Mike Rockenfeller has added another win to his impressive resume. In 2007 Rockenfeller became a factory Audi driver in the DTM. He joined the Audi Sport Team Rosberg. In his debut year, he would finish 12th. He would go on to place as high as 4th in the Championships in 2009. His only two podium spots would be in 2007 and 2010 claiming third in both.
With an outstanding performance, “Rocky” can now add a win to the list. Testing showed he had the speed at Zandvoort and he carried that over into qualifying.
With a great start, Rockenfeller was able to jump in front of second place Jamie Green. He would then pit on lap 11 before Spengler (lap 13) but remained in second.
Spengler would then pit on lap 23 and come out ahead of Green.
Rockenfeller hit his second pitstop on lap 24, however tensions rises as his pit takes longer than normal. Oddly, he comes out ahead of Spengler for first place.
From this point on, Rockenfeller led the remaining 17 laps unchallenged and a clear 1.4 seconds over Spengler. Even with no points scored at Hockenheim, Rockenfeller now sits in second on the board.
Mike Rockenfeller (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A4 DTM #9):
“The race was simply perfect. After the warm-up I didn’t even expect this. But my engineer and my mechanics turned exactly the right screws for the race. The car was exactly the way I wanted it to be – simply fantastic. The foundation was laid by passing a Mercedes right at the start. Plus the early first stop: It gave me enough room to Bruno (Spengler). Afterward, I was able to control the race. I almost feel like a big load has been taken off my chest. It took a long time before I was finally able to sit in an A-car. After a good qualifying session but a poor race at Hockenheim this was exactly the right answer. The ten points are important. And then we’ll try and be even stronger from the outset in Austria.”
A great motorsport weekend for Audi: A few hours after a 1-2-3-4 success of the Audi R8 LMS at the ADAC GT Masters at the Sachsenring Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller clinched the first victory of the 2011 DTM season at Zandvoort (the Netherlands) for Audi.
For Audi this marked the fifth exploit at Zandvoort since the brand’s return to the DTM with a “factory” commitment in 2004, for Mike Rockenfeller its was the first ever triumph in the most popular international touring car racing series. The 2010 Le Mans winner laid the foundation for his win by making a perfect start which allowed him to push himself between Bruno Spengler and Jamie Green. By making an early first pit stop “Rocky” managed to overtake Spengler as well. He then managed to gain a lead of up to three seconds in a perfectly setup A4 DTM of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline and to control the pace at the front of the field.
“I feel relieved,” commented the 27-year-old. “The race at Hockenheim was frustrating. But we found the problem and did a perfect job of converting our findings into a success here. My thanks go to my team and to Audi. Both stops and the strategy were fantastic and my car was really fast. In the end I was even able to play it safe.”
With Martin Tomczyk from Audi Sport Team Phoenix finishing in third place, two Audi drivers mounted the podium at Zandvoort. The by far fastest driver of a year-old car lost some time at his first pit stop but then made up ground again and bumped Jamie Green from third place in a remarkable maneuver seven laps before the finish. “My car had been superbly prepared and was incredibly quick,” said Tomczyk. “At times I almost felt like I was in a different league. It’s nice to be among the front runners and in contention for the championship with a 2008-spec car.” The Audi racer even closed the gap to the leader of the standings, Bruno Spengler, on the penultimate lap but was unable to overtake him.
Timo Scheider in fifth place scored valuable points. The current Formula 3 Champion Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) on position six finished in the points as early as at his second DTM race and was thus the best DTM rookie in the field.
A remarkable performance was also shown by Mattias Ekström. After a disappointing qualifying session the Swede pushed forward to eighth place from position 16 on the grid and, as a result, scored one point. Oliver Jarvis completed the top ten.
Miguel Molina and Rahel Frey finished the race on positions 15 and 17. Filipe Albuquerque slipped into the gravel trap in the notorious Tarzanbocht at the start and subsequently had to park his Audi A4 DTM with a damaged radiator.
“Despite the fact that qualifying wasn’t optimal we knew that our performance is good,” commented Head of Audi Motors Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “We were optimistic that we’d even be able to win from the second row of the grid. On the whole, our cars were very quick today – thanks to the great job and hard work done by the whole squad. ‘Rocky’ drove a commanding race. Martin (Tomczyk) attacked superbly. To ‘Edo’ I take my hat off. He clinched points as early as at his second DTM race. And we did a good job of moving ‘Eki’ forward too. It was a fantastic performance overall!”
- Audi Motorsport