Audi are banking on the strong form they showed in the opening Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) race at the Hockenheimring this weekend, as the marque looks to end the season with the manufacturers’ title.
Adrien Tambay took the opening pole position of the season for Audi at the circuit back in May, before going on to finish third in the race, behind Abt Sportsline’s Mattias Ekström.
Audi hope that they can produce similar form this weekend, where they aim to secure the manufacturer’s title and deny BMW a clean sweep of the championship silverware this season.
“The victory at Zandvoort has given us additional tailwind for attacking again at Hockenheim,” said Audi’s Head of DTM Dieter Gass. “The title of the best manufacturer is our aim – we’re going to jointly battle for it. The pole position clinched by Adrien in the season opener at Hockenheim showed that our RS 5 DTM works well on this track.”
Audi are, however, 21 points adrift of rivals BMW in the championship chase. Lead driver Ekström is keen to continue his form, having taken Audi’s first win of the season last time out at Zandvoort.
“It was a great feeling to wake up as the winner on the morning after Zandvoort,” said the Swede. “I’d like to enjoy this moment again after the finale at Hockenheim. In second place, I had a good start of the season in May. Now I’d like to finish another place further at the front.”
Ekström’s Team Director Hans-Jürgen Abt adds that his team is not only thinking about the title for Audi, but also the runner up spot for Abt Sportsline behind BMW Team RMG in the teams’ classification.
“Mattias’ victory was a great relief for all of us, as well as great motivation for the finale,” said Abt. “It’s about the title of the best manufacturer, as well as the runner-up’s spot in the teams’ and drivers’ classifications. We’re determined to do our bit in this effort – preferably by clinching the next victory.”
Experienced campaigner Timo Scheider knows all too well the importance of heading into the winter on the back of a strong result in the season finale. The German stood on the podium in every finale between 2008 and 2010, including in his two title winning years in 2008 and 2009.
“We all know a good race, a good result or maybe even a victory makes life a lot more pleasant during the winter break,” said Scheider. “A podium position would already have been possible in the season opener. It shows us that our car is strong at Hockenheim. I’d like to show a strong weekend for Audi, for my team and for all the fans.”
Meanwhile, the poleman from that season opening event is keen to return to the circuit, having had a poor run of form in the past three races which have yielded no points.
“With the pole position and third place in the first race this was a bit of a dream start of the season for me,” said Tambay. “Consequently, I’m particularly eager to return to Hockenheim now after a long and exciting season.”
First practice takes place at 09:00 CEST on Saturday 18 October (08:00 BST).