AUDI pulls out of DTM race at Barcelona . . . during the race!UPDATE The title decision in the 2007 DTM will only be made in the finale at Hockenheim on the 14th of October. 42,000 spectators at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona (Spain) witnessed an excessively rough race today in which one Audi driver after another was bumped off the track by Mercedes drivers – among them all four drivers of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline including the two candidates for the title, Mattias Ekström (Sweden) and Martin Tomczyk (Germany). When the situation threatened to escalate, Audi decided to withdraw all seven Audi A4 DTM cars that were still in the race.
From the start, the quickest in qualifying, Martin Tomczyk, had taken the lead before being bumped off the track on lap seven by the two-time Formula World Champion Mika Häkkinen. After the incident, Tomczyk was at first able to continue the race in eleventh place but later had to retire because the radiator of his Audi A4 DTM was damaged in the collision.
Leader of the standings Mattias Ekström had advanced from tenth to sixth place after the start and was very quick after an early first tire change. While overtaking Daniel la Rosa, who had not pitted yet, he was hit hard by the Mercedes driver. This meant the end of the race for the Swede as well.
Previously, on the starting lap, Tom Kristensen had been turned around by Mercedes driver Gary Paffett. When Timo Scheider and Mike Rockenfeller, who was running in third position, also were pushed off the track by Mercedes drivers, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich – after consultation with the Chairman of the Board of AUDI AG, Rupert Stadler – decided to withdraw all seven Audi cars remaining in the race to send a clear message in favour of fair racing.
"What happened on the race track today was simply unacceptable," stated Rupert Stadler, who witnessed the race live at the team garage of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. "We’re proceeding from the assumption that emotions will cool down again before the Hockenheim race and that spectators will see a finale with fair sport. It’s also clear that we continue to be committed to the DTM. But a few things will probably have to change."
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "We wanted to see a tough, but fair touring car race today. But we had to get the impression that the Mercedes drivers used every opportunity to eliminate our cars. This is not the style in which we want to conduct motorsport. We want to see tough and fair duels but nothing of the kind we had today. That’s why we took the decision to withdraw all of our vehicles. That was not an easy decision, and it cost us points, and maybe even the title. But we wanted to send a clear message for fair motorsport." Audi PR
09/23/07 An extraordinary move was made on the 49th lap of today's Barcelona DTM race by Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (pictured right), head of AUDI Motorsport when he called in all remaining AUDI A4's on the track and withdraw them from the race on the spot after both Mathias Ekstrom and Martin Tomczyk, both in the Red Bull backed works Audi’s were knocked out of the race by rival Mercedes-Benz drivers Mika Hakkinen and Daniel la Rosa respectively!
After 7 laps Hakkinen made a very optimistic move on the leading car of Martin Tomczyk and damaged both his own car which he had to park in the pits subsequently. Martin could continue but had to bring in his car after 34 laps. His teammate Mathias Ekstrom, who was leading the race at that moment, was overtaking Daniel la Rosa on lap 13, when La Rosa was barely hit by the AUDI driver and somehow saw a red mist in front of him and decided to 'torpedo' Ekstrom going in the following corner .... with both cars ending up in the gravel.
When Tomczyk eventually came into the pits with an overheating AUDI A4 (damage from the earlier hit from Hakkinen), he was furious and stormed to Dr, Ullrich, the AUDI team manager. A few laps later all Audi’s pulled into the pitlane and drove straight into their respective pit boxes ... The doors were then closed by the mechanics!
The race was won by Brit Jamie Green in a ...Mercedes-Benz. This was his first race win in a DTM car and comes three years after clinching the F3 Euroseries title in 2004. 2nd was Canadian Bruno Spengler and 3rd Scot Paul di Resta.
The last round will take place in 3 weeks at the Hockenheim circuit in Germany.
Pos Driver Car Time/Behind 1. Jamie Green Mercedes 1h08:21.523 2. Bruno Spengler Mercedes + 11.549 3. Paul Di Resta Mercedes + 14.639 4. A.Margaritis Mercedes + 46.539 5. Gary Paffett Mercedes + 49.596 6. Mathias Lauda Mercedes + 50.501 7. M.Rockenfeller Audi + 9 laps 8. Lucas Luhr Audi + 9 laps 9. Tom Kristensen Audi + 9 laps 10. Alexandre Premat Audi + 10 laps 11. Christian Abt Audi + 10 laps 12. M.Winkelhock Audi + 11 laps 13. Vanina Ickx Audi + 11 laps
Driver Car Laps Timo Scheider Audi 36 Martin Tomczyk Audi 34 Bernd Schneider Mercedes 15 Mattias Ekstrom Audi 13 Daniel La Rosa Mercedes 12 Mika Hakkinen Mercedes 7 Susie Stoddart Mercedes 1
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