Tuesday, September 6, 2011

DTM: One-two-three victory for Audi at Brands Hatch

. Tuesday, September 6, 2011

With a 1-2-3 result, Audi absolutely dominated Sunday's DTM race at Brands Hatch. Taking first place was Martin Tomczyk, who now counts three wins for the season and recaptures the DTM points lead. Following Tomczyk was Mattias Ekström in second and Edoardo Mortara in third. Also, this marks the first time that drivers from all three Audi teams have reached the podium in the same race. Full report after the jump.

Ingolstadt/Brands Hatch, September 4, 2011 – With his third victory of the season Martin Tomczyk recaptured the DTM lead for Audi at Brands Hatch (Great Britain). Mattias Ekström and Edoardo Mortara completed an Audi one-two-three triumph in extremely difficult conditions. For the first time drivers from all three Audi teams were on the podium.

After two days of summer-like weather rain set in just before the start of the race on Sunday. Since the DTM had never before raced at Brands Hatch on a wet track the teams and drivers were faced with a tricky task, which the Audi squad handled perfectly. From the beginning the Audi drivers set the pace. The previous front runner, Bruno Spengler (Mercedes), was almost 40 seconds behind when he crossed the finish line.

At the start the quickest in qualifying, Mike Rockenfeller, initially took the lead, followed by Mattias Ekström, who overtook ex DTM champion Gary Paffett in the notorious "Paddock Hill Bend” on the outside of the wet track. As early as on lap two Martin Tomczyk and Edoardo Mortara managed to outwit Paffett as well – which meant that four Audi A4 DTM cars were running in the top four places.

On the first few laps Martin Tomczyk in the Audi A4 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix was the fastest driver in the field. The German who lives in Switzerland overtook Mattias Ekström and Mike Rockenfeller and was running at the front of the field from the eleventh lap on. Aside from a small slip on lap 22 Tomczyk was controlling the pace throughout, securely brought his third win of the season home and also set the fastest race lap.

"I’m overjoyed, the whole weekend was perfect,” said Tomczyk. "It wasn’t easy because the rain was not consistently heavy throughout the race and the rain tires didn’t have very much grip on the first laps. But my Audi A4 was sensational again today – it was fun to drive. I want to thank my team for a great set-up and a perfect strategy.”

Nürburgring winner Mattias Ekström clinched second place for Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline and moved forward to third place in the standings. Edoardo Mortara from Audi Sport Team Rosberg finished third and thus achieved the first podium result in his DTM career. With a score of now 15 points the Italian who lives in Switzerland is by far the best rookie of the year.

Audi’s chances for a 1-2-3-4 result were thwarted by Ralf Schumacher: The former Formula 1 driver touched the rear of Mike Rockenfeller’s car and forced the quickest in qualifying into a spin. "I don’t understand that he didn’t receive a penalty for that,” complained "Rocky”, who dropped to sixth place and in the final phase kept Bruno Spengler at bay.

Oliver Jarvis was within a striking distance of the Canadian for almost the whole race. However, the Briton’s tires overheated on the final laps so that shortly before the finish he had to surrender his eighth place and the last point of the day to Jamie Green.

Filipe Albuquerque pushed forward from the last position on the grid to twelfth place. Timo Scheider was hit by a rival on the first lap and lost three laps in the pits. Rahel Frey drove consistently fast lap times in the difficult conditions. But a spin and an excursion into the gravel trap caused the Swiss to drop to the rear of the field. Miguel Molina was forced to retire due to a damaged suspension as a result of an accident in which he was not at fault.

"The whole squad did a tremendous job today and made exactly the right decisions for the wet race,” commented Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "That was no easy feat as the DTM has never raced in rain at Brands Hatch before. We clearly had an advantage in the race today. Our drivers did a great job and in the end racers from all our teams were on the podium – today we’ve got every reason to celebrate.”

For Audi this marked as much as the fifth victory, clinched at the seventh race. The next round will be held two weeks from now at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. Martin Tomczyk will travel to the venue with a one-point advantage over Bruno Spengler. Mattias Ekström, Timo Scheider and Mike Rockenfeller still have theoretical chances for the title as well.

Source: Audi Motorsport
Photos: Audi Motorsport and DTM Media