|Two Audi Drivers On The Podium|
|Tom Kristensen Second After Fantastic Fight Back |
|Two Audi Drivers On The Podium |
At a thrilling opening to the DTM season in Hockenheim, 104,000 spectators were eyewitness to an excellent Audi team performance. The performances of both Tom Kristensen and Heinz-Harald Frentzen were particularly impressive: The pair carved their way through the field from grid positions nine and eight to clinch second and third at the chequer helped by a good strategy and perfect pit-stops. As a result, Frentzen claimed a podium position first time out in his first race with the Audi A4 DTM. With Martin Tomczyk, in seventh place, and Timo Scheider finishing eighth, two further Audi drivers scored points. Audi Sport Team Abt leads the teams’ championship.
Mattias Ekström, who jumped from sixth to third position at the start and who had eventual winner Bernd Schneider well in his sights after a quick opening pit-stop, was struck by bad luck when he was forced to retire his A4 with damage to the front right suspension. Christian Abt and Pierre Kaffer were also forced to retire. Frank Stippler lost his chance of points due to a problem during his second mandatory pit-stop. Olivier Tielemans and Vanina Ickx took the chequered flag in 13th and 15th position respectively on their DTM debuts.
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):
"That really was a nail-biting race. Bearing in mind the starting positions we can be extremely satisfied with the result. A second and third position for Tom (Kristensen) and Heinz-Harald (Frentzen) is an excellent team performance. We demonstrated just how much potential is in the Audi A4 DTM, and saw that cars from both manufacturers are almost as quick as each other. Strategy and pit-stops still play an important role alongside fast driving. Today we saw just how high the level is in the DTM. I’m already looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Siemens Audi A4 DTM #7
2nd, + 4.268s
"I’m obviously happy to have finished second after starting in ninth position. The team did a fantastic job in the pits and with the strategy. I drove absolutely on the limit. I edged closer and closer to Bernd and thought that I was in with a chance of winning. However, about eleven laps before the finish the steering wheel was suddenly skew after I’d driven over the kerbs on the corner exit. I didn’t risk anything after that kept well away from the outside kerbs. That’s why I’m happy that I finished second. My thanks go to the team that got me into this position today.”
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Veltins Audi A4 DTM #6
3rd, + 6.279s
"I’m really very satisfied. To be right at the front in the Championship from the word go is very important in the DTM. I knew just how good my A4 was and that I could translate this into results if everything fell into place. However, I was a little sceptical immediately after the start. I had huge understeer, couldn’t attack and had to be careful that I didn’t lose too many places. That’s why my crew called me in earlier. The balance was good again with new tyres. The strategy to take the second set of tyres early also paid off – even though Mika (Häkkinen) got very close right at the end.”
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