The 2018 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season is fast approaching, with Audi Sport looking to defend all three titles that they secured at last year’s season finale at Hockenheim.
The entire Audi Sport squad, including the Formula E outfit run by Abt Sportsline, who continue in DTM, were recently at their annual training pre-season camp, with all six drivers and team bosses in attendance.
Following from Mattias Ekström’s decision to leave the DTM after a stellar 16-year career, his place at Abt Sportsline will be now occupied by rookie Robin Frijns, with the Dutchman partnering with Swiss ace Nico Müller at the Kempten-based outfit.
The rest of the Ingolstadt outfit will remain unchanged for the 2018 campaign, with defending champion René Rast still partnered with veteran Briton Jamie Green at Audi Sport Team Rosberg.
2013 champion Mike Rockenfeller will start his seventh season with Ernst Moser’s Team Phoenix, with Loïc Duval being retained for another season, ensuring consistency in Audi’s line-up.
“When you clinch all three DTM titles plus the top four spots in the drivers’ classification there’s really no reason to change everything,” explained Audi Head of Motorsport, Dieter Gass.
“That’s why our rookie, Robin Frijns, will take over Mattias Ekström’s cockpit at ABT. The two other driver pairings at Phoenix and Rosberg will remain unchanged. I’m convinced that we’re perfectly set this way for the title defence in the DTM.”
The first of the 2018 pre-season tests will take place at Italy’s Vallelunga circuit just north of the capital city, Rome, between March 1st and 3rd, with Green and Rast getting behind the wheel of the RS5 DTM.
All six Audi drivers will also be present at the final pre-season test, which will be held at Hockenheim from April 9th to 12th, with the season getting underway at the Baden-Württemberg just three weeks later.
2018 Audi Sport driver line-ups:
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline
#4 Robin Frijns (NL)
#51 Nico Müller (CH)
Audi Sport Team Phoenix
#77 Loïc Duval (F)
#99 Mike Rockenfeller (D)
Audi Sport Team Rosberg
#33* René Rast (D)
#53 Jamie Green (GB)