Having finished as the runner-up in both of the first two races, Audi had a better start into the new DTM season than in the past two years. Yet second places are not the declared goal of the Audi squad, which for the next race on 21 May has formulated the result it is shooting for in no uncertain terms: Oschersleben is to bring the Audi A4 DTM’s first victory of the season.
Appearing practically predestined for this result is Tom Kristensen. The Le Mans record winner suffered a misfortune twice in qualifying but shone both at Hockenheim and the EuroSpeedway with enormous speed and a flawless performance in the race. And the 3.667-kilometre circuit at Oschersleben suits the Dane from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline like no other: in 2004, this was where Kristensen celebrated his first and so far only victory in a DTM race. Last year he captured first place on the starting grid with a dominant lead, stalled at the start, yet fought his way back towards the front of the field from position 19 to fifth place.
Now the seasoned driver, who calls Oschersleben his “home game” in jest because of its “proximity” to Denmark, is eager to finally add the second victory to his DTM track record and, better yet, become the leader of the standings – not an unrealistic goal, considering his merely four-point gap to the front runner, Bernd Schneider.
Kristensen, however, not only has to stand his ground against the fierce competition from the Mercedes camp. His team-mates, too, want to shine at Oschersleben. Mattias Ekström, who drove his first race in an Audi A4 quattro for Team Abt Sportsline at Oschersleben in 1999, is in urgent need of an exploit after two unfortunate retirements. Heinz-Harald Frentzen wants to make up for the set-back at the EuroSpeedway and continue the trend marked by his third place at Hockenheim. And Martin Tomczyk, like Kristensen, is considered an Oschersleben specialist, as well: in two consecutive events the youngster started from the first row there, in 2004 even from the pole position. In the race, then, he merely had to admit a narrow defeat to Tom Kristensen.
The four drivers of the 2005-spec A4 cars entered by Audi Sport Teams Phoenix and Rosberg, as well, figure that they have good chances. And Vanina Ickx may look forward to Oschersleben, too. In the past, the circuit full of turns near Magdeburg suited her 2004-spec A4 DTM entered now by the private team Futurecom TME particularly well.
For Audi fans, there is another good reason to come to Oschersleben on 21 May: Shortly before the start of the race on Sunday, Audi factory driver Marco Werner will take the Audi R10 TDI out on the track – to complete the first public laps of the revolutionary Audi diesel sports prototype in Europe.