Audi can make DTM history

On October 25th the Hockenheimring will be the venue of the title decision in the DTM for the third time in a row. And for the third consecutive time, Audi can secure the prestigious title – a feat no automobile manufacturer has ever achieved in the most popular international touring car racing series.

In 2007, Mattias Ekström kept Mercedes driver Bruno Spengler at bay at Hockenheim. Last year, Timo Scheider kept his cool and did not give Paul Di Resta a chance. Both times, Audi had come to Hockenheim with an advantage of just two points. In 2009, the cushion is clearly bigger: Timo Scheider has 56 points to his credit; his immediate rival Gary Paffett has seven points less. Ten points will still be awarded at Hockenheim.

Consequently, the starting base before the finale is relatively simple: Paffett has to win or finish second in order to thwart Audi’s plans. If the Briton should win, Scheider needs to finish fifth to successfully defend the title. If Paffett finishes as the runner-up, the Audi driver has to at least take seventh place. In any other constellation, the new and old champion will be Timo Scheider.

The statistics speak in favor of the 30-year-old as well: Since Audi’s return to the DTM with a "factory" commitment, no driver has managed beating the leader of the standings in the title decision at Hockenheim, and the most recent Hockenheim track record of the Audi brand is impressive too: Four times in a row, the car starting from the pole position at the German Grand Prix circuit in the most recent races was an Audi A4. Audi decided the last three DTM races at the Hockenheimring in its favor. And at the season opener in May 2009, the brand with the four rings even clinched a one-two-three-four victory. The best Mercedes saw the checkered flag more than 20 seconds later.

In addition, as a result of the way the season has gone so far, the 2009-spec Audi A4 DTM cars can start from the grid with five kilograms less weight than at the first race in May while the current cars of their rivals will start with five more kilograms.

Nevertheless, everyone in the Audi squad realizes that the title has not been secured yet by any means. For one, after two defeats, the opponent will leave no stone unturned to clinch the championship after all. For the other, the 2009 season showed more than once that in the DTM anything is possible and even a lead of seven points is no guarantee.

Consequently, the squad around Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich will not rely on Timo Scheider scoring the required points. It will try and clinch a one-two win and lock in the championship that way.

The title decision somewhat overshadows Tom Kristensen’s last race in the DTM. The 42-year-old – and thus oldest – driver in the DTM field plans to fully concentrate on racing sports cars for Audi and will contest his last DTM race at Hockenheim. By clinching victory in the season opener at the same venue he proved that he is still capable of winning races in the DTM. And Kristensen would love to say goodbye to his fans in the DTM with a victory as well.

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