Thursday, August 27, 2015

DTM: Audi faces ‘heavy’ task in Russia

Audi Press Release

Audi driver Mattias Ekström is aiming for the top step of the podium in the DTM races at Moscow: With a victory at the Red Bull Ring, the Swede had taken the lead in the Championship at the end of July. Now, the Russian round of the internationally popular touring car racing series is on the agenda.
In the DTM’s Russian premiere at Moscow Raceway, the Swede, in second place, completed a commanding Audi one-two win in the 2013 season. Last year, Ekström was on podium again at Moscow, having advanced to third place after starting from position eleven on the grid. “So, actually, the only thing that’s still missing is a victory,” the leader of the DTM standings feels – knowing full well that this will be no mean feat because the Audi RS 5 DTM cars, following their success at Spielberg, will be the heaviest cars in the field yet again this season.

Mattias Ekström is expecting to have chances at the 3.931-kilometer Moscow Raceway in spite of the high weight. “I had the heaviest car in the field at Spielberg too and actually shouldn’t have been able to win there,” he says. “We simply need to do the best job again. In that case, anything’s possible. Every point counts. This year, the title will be clinched by the driver that manages to score good results even with a lot of weight.”

“This will be a really tough nut to crack,” Dieter Gass believes. The Head of DTM at Audi Sport was absent due to illness most recently at Spielberg and is returning to the command post in Russia. “We’ve won at Moscow Raceway before but experienced a pretty difficult race last year. Our aim is another victory.”

Two other Audi drivers – Edoardo Mortara (Italy) and Jamie Green (Great Britain) – are in the top four of the drivers’ classification, which gives them good prospects in the battle for the title. Mortara clinched 40 of 50 possible points at Spielberg and would like to continue his performance at Moscow Raceway. Green most recently went home without points five consecutive times and is set on finally ending his string of misfortune.

Between Spielberg and Moscow, the activities of the three candidates for the title differed a lot from each other. Mattias Ekström competed in two rounds of the World Rallycross Championship in Canada and Norway with his own team. Edoardo Mortara had the opportunity to ride on a Red Bull stunt plane in Austria which meant fulfilling a dream of his. Jamie Green honed his German language skills in an intensive course at the Audi Academy in Ingolstadt.

Next weekend, they will meet again in Moscow. While the drivers will be conveniently traveling by air, the trucks of the teams had to cover the near-2,500-kilometer distance as a convoy – which put an extreme strain on the people and equipment as some of the roads were rough to travel on.

Moscow Raceway is about an hour and a half’s drive from Moscow’s city center. A long straight before the start and finish on which the drivers reach speeds of more than 240 km/h before braking is one of the special characteristics of the track. This is where most of the overtaking maneuvers normally take place.

Photo credit: Audi Media