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Ekström delighted with Hockenheim pole

“I couldn’t have wished for a better start into the new DTM.” Those are the words of Swede Mattias Ekström after taking his 19th career pole position at the Hockenheimring on Saturday.

Ekström ensured that the new Audi A5 DTM made a perfect start to the new Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season with a strong effort in qualifying around the 4.5km Hockenheimring GP circuit. The double champion improved his times progressively through qualifying, improving from 11th in Q1 to 3rd in Q2, 2nd in Q3 and then eventually pole position in Q4.

“The first pole position for the A5 DTM on its debut – that’s simply superb,” added Ekström. “Audi Sport has built a fantastic car. We worked hard and did our homework – that paid off today. This pole belongs to everyone in Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. The warmer it became the less grip the track had. That was incredible fun for me. The fact that it was so warm today suited me well.

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“Being on pole in the new DTM was the best that could happen to us. We hadn’t been expecting summer weather at the season opener. It was warm today and that suited us well. We worked hard and did our homework – that paid off today. The season is just beginning. But it’s great to start this way.”

Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich expressed his delight at seeing the ‘new’ DTM finally in action. However he also admitted that staying in front will be tough, especially considering that the top three positions were filled by three different manufacturers for the first time since 2005.

“A brilliant start into the new DTM season with three premium manufacturers and new regulations,” said Ullrich. “All who were working on making this series reality have done a very good job. That we are in front is wonderful and the best way of saying ‘thank you’ to the whole Audi squad. Pole is certainly not a disadvantage but it’ll be a tough race.

“All three manufacturers are on an equal footing right from the beginning, only the details are decisive. This is exactly what the fans want.”

The first DTM race of 2012 takes place tomorrow (Sunday 29th April) at 1400 CET.

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