Monday, May 24, 2010

Mattias Ekström Claims DTM Victory for Audi at Valencia

. Monday, May 24, 2010

It's not very often that a driver can call a race weekend "perfect." For Mattias Ekström however, this weekend's DTM race in Valencia, Spain was described as just that. Starting off by claiming the pole position during Saturday's qualifying, Ekström was then able to boast not only the fastest lap of the race but also a first place victory for Audi. All told, five of the eight top finishers were Audi A4 DTM cars. Making Audi the strongest manufacturer of the race.

"If you haven’t won for such a long time you can really feel how sweet victory is,” said Ekström after clinching his 14th win in the most popular international touring car racing series – and his first since the race at Le Mans in October 2008. "Today, everything worked perfectly. My thanks go to Audi and Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. The tires held up too. I was a little worried when I felt some vibrations – but that was just pick-up on the tires. The ten points for the championship really feel good.”

Overall, Audi Sport's technical setup was spot on. In addition to Ekström's good fortune, Martin Tomczyk was able to advance from position nine on the grid to second with two late pit stops. "The strategy was outstanding,” enthused the German who had suffered a puncture at the Hockenheim season opener while clearly leading the race. "The car was running like a charm. I was able to drive one fast lap after the other. After my second pit stop I was on the track behind ‘Eki’."

Tomczyk’s joy over a second place finish lasted only until about 7 p.m. though. One of the twelve tires used on his Audi A4 DTM was accidentally taken from a wrong lot which led to a disqualification in the evening due to a "formal mistake.”

"This did not give Martin any advantage but the rules prescribe an exclusion in this case,” explained Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "Principally, it was a great race for Audi – and we could have been very pleased with the original result. Our cars were very fast and our drivers strong. Overall, it was a strong team performance. ‘Eki,’ Oliver (Jarvis) and Martin (Tomczyk) determined the race. It could have been a 1-2-3 exploit for Audi. But the problem with the lack of fuel pressure with Oliver’s car, which we still need to analyze, and the mishap in Martin’s team prevented our possible one-two-three win.”

Audi's spectacular performance at Valencia was also celebrated by one special spectator. Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, the Chairman of the Management Board of the Volkswagen Group, showed his enthusiasm in the above photo.

Rounding out the other Audi drivers to finish in the points were Alexandre Prémat, Timo Scheider, Mike Rockenfeller and Miguel Molina taking places three, four, six and eight respectively. Mattias Ekström is now runner up in the driver standings with 13 points, only a three point gap to the new leader of the standings Bruno Spengler. The next DTM race will be held in two weeks at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz.

Source: Audi Motorsport