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Audi complete last DTM test with ‘interim car’

Audi have completed their last test with an ‘interim car’ at the Algarve International Circuit ahead of the début of the new Audi RS5 DTM car in Geneva in March.

The manufacturer continued with the fine-tuning of its car in Portugal, focussing on the aerodynamics and technology systems, ahead of it submitting its final design on 1 March.

The new car will feature more power, more efficient Drag Reduction System (DRS) and softer tyres, along with a reduction in downforce, which are all planned to make the spectacle even better.

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“The tests at Portimão have confirmed that we’re heading in the right direction,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “The cars have a throatier sound and are faster. I feel that’s even visible on track.

“The biggest step, however, are the softer tires. Depending on how they’re used, the differences in lap times can be considerable. There’ll be many different strategic options – which will make things very interesting. The driver will be playing a greater part than before as well.”

The test saw four of Audi’s DTM drivers, Mattias Ekström, Jamie Green, Loïc Duval and René Rast, sample the car during the test. Seasoned campaigners Ekström and Green completed the bulk of the mileage, whilst relative newcomers Duval and Rast were able to acclimatise themselves with the DTM car.

“This worked out well,” said Duval. “It was a productive day for me and we covered every aspect of our program: qualifying, race distance and even a start practice unit. For the first time, I was also able to work with my new engineer, Mathieu Le Nail. As we all know, the interaction between the driver and the engineer is very important in the DTM.”

For Ekström, who will be entering his 17th season in the DTM this year, the test offered a chance to sample the new Hankook rubber for the first time.

“The new tires are a lot softer and degrade quickly,” added Ekström. “We burned plenty of rubber. After just one day, things around the track were looking pretty wild.

“I’m already dying to see 18 cars on track together for the first time at Hockenheim – they’re going to leave a lot of rubber on it.”

The first public test for the new Audi RS5 DTM will take place in Italy at the Vallelunga circuit on March 14 to 16, with the final pre-season test taking place at the Hockenheimring on April 3 to 6.

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