosphere at Zandvoort are fantastic. Hopefully the weather will also be good for the fans. It won't be easy for us with the 2006 cars, but we'll give the maximum to bring home a good result."
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "Zandvoort is one of the highlights on the calendar -- especially for Audi. Last year we even occupied the top four positions. We have an excellent base from which we expect to bring home a fantastic result. The season only really now begins for us. We are going to up the ante!"
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "Zandvoort suits us a lot better than the Norisring. Our drivers love Zandvoort and are looking forward to it. As a team we've always been able to get good results in Zandvoort. We aim to build on this. We can achieve a great deal in Zandvoort."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Zandvoort has always been good for surprises. The sand from the dunes blowing across the circuit constantly creates new track conditions. It is beautiful there. The track runs up and downhill. Zandvoort is a driver's circuit which we are looking forward to."
The schedule at Zandvoort
Friday, 11 July
09:00 -- 09:15 hrs Roll-out
10:15 -- 11:45 hrs Test 1
15:00 -- 16:30 hrs Test 2
Saturday, 12 July
11:10 -- 12:10 hrs Free Practice
17:46 -- 18:33 hrs Qualifying (live on "Das Erste" starting at 17:43)
Sunday, 13 July
10:50 -- 11:10 hrs Warm-up
13:03 hrs Race (live on "Das Erste" starting at 12:45)