With the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters heading to the North Sea coastline for its penultimate trip outside of Germany this year, the challenges that will be presented at Circuit Park Zandvoort is something that will be relished by the Audi Sport contingent.
At the moment, four of the drivers representing Ingolstadt are in the top six of the overall standings, with Team Abt Sportsline’s Mattias Ekström leading rookie René Rast by just a single point.
Ekström, who is dovetailing his DTM duties with his participation in the FIA World RallyCross championship as defending champion and EKS team boss, has won at the 4.307-km circuit four times over his career.
“Zandvoort is absolutely cool,” said the Swede, whose consistency has seen him at the top of the drivers’ standings without a single win.
“The new tarmac is supposed to make for a high grip level. If you believe the crystal ball this should be an advantage for our rivals. Nonetheless, I will try hard to secure good grid positions.”
Rast made his DTM début last year at the Dutch circuit, having to stand in for an injured Adrien Tambay, but is excited at the prospect of a track that does not leave much margin for error.
“It’s a real race track for men. Tight run-off areas, a lot of fast corners. That’s exactly what racing drivers really like,” said the 30-year-old, who has won twice this season, as well as securing points in six of the ten qualifying sessions.
“We’ll have to wait and see if and how the new tarmac will impact the performance of the tires,” admitted Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass, whose outfit is currently leading the way in all three title fights.
“Zandvoort has always been a tire-killing track, but in the past we coped well with that. The track should suit us. But the DTM is unpredictable. I expect that we’ll be seeing two very spectacular races.”