DTM

Zandvoort: Audi race report

Another Audi one-two-three-four win at Zandvoort Ingolstadt/Zandvoort -- Audi showed a dominant performance at the sixth DTM round at Zandvoort and, like last year, celebrated a one-two-three-four victory in the Netherlands. It was the new Audi...

Another Audi one-two-three-four win at Zandvoort

Ingolstadt/Zandvoort -- Audi showed a dominant performance at the sixth DTM round at Zandvoort and, like last year, celebrated a one-two-three-four victory in the Netherlands. It was the new Audi A4 DTM's best result so far and Audi's 45th victory in the DTM. One day before his 30th birthday, title defender Mattias Ekstrom celebrated his second exploit of the season, after winning the season opener at Hockenheim. Following the twelfth DTM triumph of his career, the two-time champion is now the best Audi driver in DTM history.

Mattias Ekstrom had prepared the ground for his victory the day before: by clinching his dominant tenth pole, he had secured the top grid position, which he perfectly converted into the lead in the race straight at the start. During the two pit stops the Swede -- with his Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline -- defended his lead as well, ahead of his team colleague Timo Scheider, who had started the race from position two on the grid.

Towards the end of the round staged on the North Sea coast Timo Scheider increasingly made up ground, but Ekstrom clinched his second win of the season with a 0.270-second advantage over his team-mate. Scheider extended his lead in the standings from one to five points. He is followed in the championship by Mattias Ekstrom, who bumped Mercedes driver Jamie Green from second place.

Tom Kristensen, who had started from position three, drove the fastest race lap of 1m 33.729s in the first third of the race, thus beating the previous track record in a race by one second. In the end, the Dane completed the podium, which he mounted for as much as the third time this season. Like at the Hockenheim season opener, the podium at the season's midpoint event was occupied strictly by Audi drivers.

When the lights went off Martin Tomczyk overtook the two Mercedes drivers, Jamie Green and Bruno Spengler, who had started in front of him and ultimately completed the Audi quartet of front runners. For the new Audi A4 DTM, this marked the maximum achievable result after the brand with the Four Rings had previously dominated all sessions at Zandvoort.

The place of the best driver of a year-old car was secured by Markus Winkelhock after a nail-biting fight with team-mate Mike Rockenfeller and DTM record champion Bernd Schneider in the final phase of the race. Winkelhock was the best driver of a year-old Audi A4 DTM for the third time, and as the best driver of a 2006-spec car occupies ninth place in the standings. Mike Rockenfeller, who had previously been defending the place of the best driver of a used car for a long time, ultimately clinched tenth place.

The seventh of eleven rounds in the DTM season is coming up two weeks from now at the Nurburgring. There, Audi was victorious last year with Martin Tomczyk.

Quotes after the race

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "I'm very happy. We occupied the four top places with the new Audi A4 DTM. We showed a convincing performance and scored a maximum of points. We've got the one-two lead of the championship. That's a good base, because we know that some difficult races are coming up. We need a good starting base, and we were able to create it here."

Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #1): "That was great. It was my third victory on this circuit. And it was one of the races we really had to win. It's good to be among the front of the field halfway through the championship. As the runner-up in the standings I'm now five points behind the front runner and am looking forward to the next race already."

Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #10): "That was a sensational weekend for all of us. If anything at all, I'd have perhaps wished for a different strategy. Mattias pitted in front of me twice. That was clearly an advantage. So I finished in second place in the end. Although I was able to put some pressure on Mattias there was no chance to get even closer to him due to the corners at Zandvoort. In the end, it was a fantastic result because after 38 laps I was two tenths behind Mattias. Congratulations to Audi on this one-two-three-four victory."

Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM #9): "A perfect result for Audi. From grid position three, I made a good start, as did my team-mates in front of me and Tomczyk, who was following me. 'Eki' and Timo were incredibly fast. I stabilised this gap in the middle section of the race. I also managed the fastest race lap. Third place is part of a perfect result for Audi. I can be happy with that."

Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #2): "A fantastic exploit for Audi. There's hardly a better way to demonstrate one's performance capabilities than by repeating last year's one-two-three-four victory. I had an awesome start and got on the heels of my three team-mates. But I wasn't able to overtake because we were all driving at the same speed."

Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19): "A tough race. You had to really watch your tyres and use them carefully. At the start I gained one position, but in the second turn someone hit my rear and I lost two places again. On the penultimate lap I benefited from 'Rocky's' duel against Bernd Schneider."

Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #18): "At the start I improved from tenth to eighth place. I was able to keep it almost up to race end, although the first stop wasn't exactly perfect. Towards the end I really had to fight hard to keep Bernd Schneider behind me. Unfortunately, in the process, I didn't get the car into second gear while downshifting in a corner and that caused me to get off the line. Bernd pulled up alongside me and ultimately passed me. Of course, Markus benefited from this manoeuvre. For me, it's disappointing to finish out of the points after having fought for eighth place throughout the race."

Katherine Legge (Audi A4 DTM #20): "After the start my car got damaged and was hard to drive afterwards. In the end, I was forced to retire. That's really too bad because I think I could have achieved a pretty good result here."

Oliver Jarvis (Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM #15): "I had a bad start. The two stops then were perfect on the team's part. Unfortunately, after returning to the track I was slowed by another car both times. In the end, I was forced to retire because of a gearbox problem. What we take with us from here is a strong qualifying result. We want to build on that next time."

Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM #14): "This was definitely not the race I'd been hoping for. I did want to score a few points. But my car was really not easy to drive today. Too bad I had to retire. But this was the first time since the race at the EuroSpeedway in 2007 that something like this has happened to me. Now I've got my sights set on the next round where I want clinch points again."

Christijan Albers (Audi A4 DTM #21): "At first, my start wasn't all that bad but then I was pushed to the dirty side of the track and that caused me to lose a few places. Later, in the duel with Susie Stoddart, I suddenly moved only straight in turn 5. I don't know if there was body contact or any other reason for this. We now need to analyse this."

Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "We're overwhelmed. Like last year, Audi captured the top four positions. My boys did a superb job and didn't make even the slightest mistake. We moved up in the championship and are looking forward to the next race."

Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "A great fight with 'Rocky', Markus (Winkelhock) and Bernd Schneider. Of course it would have been nice to have kept both cars in front of Bernd. But, congratulations to my squad. We put both drivers into the top ten and Markus scored points. We'll be happy to return to Zandvoort. Congratulations to Audi as well on this one-two-three-four win."

Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "So far, we've always clinched good results at Zandvoort. This time we were hit by a double dose of misfortune: both cars retired from the race. Now we need to analyse the weekend and then go to the Nurburgring with renewed energy."

-credit: audi

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Tom Kristensen , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Christijan Albers , Timo Scheider , Mattias Ekström , Katherine Legge , Bruno Spengler , Alexandre Prémat , Mike Rockenfeller , Oliver Jarvis , Markus Winkelhock , Hans-Jurgen Abt , Jamie Green
Teams Team Abt , Phoenix Racing , Audi Sport Team Rosberg