Spielberg is calling - Audi will be there
With a market share of 5.5 percent (2010) Audi is the most successful premium brand in Austria. Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich was born in Vienna. The two-time DTM champion Timo Scheider lives in Austria. And in Red Bull Audi Sport has a strong Austrian partner. These are four good reasons for Audi to shine at the DTM’s grand Austrian comeback at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on June 5.
|Audi last year in Austria|
Mercedes-Benz driver Bruno Spengler is traveling to the Austrian province of Styria as the leader of the standings. But breathing down his neck are four Audi drivers, Mike Rockenfeller, Martin Tomczyk, Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider. Some of them have already contested several races at Spielberg before. During the tests on Thursday most of the other racers have to first get to know the track, which has been rebuilt in true-to-the-original fashion by energy drink manufacturer Red Bull after the dismantling of the former A1 Ring.
Zandvoort winner Mike Rockenfeller remembers the track from the Porsche Carrera Cup. Martin Tomczyk, Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider, in 2001, 2002 and 2003, were part of the field when the DTM paid three successful visits to Austria. The turbulent last lap in 2002 that went down as one of the craziest in DTM history remains unforgotten.
All three Audi factory drivers still have very fond memories of the spectacular races at Spielberg and the impressive crowd there. And on the first weekend in June DTM fans can again look forward to seeing an absolute highlight. The track layout has remained as impressive as it was before and the demand for tickets has been huge.
So, all of these aspects combined provide optimum prerequisites for a strong comeback of the most popular international touring car series in Austria. For Audi it will be the first Austrian race since the Supertouring car rounds at the Salzburgring held at the end of the 1990s. Accordingly, the Austrian Audi partners, who will support the Audi team at Spielberg, have keen interest in the event.
On TV the DTM races at Spielberg were always spectacular too. ARD will deliver the DTM live to living rooms in HD quality on "Das Erste." Qualifying coverage on Saturday (June 4) will start at 1:30 p.m., race coverage on Sunday (June 5) at 1:45 p.m. (local times).
Other topics of the weekend
• Who will be able to make the most of the test day on Thursday?
• How many spectators will turn out on the DTM’s return to Austria?
• After the modification, will the Red Bull Ring make for the same spectacular action which the DTM was known for at Spielberg?
• Will Mike Rockenfeller be even stronger after his victory?
• After Edoardo Mortara, will Filipe Albuquerque be able to grab points as well?
Quotes by the officials
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Everyone’s looking forward to the third round at the Red Bull Ring. The race track is really special and has always made for a good atmosphere. I’m convinced that we’ll experience that again. There will be a test day so we’ll be able to prepare a little for the track, which is equally important for everyone. The victory at Zandvoort has given the whole squad a good motivation boost. We all want to return from Austria with a good result."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "We’re very familiar with the Red Bull Ring. There’s a close association with the track through our sponsor. I’m very impressed with the fact that the track has been revived - thanks to Red Bull. Obviously, I’m hoping to see many of the ‘blue bulls’ at the front of the field. We’re particularly motivated after the great performance at Zandvoort. We’ve been doing a very good job lately and we want to continue to do that at Spielberg."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "Spielberg has always brought us good luck. That’s why we’re going there with high expectations. The track is almost identical to the previous one. The tarmac used to be very special there and handling it in the right way was the key to success. We’re feeling an upward trend at the moment. We want to take advantage of that. The test day will give us the opportunity to prepare even better. Therefore, I think that anything’s possible."
Arno Zensen (Teamchef Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "I look forward to the Red Bull Ring with particularly eager anticipation. That’s where my motorsport career started exactly 35 years ago. I’ve got very fond memories because I worked there as an instructor for over ten years. After the weekend at Zandvoort we’ve got a base we can build on. We’ve got a chance of finishing in the points with both cars. Both drivers have got the potential to do so. There’s still quite a bit in store."
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers
Filipe Albuquerque (25/P), TV Movie Audi A4 DTM #18 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
• Has never been to Spielberg before
• Returned from the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Navarra in the Audi R8 LMS with another trophy
"I don’t know the track yet but all of us will have an additional day to get to know it. So that shouldn’t be an issue. I’m taking something positive to the Red Bull Ring from Zandvoort: The pace is right. Our car is running well and I’m doing an increasingly better job of adapting my driving style to the DTM. As I’m gaining experience my confidence grows as well. I want to do everything right at the Red Bull Ring - and, most of all, score points there."
Mattias Ekström (32/S), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #8 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
• Started from the front row in Austria in 2002
• Improved by eight positions at Zandvoort
"We’re already looking forward to Spielberg. It’s a new race on the calendar on a track that’s been under construction since we last raced there. I’m eager to see all the things our friends from Red Bull have come up with. In the past, we saw one of the most spectacular races there. I’ll let myself be surprised."
Rahel Frey (25/CH), Glamour Audi A4 DTM #15 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
• Was happy about another race finish on her second DTM run
• Has to learn the Alpine circuit from scratch
"I’m incredibly excited after all the things we’ve heard about Spielberg so far. All the opinions are positive. The layout of the legendary track has been preserved. For me it’s a new track and thus a new challenge. I’m eager to see what it’ll be like. It’s said to be a fast track. The positive thing is that we’ll be able to test on Thursday. That’s great because every kilometer is important for us rookies."
Oliver Jarvis (27/GB), Audi Sport performance cars A4 DTM #5 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
• Has never started from the grid at Spielberg before
• Is shooting for his first finish in the points this season
"After Zandvoort I’d have loved starting into the next race just a day later. I can only look ahead and want to close the book on my poor start into the season. The positive thing about the last race was that without traffic we had a good pace in the last third of the race at Zandvoort. If we manage to understand what it was that didn’t work in qualifying we could be taking a good step forward."
Miguel Molina (22/E), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #22 (Audi Sport Team Abt Junior)
• Wants to start scoring points in Austria
• Looks forward to the home round of his sponsor Red Bull in Austria
"On the track of my sponsor Red Bull we’ll have an extra day of practice. That’ll make it possible for me to get to this track which I’ve never been to before. I’m sure that we’ll manage a good showing there. I’m an optimist. Good work is the prerequisite for good results. We showed that last year."
Edoardo Mortara (24/I/F), Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
• Scored three points at his second DTM race
• Wants to continue his good form on a track that is new for him
"I’m hoping that we’ll be able to continue our good performance at Spielberg. At Zandvoort we achieved a good result for the whole squad and that has strengthened our confidence. We’re quick, can finish in the points and may be able to improve further. We’ve got to continue doing such a good job and then we’ll be able to clinch such results as well."
Mike Rockenfeller (27/D), E-POSTBRIEF Audi A4 DTM #9 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
• Celebrated his first DTM victory at his second race for Abt
• As the runner-up, is currently the best Audi driver in the DTM standings
• Will travel directly from Spielberg to Le Mans
"I’m happy to be traveling to the Red Bull Ring with the Zandvoort victory in my pocket. I’m hoping that we’ll have a good car there from the outset - as we did at Zandvoort and Hockenheim. I’m confident. I remember the track from the Porsche Carrera Cup and liked it very much then. I think the track should suit me well."
Timo Scheider (32/D), AUTO TEST Audi A4 DTM #4 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
• Is one of just three Audi drivers who have previously been to Spielberg with the DTM
• As a German residing in Austria, will have a kind of home race
"I’m tremendously happy. For me it’s a semi-home race. Obviously, racing there with an Austrian license is a special thing. I’m hoping for a lot of support from the Austrian fans. We’ll see what we’ll be able to achieve there. Like at any other race, beating the others is the name of the game. That’s what I’m concentrating on."
Martin Tomczyk (29/D), Schaeffler Audi A4 DTM #14 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
• Was on the Zandvoort podium in third place
• With ten points to his credit, equals Mike Rockenfeller in the standings
• Wants to shine again for and at the home round of his personal sponsor Red Bull
"We’re racing on the new Red Bull Ring. It’s been eight years that I last drove there. It used to be a really nice race track. We can expect that again. The beautiful circuit is surrounded by great scenery. However, it will be new to all of us because the tarmac and the curbs will be new although the track’s layout has remained the same. How the relative strengths between Audi and Mercedes will pan out remains to be seen. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to continue our string of good races there."
The Audi drivers in the 2011 DTM
Filipe Albuquerque (P): * Jun 13, 1985 in Coimbra (P); residence: Coimbra (P) single; height: 1.74 m; weight: 64 kg; Audi driver since 2011; DTM races: 2; pole positions: 0; victories: 0 (best result: 17th place); fastest laps: 0; points: 0; DTM titles: 0; best result, DTM Red Bull Ring: -
Mattias Ekström (S): * Jul 14, 1978 in Falun (S); residence: Salenstein (CH); single (partner Heidi), one son (Mats); height: 1.83 m; weight: 77 kg; Audi driver since 1999; DTM races: 106 pole positions: 16; victories: 14; fastest laps: 11; points: 491; DTM titles: 2 (2004, 2007); best result, DTM Red Bull ring: 5
Rahel Frey (CH): * Feb 23, 1986 in Niederbipp (CH); residence: Aedermannsdorf (CH); single; height: 1.63 m; weight: 50 kg; Audi driver since 2011; DTM races: 2; pole positions: 0; victories: 0 (best result: 15th place) fastest laps: 0; points: 0; DTM titles: 0; best result, DTM Red Bull Ring: -
Oliver Jarvis (GB): * Jan 09, 1984 in Burwell (GB); residence: Ermatingen (CH); single; height: 1.80 m; weight: 70 kg; Audi driver since 2008; DTM races: 34; pole positions: 1; victories: 0 (best result: 2nd place); fastest laps: 0; points: 41; DTM titles: 0; best result, DTM Red Bull Ring: -
Miguel Molina (E): * Feb 17, 1989 in Girona (E); residence: Lloret de Mar (E); single; height: 1.75 m; weight: 62 kg; Audi driver since 2010; DTM races: 13; pole positions: 0; victories: 0 (best result: 4th place); fastest laps: 1; points: 15; DTM titles: 0; best result, DTM Red Bull Ring: -
Edoardo Mortara (I/F): * Jan 12, 1987 in Geneva (CH); residence: Geneva (CH); single; height: 1.82 m; weight: 75 kg; Audi driver since 2011; DTM races: 2; pole position: 0; victories: 0 (best result: 6th place); fastest laps: 0; points: 3; DTM titles: 0; best result, DTM Red Bull Ring: -
Mike Rockenfeller (D): * Oct 31, 1983 in Neuwied (D); residence: Altnau (CH); single; height: 1.75 m; weight: 67 kg; Audi driver since 2007; DTM races: 44; pole positions: 0; victories: 1; fastest laps: 2; points: 53; DTM titles: 0; best result, DTM Red Bull Ring: -
Timo Scheider (D): * Nov 11, 1978 in Lahnstein (D); residence: Lochau (A); single, (partner Jessica), one son (Loris); height: 1.78 m; weight: 74 kg; Audi driver since 2006; DTM races: 111; pole positions: 9; victories: 6; fastest laps: 6; points: 328; DTM titles: 2 (2008, 2009); best result, DTM Red Bull Ring: 8
Martin Tomczyk (D): * Dec 07, 1981 in Rosenheim (D); residence: Aesch/Basel (CH); single (partner Christina); height: 1.88 m; weight: 75 kg; Audi driver since 2001; DTM races: 105; pole positions: 7; victories: 4; fastest laps: 5; points: 259; DTM titles: 0; best result, DTM Red Bull Ring: 8
2011 DTM point standings
1 Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz) 18 points
2 Mike Rockenfeller (Audi A4 DTM) 10 points
3 Martin Tomczyk (Audi A4 DTM) 10 points
4 Mattias Ekström (Audi A4 DTM) 9 points
5 Timo Scheider (Audi A4 DTM) 9 points
6 Jamie Green (Mercedes-Benz) 7 points
7 Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes-Benz) 6 points
8 Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz) 3 points
9 Edoardo Mortara (Audi) 3 points
10 Maro Engel (Mercedes-Benz) 3 points
2011 DTM season interim statistics
Victories: Mercedes-Benz 1; Audi 1
Pole positions: Mercedes-Benz 2; Audi 0
Fastest laps: Mercedes-Benz 1; Audi 1
Leading laps: Mercedes-Benz 51; Audi 28
Audi DTM statistics
Pole positions: 58
Fastest laps: 48
Champion’s titles: 7 (1990, 1991, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009)
All Spielberg winners since 2001
2001 Bernd Schneider (Mercedes-Benz)
2002 Marcel Fässler (Mercedes-Benz)
2003 Marcel Fässler (Mercedes-Benz)
Track length: 4.326 km
Race distance: 38 laps = 164.388 km
DTM qualifying record on this track: Marcel Fässler (Mercedes-Benz), 1m 27.212s = 178.572 km/h (Sep 06, 2003)
DTM race record on this track: Bernd Schneider (Mercedes-Benz), 1m 27.226s = 178.543 km/h (Sep 07, 2003)
Pole position 2010: -
Fastest lap 2010: -
Turnout 2003: 60,000
Martin Tomczyk about the Red Bull Ring: "I’ve driven three times before at Spielberg. The track was very nice and also had a rural touch. I always felt comfortable there. It was a great circuit. Then there was a modification phase in which it wasn’t assured that the track would continue to exist. Fortunately, it’s back on the calendar. It’s nice to be returning there. The thing I’m looking forward to most is the demanding track characteristics. The differences in altitude were even very special in the past. It’ll be fantastic to drive through the first turn and then on the long straight to look up toward the second turn. There used to be a church behind that turn - I hope it’s still there. You could even see cows there. There were plenty of scenes for taking pictures. Driving through such picturesque scenery is huge fun."
One year before Audi’s return to the DTM with a factory commitment Team Abt Sportsline in 2003 represented the brand’s colors on a private basis. Laurent Aiello in fourth place achieved the best result of an Abt Audi TT-R driver at the A1-Ring then, followed by his team-mate Mattias Ekström, who had started from position seven. Martin Tomczyk took eighth place in the S line Audi Junior Team.
1 Marcel Fässler (Mercedes-Benz) 40 laps in 1h 02m 53.685s
2 Bernd Schneider (Mercedes-Benz) + 0.683s
3 Christijan Albers (Mercedes-Benz) + 5.835s
4 Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R) + 9.878s
5 Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R) + 23.820s
8 Martin Tomczyk (Abt-Audi TT-R) + 36.393s
13 Peter Terting (Abt-Audi TT-R) + 55.935s
16 Karl Wendlinger (Abt-Audi TT-R) + 1m 04.413s
Thursday, June 2
09:00-12:00 Test session 1
13:00-16:00 Test session 2
Friday, June 3
09:30-09:35 Starting practice
13:10-14:40 Free practice 1
14:40-14:45 Starting practice
Saturday, June 4
09:25-10:55 Free practice 2
Sunday, June 5
TV schedule (ARD live)
Saturday, June 4
Sunday, June 5