The Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) heads to Austria’s faced Red Bull Ring this weekend for races nine and ten of the season, with Dieter Gass’ Audi Sport outfit looking to get back to the front of the grid.
After what was a difficult weekend at Zandvoort almost a fortnight ago with BMW’s historic success by the North Sea, Gass is hoping for better results for all eight drivers in Styria, as Jamie Green currently leads the standings by five points ahead of both Mattias Ekström and Pascal Wehrlein.
“This time, the weight differences will be a little smaller than most recently at Zandvoort, but the BMW race cars, on average, are still about ten kilograms lighter than our cars,” he explained, saying that BMW’s advantage will be approximately two tenths a lap around the 4.326-km track.
Ekström himself, who now considers this round as his “home” race, he’ll be looking to add to a drought at the Red Bull Ring, where he has yet to take to the podium.
“For our partner Red Bull, it would obviously be great if I could take the lead at the Red Bull Ring of all places,” explained the two-time champion, whose RS5 DTM will be sporting its usual livery this weekend. “I live in Austria now and, aside from the races, have visited many other events at the Red Bull Ring.”
Current points leader Green was on course to take a welcome win last year in Spielberg, before the Brit fell foul of the regulations by pitting a lap too late. This is especially the case, as Audi has showed its strength in terms of one-lap pace, with 2013 champion, Team Phoenix’s Mike Rockenfeller holding the current lap record of 1:25.266.
““That was obviously frustrating,” said the Monaco-based driver, who has three race victories to his credit so far. “But it showed me that we can be fast at the Red Bull Ring. However, I’ve stopped making predictions – that’s just not possible in the DTM.”
One man from Audi’s ranks that has been able to make it to the podium is Italy’s Edoardo Mortara, who won in Spielberg back in 2012. The Team Abt driver is currently fourth, but with the unpredictability that rules in DTM this year, anything could happen: “One victory and I’m back in contention.”