Audi’s Mattias Ekström, who took victory at the Norisring on his 35th birthday, enojyed a “thriller” of a race after beating Mercedes’ Robert Wickens to victory in Nürnberg from ninth on the grid.
Swede Ekström scored his first victory since Spain in 2011 to take victory by 2.646 seconds after a race-long strategy gamble paid off. The win was also the first for Audi at its ‘home’ race at the Norisring since Laurent Aïello scored a win in an independent Abt-Audi in 2002.
“Having a birthday on race day isn’t always bad,” said a delighted Ekström after his win. “I enjoyed the race, it was really a thriller. In the middle of the fight with Edo (Mortara) it was all about perfection. He was driving really well but I could see that he was starting to have problems with the brakes. As my brakes were good, I went flat-out because the others behind me were catching up.”
The win, the 18th of Ekström’s DTM career, was also his first on the streets of the Norisring, despite the Swede having notched up 128 race starts since he joined the German series for the 2001 season. “Winning at the Norisring is the best thing you can achieve in your career,” added Ekström.
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ulrich praised long-time Audi driver Ekström, adding that the Swede was the perfect man to deliver the long-awaited result for the Ingolstadt-based manufacturer.
“Ever since we returned to the DTM with a factory-backed commitment in 2004 we’ve been waiting for this moment,” said Ulrich. “A victory at the Norisring in front of this fantastic crowd, such a large number of Audi fans and our employees is simply a very special one.
“I’m particularly pleased about Mattias of all drivers having been the one to clinch this long-awaited success for Audi because in all the years here at the Norisring he was strong and often came very close to winning. Now it finally happened and, to top it off, it happened on his birthday.”
Ekström’s victory moves him up to fifth in the championship, 24 points adrift of leader and fellow Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller.