Zandvort: Audi Friday practice report

Audi in front in both DTM tests Mattias Ekström quickest of the day at Zandvoort Tom Kristensen clocks best time in the afternoon Christian Abt fastest driver of a 2004-spec car Two best times for last year's winner Audi marked the start to ...

Audi in front in both DTM tests
Mattias Ekström quickest of the day at Zandvoort
Tom Kristensen clocks best time in the afternoon
Christian Abt fastest driver of a 2004-spec car

Two best times for last year's winner Audi marked the start to the DTM event at Zandvoort, the Netherlands. In the first test on Friday morning, title defender Mattias Ekström in the Audi A4 DTM entered by Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline drove the fastest time, which was not equalled by anyone else in the second session either.

In the afternoon, at slightly higher temperatures and different grip conditions, Ekström's team-mate, Tom Kristensen, was the front runner. Altogether, the seven-time winner of Le Mans clocked the second-best time of the day.

Presenting themselves in top form yet again were last year's Audi A4 cars of Audi Sport Team Joest: DTM rookie Frank Stippler shone with third place in the morning. In the afternoon, Christian Abt - finishing sixth - was the best driver of a car from last year.

Once more it was obvious how extremely tight the DTM field is: in the afternoon, the quickest twelve came within half a second of each other on the demanding circuit in the dunes along the North Sea coast. The qualifying session on Saturday (broadcast live on ARD starting at 2 p.m. local time) therefore promises to be particularly thrilling.

Quotes after Friday's tests

Mattias Ekström:

"It was a good day. We tested some things which seemed to work quite well. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow when qualifying comes and we'll see how quick we can really be here."

Tom Kristensen:

"Friday we tried more different things on our A4 than usual. Zandvoort is a special track. To be happy everywhere on this circuit is a hard job. There is still some more work to be done. I'm happy to be fastest again like last year. But, this time, I wan to do the whole weekend better than last year."

Christian Abt:

"The track is constantly changing because of the sand. That's normal at Zandvoort. It was a bit annoying that there was water running across the track in the Tarzan corner during my fast lap in the afternoon. That caused me to lose a lot of time. But I'm looking forward to tomorrow because the car is running really well."

Frank Stippler:

"Things were going well today. I was among the top ten in both tests despite the fact that, unfortunately, Jamie Green, after returning from an excursion into the gravel, had put some dirt on the track before my fast lap. Today, I would have made it into the Super pole, perhaps we'll be able to 'nibble' on the top ten tomorrow as well. But in the DTM you never know..."

Martin Tomczyk:

"In the first test I had some problems. The second test started well after we had made a lot of changes on the car. Later, we tried something else that didn't work out as well as it should have. At least we now know what set-up we're going to use tomorrow. And I know exactly where I can grab a few more tenths. That's why I think we're well sorted for the qualifying."

Allan McNish:

"The circuit is very good, very fast and flowing, and it's got a lot of character. It's quite technical, as well, from a driver's, but definitely from the car's point of view. Today, we struggled mainly with the rear. There was too much oversteer. That's what we have to think about tonight."

Pierre Kaffer:

"Even though the result is similar as in the last few races, I'm quite satisfied. I know that I could have run quite a bit faster. Unfortunately, I spun on new tyres in my fast lap. But the potential is there, that's why I'm optimistic for tomorrow."

Rinaldo Capello:

"This morning, I was very happy with the car. Then, in the second session, it felt much more nervous than in the morning. With new tyres, I had too much understeer. And then there was suddenly water in corner 3. I'm still learning the track, which is really very nice. It reminds of some of the circuits in America."

Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline):

"As always on Friday, we collected a lot of data. We saw that we're among the front runners. Yet we also saw that the field, again, is very tight. Now, we have to make the best of it - this is a track where tenths count."

Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest):

"We completed our entire programme for today. We found a very good set-up, which suits all four of our drivers very well. Frank and Christian are very close to the top. If you see how tight the field is, anything's possible tomorrow - even with our cars from last year."

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):

"Everyone knows that the order on Friday is not important. What counts is that we have completed a good programme with all of our cars and should therefore be prepared pretty well for Saturday. Because of the rising temperatures, grip conditions did change quite a bit during the course of the day. We need to take our time analysing the data in order to be able to evaluate it as well."

Mattias Ekström
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline #1
1st place / 4th place, 1m 34.464s

Tom Kristensen
Audi Sport Team Abt #5
4th place / 1st place, 1m 34.539s

Christian Abt
Audi Sport Team Joest Racing #14
6th place / 6th place, 1m 34.749s

Frank Stippler
Audi Sport Team Joest #19
3rd place / 10th place, 1m 34.821s

Martin Tomczyk
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline #2
19th place / 12th place, 1m 35.026s

Allan McNish
Audi Sport Team Abt #6
5th place / 17th place, 1m 35.241s

Pierre Kaffer
Audi Sport Team Joest Racing #15
16th place / 18th place, 1m 35.406s

Rinaldo Capello
Audi Sport Team Joest #18
7th place / 19th place, 1m 35.456s


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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Allan McNish , Martin Tomczyk , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Pierre Kaffer , Frank Stippler , Hans-Jurgen Abt , Jamie Green , Ralf Juttner
Teams Audi Sport Team Joest , Team Abt