Audi driver squad stronger than ever before Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich left the traditional Audi Winter Camp in Ofterschwang, Bavaria, at which the AUDI AG factory drivers prepared for a week together with their team bosses between 24 and 31 January for the 2009 motorsport season, extremely satisfied.
"As far as the team spirit and fitness are concerned we can safely say that we have the strongest driver and team line ups which you can imagine," summarized Dr Ullrich following an extremely pleasant eight day period spent together in the Allgäu region. "As always we were greeted by perfect conditions at the Sonnenalp and used these to prepare optimally for the special challenges we expect to face in this tough year 2009."
This consists specifically of the DTM title defense with the further developed Audi A4 DTM and the factory entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the new R15 TDI diesel powered sportscar. Several of the 13 Audi factory drivers are involved in both projects, for others there are more tests on the agenda than races in 2009.
For this reason, the subject "Team Building" was in sharper focus this year at the Winter Camp, which was formerly solely used for fitness training. "This time we integrated even more fun and games to bond the team even more," explained Audi Team Doctor Christian John, who expertly supervised the Winter Camp and also, like every year, put the Audi factory drivers’ fitness under the microscope. He was extremely satisfied with the results: "We’ve always had well trained drivers. However, they arrived here in even better condition this year. This means that their own preparation functions excellently. It is also very pleasing that none of the drivers are fading."
The varied program started every day for the Audi drivers at 7.30 a.m. with stretching and aqua power. Afterwards the schedule alternated between soothing massages and team games like water-basketball and indoor football with cross-country skiing, weight training, exercise to encourage coordination and training of the body parts like the neck muscles and the arms which are particularly stressed in motorsport.
The fitness of the drivers was also checked medically by Dr Christian John and his team. This included an ECG stress-test with lactate measurement and an examination of the trunk and neck and shoulder muscles, which must be especially well trained in a racing driver.
The crowning moment of the week in the Allgäu was a snowshoe tour to the summit of the Ofterschwang Horns.
There was also a special surprise for Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider: The 2007 and 2008 DTM Champions were allowed to head out on a dogsled tour – which was a great experience for dog lover Mattias Ekström.
Test drives are mainly on the program for the Audi drivers during the forthcoming weeks. The first race is the 12-hour race at Sebring (USA) on 21 March. The DTM season only begins on 17 May at the Hockenheimring.
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