With Mercedes-AMG DTM being the dominant force around the 2.3-km Norisring circuit, Audi Sport is looking to usurp the Stuttgart manufacturer’s success run at in Nuremberg, which has stood for the last 14 seasons.
Despite Mattias Ekström’s win in 2013 being voided after a parc fermé infraction by the Swede’s father, the two-time champion has unfinished business.
“It continues to be the race I’d tremendously love to win,” says the Team Abt Sportsline driver, who has had five third place finishes over his lengthy career in the DTM.
“I even saw the checkered flag in first place once, but wasn’t allowed to keep the trophy. This year, I’ll try to take the big trophy home once more. However, it’s going to be a close race again.”
Team Rosberg’s Jamie Green has deservedly earned his place as ‘Mr. Norisring” around this particular track, which according to him, gives all the Audi drivers “goosebumps,” and it isn’t just about the atmosphere.
“When it comes to riveting racing and gripping overtaking manoeuvres, the Norisring is the best race track of all,” explained the Leicester driver, stating that DRS will have an even bigger impact this weekend.
“Racing on this circuit is primarily about braking, slow turns and driving with low downforce in ways we don’t normally see in the DTM. Because there are only straights and extremely slow corners you can get closer to the car in front of you at the Norisring. As a result, the duels are closer and more thrilling than they are on any other DTM race track.”
Qualifying at the Norisring have been the closest of all tracks that the series currently visits, as the entire field was split by just 0.625 seconds last year.
Ingolstadt’s Head of DTM, Dieter Gass, was quick to point out that the way that the DTM has progressed has shown an increased closeness between all drivers. This has been proven through the forward progress all three brands have made, despite the uniformity in some of the standardised regulations.
“This year, the DTM field is even closer together and the results are unpredictable. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the whole field within half a second this time. Obviously, at the Norisring the brakes and brake cooling have to be right on the mark – plus, top speed.”
It’s all to play for at the Norisring, as the pure race pace of the RS5 DTM will play a crucial role in this weekend’s action, with the hope that the Ingolstadt ranks will return to winning ways by the Dutzendteich for the first time since Laurent Aiello back in 2012.