Wednesday, September 24, 2014

DTM: Eager anticipation of Audi drivers favorite track

Audi Press Release

  •          DTM to visit Zandvoort on the North Sea coast this weekend
  •          Many Audi drivers have special memories of the track
  •          Dieter Gass, Head of DTM: “Manufacturers’ title remains our goal”
Ingolstadt, September 22, 2014 – The battle for the prestigious title of the best manufacturer is intensifying. Before the penultimate round of the DTM at Zandvoort next weekend (September 27 to 28) Audi and BMW are separated by only 18 points. The advantage for the four rings: There is no other track of which the Audi drivers have as many fond memories as of the circuit located on the North Sea Coast about an hour’s drive from Amsterdam.

Two championship titles, seven race victories, 15 podium places, seven pole positions and five fastest race laps: Even the statistics show how comfortable the eight Audi drivers feel on the circuit at Zandvoort. They are determined to take advantage of all these positive memories in order to clinch the manufacturers’ title for their brand. Two races before the end of the season Audi is trailing BMW by a very narrow margin in the manufacturers’ standings.

Zandvoort is inseparably linked to the career of Mattias Ekström. Almost exactly twelve years ago the Swede, on September 29, 2002, in his second DTM year, clinched his first victory there, which meant the title win for his team-mate Laurent Aiello – marking the first of seven driver championship wins for Audi in the new DTM. The most recent title was won at Zandvoort as well. In 2013, Mike Rockenfeller sealed the deal early by finishing the race as the runner-up. Two years before, the German had celebrated his first ever DTM victory in the Netherlands.

Four times on pole but no victory scored to date: Timo Scheider has a very special relationship with Zandvoort. Particularly the 2003 race day is remembered by many motorsport fans as one of the most tragic moments in the new DTM. After starting from the pole position, Scheider commandingly led the race. Victory for the German, who at the time was still racing for another brand, seemed to be certain but then his team bungled the pit stop and the car was released on three wheels. Even today, Scheider has goose bumps when he talks about the encouraging applause by the crowd, and even by the mechanics in the pits of other manufacturers, while he was walking back to his team.

The 4.307-kilometer circuit has been on the race calendar every year since 2001 and in this season replaces the round in China that was cancelled. Zandvoort is regarded as one of the most challenging circuits in terms of driving skills due to its characteristics featuring crests, fast corners and several overtaking opportunities. Fine sand from the dunes often makes the tarmac alongside the racing line extremely slippery.

TV viewers can watch the DTM live: ‘Das Erste’ will be airing live coverage from Zandvoort on Saturday starting at 14.30 and on Sunday starting at 13.15 (CEST). Tickets for the entire 2014 DTM season can be purchased online at or telephonically on +49 841 89-47777.

Quotes by the officials

Dieter Gass (Head of DTM): “Zandvoort is a track that suited us really well in the past. We’re aiming to clinch the good team result we’d been wishing for at the Lausitzring and that certainly would have been possible following our good performance in qualifying. The title in the manufacturers’ classification remains our aim – that’s why bringing as many of our cars as possible into the points will be crucial.”

Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): “Our team and our drivers have many fond memories of Zandvoort. Mattias (Ekström) won at Zandvoort three times and clinched his first ever victory there as well. As a team we celebrated Laurent Aiello’s title in the championship at Zandvoort in 2002. The track suits us well and we’re going to do everything we can to attack in the manufacturers’ classification for Audi.”

Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): “Following a second and a third place in the past two races, the logical conclusion would be victory at Zandvoort. Both of our drivers love the track and our car is fast there – so all the prerequisites for winning the race exist.”

Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): 
“Zandvoort is a really beautiful circuit and very demanding. We’re looking forward to it and will leave no stone unturned so that our squad and our drivers will experience success.”

Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers

Mattias Ekström (36/S), Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM #7 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
• Has won the race at Zandvoort three times before
• Won for the first time in the DTM at Zandvoort in 2002
“It’s no secret that Zandvoort is one of my absolutely favorite tracks. I’ve won there three times and always enjoy traveling there. Not just because of my previous success but also because the track is simply great fun. My aim: I’ll take the qualifying performance from the Lausitzring and the performance from the previous races and combine them into a perfect weekend.”

Jamie Green (32/GB), Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM #21 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
• Started from the second row at the Lausitzring
• Is contesting his tenth DTM race at Zandvoort
“Zandvoort is a really cool track. Not as modern as many others, but with a lot of character. The fast corners are a real challenge for any race driver. I’m looking forward to them. If the weekend goes smoothly then by all means a place on the podium or perhaps even my first victory for Audi will finally be possible.”

Miguel Molina (25/E), Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM #8 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
• Is contesting his 50th DTM race at Zandvoort
• Made the second-fastest pit stop of the Audi drivers at the Lausitzring
“A good race track for Audi on which we’ve always been in contention for victory so far. It’s an old-school circuit that all the drivers – including me – are looking forward to.”

Edoardo Mortara (27/I), Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM #15 (Audi Sport Team Abt)

• Won the race at Zandvoort in 2012
• Drove the second-fastest race lap of all Audi drivers at the Lausitzring
“The weekend at Lausitz was disappointing for me, so it’s perfect that we’re racing again in just two weeks from now – and at Zandvoort of all places where I’ve won before. We’ve still got two more chances of scoring points and victories this year – and we’re going to use them.”

Nico Müller (22/CH), Audi Financial Services Audi RS 5 DTM #22 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
• Is contesting his first car race at Zandvoort
• Is the youngest member of Audi’s driver squad
“The next new track for me this year: I’m looking forward to it because all of my driver colleagues have only positive things to say about Zandvoort. I’d like to finally finish in the points again. The speed has long been right, so being able to convert it into results again is only a question of time.”

Mike Rockenfeller (30/D), Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM #1 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)

• Is driving his 80th DTM race at Zandvoort
• Secured his championship title early last year at Zandvoort
“My first DTM victory and my first title win last year: I’ve had many great moments at Zandvoort. It would be great if I could again achieve something special there this year. I really enjoy the track. Hopefully, we’re going to have good weather so that the fans in the dunes will have a nice weekend as well.”

Timo Scheider (35/D), AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM #2 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
• Celebrated his first podium finish in the 2014 season at Lausitz
• Set the fastest race lap in the process and made the quickest pit stop
“I’ve got a very special relationship with Zandvoort. I’ve clinched the majority of the pole positions in my career there but, at the same time, have some major unfinished business there because victory was within reach. This year would be a good time to finish this business. We’re going to take the positive energy from the podium at the Lausitzring with us to the North Sea coast.”

Adrien Tambay (23/F), Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM #16 (Audi Sport Team Abt) 
• Is in his third year of racing in the DTM
• Is sharing second place in the teams’ standings with Edoardo Mortara
“A nice and fast track which suits both Audi and me equally well. So it’s the perfect place for striking back after a fair to middling weekend.”

The Audi drivers in the 2014 DTM

Mattias Ekström (S): * July 14, 1978 in Falun (S); residence: Salenstein (CH); single (partner Heidi), one son (Mats); one daughter (Hanna); height: 1.83 m; weight: 79 kg; Audi driver since 1999; DTM races: 142; pole positions: 19; victories: 17; fastest laps: 13; points: 739; DTM titles: 2 (2004, 2007); best result DTM Zandvoort: 1 (2002, 2004, 2008)

Jamie Green (GB): 
* June 14, 1982 in Leicester (GB); residence: Monaco (MC); married to Ginny, two sons (Zachary and William); height: 1.78 m; weight: 70 kg; Audi driver since 2013; DTM races: 101; pole positions: 7; victories: 8; fastest laps: 13; points: 424.5; DTM titles: 0; best result DTM Zandvoort: 4

Miguel Molina (E): * February 17, 1989 in Barcelona (E); residence: Lloret de Mar (E); single; height: 1.75 m; weight: 64 kg; Audi driver since 2010; DTM races: 49; pole positions: 2; victories: 0 (best result: 2nd place); fastest laps: 3; points: 81; DTM titles: 0; best result DTM Zandvoort: 5

Edoardo Mortara (I): * Jan 12, 1987 in Geneva (CH); residence: Geneva (CH); married to Montserrat; height: 1.82 m; weight: 75 kg; Audi driver since 2011; DTM races: 38; pole positions: 1; victories: 2; fastest laps: 0; points: 162; DTM titles: 0; best result DTM Zandvoort: 1 (2012)

Nico Müller (CH): * Feb 25, 1992 in Thun (CH); residence: Blumenstein (CH); single (partner Lara); height: 1.85 m; weight: 73 kg; Audi driver since 2014; DTM races: 8; pole positions: 0; victories: 0; fastest laps: 1; points: 10; DTM titles: 0; best result DTM Zandvoort: –

Mike Rockenfeller (D): * Oct 31, 1983 in Neuwied (D); residence: Landschlacht (CH); married to Susanne; one son (Phil); height: 1.75 m; weight: 68 kg; Audi driver since 2007; DTM races: 79; pole positions: 3; victories: 3; fastest laps: 4; points: 355; DTM titles: 1 (2013); best result DTM Zandvoort: 1 (2011)

Timo Scheider (D):
 * Nov 10, 1978 in Lahnstein (D); residence: Lochau (A); single (partner Jessica), one son (Loris-Romeo); height: 1.78 m; weight: 72 kg; Audi driver since 2006; DTM races: 147; pole positions: 11; victories: 6; fastest laps: 10; points: 444; DTM titles: 2 (2008, 2009); best result DTM Zandvoort: 2

Adrien Tambay (F): * Feb 25, 1991 in Paris (F); residence: Lochau (A); single; height: 1.81 m; weight: 69 kg; Audi driver since 2012; DTM races: 28; pole positions: 1; victories: 0 (best result: 2nd place); fastest laps: 1; points: 94; DTM titles: 0; best result DTM Zandvoort: 5

DTM drivers’ standings after eight of ten rounds

1 Marco Wittmann (BMW) 128 points
2 Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz) 59 points
3 Mattias Ekström (Audi) 56 points
4 Edoardo Mortara (Audi) 56 points
5 Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) 54 points

6 Bruno Spengler (BMW) 42 points
7 Pascal Wehrlein (Mercedes-Benz) 40 points
8 Maxime Martin (BMW) 39 points
9 Augusto Farfus (BMW) 39 points
10 Robert Wickens (Mercedes-Benz) 37 points
11 Adrien Tambay (Audi) 36 points
12 Timo Scheider (Audi) 34 points

13 Timo Glock (BMW) 33 points
14 Miguel Molina (Audi) 28 points
15 Jamie Green (Audi) 28 points

16 Martin Tomczyk (BMW) 28 points
17 Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-Benz) 24 points
18 Daniel Juncadella (Mercedes-Benz) 22 points
19 Nico Müller (Audi) 10 points
20 Joey Hand (BMW) 7 points
21 António Félix da Costa (BMW) 4 points
22 Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz) 4 points

DTM manufacturers’ standings

1 BMW 320 points
2 Audi 302 points
3 Mercedes-Benz 186 points

DTM teams’ standings

1 BMW Team RMG 167 points
2 Audi Sport Team Abt 92 points
3 Audi Sport Team Phoenix 88 points
4 Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline 84 points

5 Original-Teile Mercedes AMG 83 points
6 BMW Team Schnitzer 70 points
7 BMW Team RBM 46 points
8 EURONICS/FREE MAN’S WORLD Mercedes AMG 41 points
9 gooix Mercedes AMG 40 points
10 Audi Sport Team Rosberg 38 points
11 BMW Team MTEK 37 points
12 Petronas AMG Mercedes 22 points

Audi statistics in the DTM (since 1990)

Champion’s titles: 9 (in 16 years)
Victories: 65 (in 216 races)
Pole positions: 72 (in 180 qualifying sessions)
Fastest laps: 62 (in 216 races)Podium positions: 219 (in 216 races)

All Zandvoort winners since 2001

2001 Uwe Alzen (Mercedes-Benz)
2002 Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi)
2003 Christijan Albers (Mercedes-Benz)
2004 Mattias Ekström (Audi)
2005 Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz)
2006 Tom Kristensen (Audi)
2007 Martin Tomczyk (Audi)
2008 Mattias Ekström (Audi)

2009 Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz)
2010 Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz)
2011 Mike Rockenfeller (Audi)
2012 Edoardo Mortara (Audi)

2013 Augusto Farfus (BMW)

2013 flashback: early title win for Mike Rockenfeller 

The preliminary decision was made on the starting lap, on which Mike Rockenfeller overtook the BMW of pole setter Marco Wittmann, advancing to the second place he needed to secure an early title win. After being able to attack the leading BMW of his title rival Augusto Farfus on option tires he concentrated on bringing home second place after switching to the harder standard tires – also with help by his brand colleague Timo Scheider, who let Rockenfeller pass following his second pit stop and subsequently gave him rear cover.

Track info

Track length: 4.307 km
Race distance: 44 laps = 189.508 km
DTM qualifying record on this track: Marco Wittmann (BMW), Sep 28, 2013, 1m 30.894s
DTM race record on this track: Marco Wittmann (BMW), Sep 29, 2013, 1m 32.296s
Pole position 2013: Marco Wittmann (BMW), 1m 30.894s
Fastest lap 2013: Marco Wittmann (BMW), 1m 32.296s (167.994 km/h)
Turnout 2013: 41,000
TV live rating 2013: 0.92 million / 8.1 % market share (source: ARD)

Adrien Tambay about Zandvoort: “In the Audi RS 5 DTM, the track at Zandvoort is really good fun. I suppose everyone knows the Tarzan Corner at the end of the start-finish straight. It’s cool too. But my favorite section is the fast downhill double right-hander at the other end of the track. This section is extremely fast, very bumpy. You drive at the limit and have adrenaline surges. I like that! The old, long track must have been similar. I’ve seen onboard footage from my father – very impressive, but dangerous too ...”

Timetable (CEST)

Saturday, September 27
08.45 – 09.45 Free practice
11.05 – 12.05 Free practice
14.45 – 15.35 Qualifying

Sunday, September 28
09.00 – 09.30 Pit stop practice
13.30 Race

TV schedule (‘Das Erste’ live)

Saturday, September 27
14.30 Qualifying

Sunday, September 28
13.15 Race

Photo credit: Audi Communications - Motorsport