Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Audi clinches all DTM titles at Hockenheim finale

. Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sunday's race in Hockenheim marked the 2011 DTM season finale. And what a season it was. Audi can now officially boast not only Martin Tomczyk's championship driver's title but also a runner-up position for Mattias Ekström, a team championship title for Audi Sport Team ABT Sportsline and a "rookie of the year" nod for Edoardo Mortara. As Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich commented after the race, "you can’t really wish for more than this." Full report and photos after the jump.

Ingolstadt/Hockenheim, October 23, 2011 – It was a perfect 2011 DTM season for Audi: After Martin Tomczyk’s early win of the drivers title, the brand with the four rings at the Hockenheim finale in front of an impressive crowd of 120,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) secured the position of the runner-up in the championship and won the team classification as well. Edoardo Mortara had previously been determined as "Rookie of the year.”

"You can’t really wish for more than this,” commented Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich after the finish at the Hockenheimring. "It’s truly been a perfect year for Audi. And today we clinched everything we still had on our agenda: the runner-up’s slot for ‘Eki’ and the team classification win for Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline – my thanks go to everyone who has had a part in this great success for Audi.”

In its 84th and – for the time being – last DTM race the Audi A4 DTM made another strong showing. With Martin Tomczyk, Miguel Molina, Mike Rockenfeller, Mattias Ekström, Timo Scheider and Oliver Jarvis on positions two to four and six to eight, six Audi drivers scored points. In its career the A4 DTM, since 2004, has clinched five out of eight possible champion’s titles, 44 pole positions, 31 fastest laps and 34 race victories

The decision at the finale at Hockenheim was made as early as at the start which Mercedes driver Jamie Green decided in his favor, followed by a lonely race at the front of the field. Similarly solid were the runs of Audi drivers Martin Tomczyk (Audi Sport Team Phoenix) and Miguel Molina (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) that ended on positions two and three.

Martin Tomczyk crowned his brilliant season with another podium finish. At all ten races the new DTM Champion scored points and mounted the podium eight times. The 29-year-old, who did not finish any event this year in worse than fifth place, took three race victories.

"The finale here at Hockenheim in front of this fantastic crowd was brilliant too,” said Martin Tomczyk, after receiving the champion’s trophy on the podium. "My A4 was perfect and my team did another great job. I wasn’t able to completely keep up with Jamie’s (Green) pace but that was only secondary today.”

Another overjoyed driver was the Spaniard Miguel Molina who despite not having been able to take advantage of his pole position at the start in the end managed to celebrate third place and the first podium in his still young DTM career. "Being on podium at the last race of the Audi A4 DTM is really special,” says the 22-year-old. "I’m very happy – particularly because Audi has clinched all the titles. That’s fantastic.”

Miguel Molina is thus the eighth Audi driver to have mounted the DTM podium this year, which proves the performance strength of the 2011 driver line-up that gives Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich a perfect base for the 2012 season.

Mike Rockenfeller and Mattias Ekström on positions four and six at the finale secured the team classification for Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline that has won this title for the third time, after 2004 and 2007. Having started from position ten on the grid Mattias Ekström’s sixth-place finish sufficed to clinch the runner-up’s slot since the previous runner-up in ninth place scored no points.

"I’m even happier about the team classification than about finishing as the runner-up,” said Mattias Ekström. "The guys deserve this. And this year, including at this last race, we’ve learned a lot for 2012. I can hardly wait to drive the first race in the new Audi A5 DTM.”

At the end of their first DTM season the three rookies Filipe Albuquerque (tenth place), Edoardo Mortara (13th place) and Rahel Frey (16th place after jump starting) finished out of the points. Nevertheless, all three left a good impression in their first DTM year. Mortara had already secured the "Rookie of the year” title with a score of 21 points and ninth place in the standings before the final race.

Quotes after the race:

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport)
"Jamie Green was the quickest driver throughout the race today. But we achieved our aims here nonetheless. We won the team championship as well and clinched the runner-up’s slot in the championship with Mattias Ekström. It’s been a perfect DTM season for Audi with seven victories and the champion’s title for Martin (Tomczyk). And I don’t think that the DTM has often seen eight drivers from one marque mounting the podium in one year.”

Martin Tomczyk (Schaeffler Audi A4 DTM), 2nd place
"It was an outstanding race and a nice conclusion of the season, which I enjoyed very much. I wasn’t able to completely keep up with Jamie’s (Green) pace, but that was secondary today. It was great to finish the year on the podium and to start into the winter break this way. My thanks go to everyone in Audi Sport Team Phoenix and at Audi who has supported me. It’s been a brilliant season.”

Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM), 3rd place
"A tremendous race. Unfortunately, I made a small mistake at the start but then we had a good pace and were fighting for positions. It’s great to have mounted the podium in the last race of the Audi A4 DTM. I’m also happy about my pole position. We’d like to continue like this.”

Mike Rockenfeller (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A4 DTM), 4th place
"Obviously, I’d have preferred a podium finish after starting from position four. I had a good start. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a drop in brake performance. I tried to maintain my position. On the last set of tires we corrected the air pressure a little. That led to a slight improvement and I was able to enlarge the gap to Gary Paffett a bit. It was a little easier for me then but the front runners were out of my reach by that time. That’s a shame. On the other hand, we still clinched the team championship with Abt. So it ended on a relatively positive note after all.”

Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM), 6th place
"I’m very pleased. As far as performance goes, this has been my best season in the DTM. In the first half the results weren’t the way I’d have liked them to be, but the second half was very good. On the whole, I’m proud and happy. We made a lot of improvements in the Abt team and the people from Audi Sport worked hard as well. We’ve learned a lot for the coming season.”

Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi A4 DTM), 7th place
"I had a very good start and almost gained two positions. I’d have had to attack Mike (Rockenfeller) harder to move forward but with respect to the team championship I chose not to. During the first first stint Mike was relatively slow. The opposite was true for me: I was quick in the beginning and then a bit slower. I’d have wished for that to have been a bit different at the finale. But this picture fits the whole season, which is over now.”

Oliver Jarvis (Audi Sport performance cars A4 DTM), 8th place
"We had a good race and a strong pace. The start and the first lap were good. In the end I was slowed a bit behind Timo (Scheider). Unfortunately, we didn’t score a larger number of points.”

Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A4 DTM), 10th place
"I had a good start and a few battles in the first turns. Mattias Ekström overtook me. We had good pit stops and a fitting strategy. I was then faster than Spengler but didn’t get close enough to him to overtake him. I learned a lot this season. It’s a big difference between the first race at Hockenheim and the season finale here. But I still need to learn more.”

Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi A4 DTM), 13th place
"It was a difficult race and a pretty disappointing weekend for me. We need to analyze what went wrong here. But the most important thing this year was winning the rookie championship. This allowed us to show that we’re competitive. I’d like to thank Audi and my team for always having supported me in good as well as in hard times and for being at my side. Even though the result at the finale wasn’t so great, it’s been a good season. I’d like to continue that way in 2012.”

Rahel Frey (Glamour Audi A4 DTM), 16th place
"My start was bad and my nerves were shaking. The race had a weak beginning but a good ending. I’m quite pleased. The times were solid; we had two very good pit stops and finished the race without damage. For me it’s been a nice close of the season. My thanks go to all the people that have supported me this season.”

Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
"We achieved the aims we’d set ourselves at Hockenheim. We won the team title and Mattias Ekström’s position as the runner-up shows what kind of a recovery he delivered all the way up to the end. I can only thank the whole team for the good performances. I’m absolutely happy. The result shows that we’re well set for 2012. The whole team is very motivated after this season.”

Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
"A fantastic conclusion of the season! We scored points at ten races and achieved another podium at the finale after our early title win. It’s hard to beat such a string of successes. Again, many, many thanks from me to my team, to Martin (Tomczyk) and to Audi. And of course to all who had faith in us and are happy for us to have achieved this result. It’s a shame that Rahel (Frey) was a bit nervous at the start and was given a drive-through penalty for jump starting. Unfortunately, that way she deprived herself of some of the fruits of her learning this year.”

Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
"Well done to Audi. They won the championship with Team Phoenix and Martin Tomczyk. Abt took the runner-up’s slot in the championship with Mattias Ekström and won the team championship. We had the best rookies in team Rosberg. That’s a nice result. Mercedes won the last race. Today everyone can be happy in the paddock. Unfortunately, from our grid positions we couldn’t achieve more in the race – that’s a shame. Still, it’s been a good season. My thanks to everyone and congratulations to Audi!”

Source: Audi Motorsport
Photos: Audi Motorsport and DTM Media