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Audi prepared for new season

Photo by Audi AGAudi Sport will head to the Hockenheimring next weekend for the first round of the 2013 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season, with Team Abt Sportsline driver Mattias Ekström describing it as being likely to be ‘one of the most thrilling races’ in his DTM career.

A number of new innovations are being introduced to the DTM this season. A drag reduction system (DRS) is being introduced to facilitate overtaking in a similar way to the Formula 1 World Championship.

In addition the drivers will have to use the new soft tyre provided by Hankook during a race, allowing for an additional strategic element.

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All of these new variables will have to be taken in by the teams over a much shorter race weekend – with Friday running now cancelled drivers will have just one 90-minute free practice session on Saturday morning.

“Hockenheim will be one of the most thrilling races in my DTM career. I can’t remember ever having been so excited,” said former double champion Ekström. “The further development of the cars, DRS, option tires – there are many unknown factors. Last year, the season, with a pole position at Hockenheim, started very well for me. Of course it would be great to make such a start again.”

Joining the Audi squad from Mercedes-Benz is Brit Jamie Green. The eight-time winner started his career at the three-pointed star in 2005.

“For me, the race at Hockenheim not only is a great challenge but the beginning of a new chapter in my life,” said Green. “A red-silver race suit, a car in Red Bull colors and plenty of rings – everything has been very exciting for me since I switched to Audi. The first race will be the pinnacle of this stage so far. I’m very much looking forward to it and am eager to see where we stand.”

Audi’s new Head of DTM, Dieter Gass, brings a refreshed feel to the whole Audi Sport camp in 2013 – the manufacturer will be hoping for a strong start to their campaign after being outclassed by BMW and Mercedes-Benz throughout 2012.

“The first run at Hockenheim is new territory for me but I know that I’ve got a strong squad backing me that, like me, is tackling the job highly motivated,” said Gass. “The season opener will be interesting because even after the track tests in the past few weeks we can’t assess exactly where we stand. In the few areas permitted by the regulations, we worked extremely hard at Audi Sport in the winter. Now, we’re jointly going to do everything within our means to ensure that the work we’ve invested will pay off and that we’ll be able to battle with our competitors on an equal footing again.”

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