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- Audi drivers decide top four among themselves at DTM opener
- Pole position for updated Audi A4 DTM
- Eight Audi drivers among top ten
On Wednesday, Rupert Stadler was able to announce a clearly positive result for the first quarter of 2009 at the general meeting of AUDI AG. Only three days later, also the Audi motorsport squad demonstrated its strength yet again: At the DTM season opener at the Hockenheimring, the Audi drivers decided the first pole position of the year among themselves.
All drivers qualifying for the final session of the fastest four, which was introduced this year as an additional qualifying segment in the DTM, were Audi racers: Mattias Ekström (Sweden), Tom Kristensen (Denmark), Martin Tomczyk (Germany) and, in addition, the young Briton Oliver Jarvis in the best year-old A4. In the end, the fastest driver of the “Audi quattro pack” was the two-time DTM Champion Mattias Ekström, who before – in 1m 32.068s – had already set a new DTM track record.
“I knew that my boys had done a superb job in winter again,” said the Swede after clinching the twelfth pole position in his DTM career. “And the result today shows that the new Audi A4 is simply a good car. ‘Well done’ also to Tom (Kristensen) and Martin (Tomczyk) – and more so yet to Oliver (Jarvis), who made it into the final four in last year’s championship-winning car.”
For the evolution Audi A4 DTM bearing the internal model designation “R14 plus” at Audi Sport, this was a perfect maiden run: Although the 2009-spec A4 DTM have to be 20 kilograms heavier than last year’s vehicles all four new Audi cars will start from the first three rows of the grid on Sunday. Only title defender Timo Scheider, who came fifth, missed the leap into the top four by four thousandths of a second.
Markus Winkelhock, Alexandre Prémat and Mike Rockenfeller, on grid positions eight, nine and ten, completed the impressive performance of the three Audi Sport teams Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg. And Katherine Legge had a reason to rejoice as well. The Briton was not only the fastest lady in the field. In 13th place, she also achieved her best qualifying result in the DTM so far.
“That was a great team performance,” said a pleased Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Six Audi cars among the top eight – this is something we can really be proud of. It emphasizes that our squad has been doing an outstanding job since the finale in October 2008. Mattias Ekström delivered a convincing qualifying performance. Timo (Scheider) just fell short of a couple of thousandths. If that happens to a driver with his potential, it shows how close the results are in the DTM.”
The first DTM race of the year will start on Sunday at 2:03 pm. ARD will broadcast live on “Das Erste” starting at 1:45 pm (local time). In the past two years, the winner of the season opener at Hockenheim was Mattias Ekstöm.