Strong start to the DTM season for Audi. Leading up to the qualifying sessions, Audi remained in front during both practices. In the first, Audi went 1-2-3 with Rockenfeller, Scheider, Ekstrom. In the second practice, Audi went 1-2-3 again but with Scheider, Tomczyk and Molina.
Qualifying would not be the same for Audi but 6 drivers would end up in the Top 10. While we were watching, both Mattias and Timo didn’t show times after Q1. We were quite nervous!
Ekstrom would go on throughout the four qualifying sessions ending up 2nd behind Bruno Spengler of Mercedes. He missed pole by 00.132.
Timo Scheider looked to be on Championship form but a mistake cost him where he ended up fourth, 01.164 down.
Mike Rockenfeller, who has been very fast took fifth with Martin Tomczyk sixth.
DTM and Audi newcomer, Edoardo Mortara put Audi in the tenth spot. Mortara comes over from Volkswagen and the Formula 3 Euro Series.
Audi starts into 2011 DTM from front row
Audi tackles the new DTM season from the front row of the grid. In qualifying at the Hockenheimring Mattias Ekstrom missed the pole position by merely 0.132 seconds. With six A4 DTM cars on the top ten grid positions Audi achieved a strong overall team performance.
At the crucial shoot-out for the top four grid positions the two-time DTM champion was the first driver to go out on the track. At 1m 34.402s Ekstrom, who recently became a father, set an impressive time which in the end was only beaten by Bruno Spengler. “This qualifying session was a thriller for us,” said the Swede. “The car wasn’t so good at first. But every time I went out we changed something. In the end, my A4 was perfect and I managed a good lap. Naturally, I’d prefer having finished in first place but this will be my goal for tomorrow…”
His team-mate Timo Scheider made it into the fourth qualifying segment (Q4) as well. After a braking mistake on entering the hairpin, the 2008 and 2009 DTM champion had to settle for grid position four though.
Mike Rockenfeller on his first run for Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline barely missed Q4 by a mere 0.002 seconds and will start from position five. The best driver of a year-old car, Martin Tomczyk (Audi Sport Team Phoenix), will start into the race next to him, from the third row.
Miguel Molina finished Q3 in eighth place after some ignition misses. Formula 3 champion Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) in tenth place was the second-best rookie right behind Christian Vietoris. Oliver Jarvis and Filipe Albuquerque will start from positions twelve and 15. Rahel Frey on her first DTM weekend consistently improved during each practice session. The young Swiss driver will tackle the race from position 17.
“Having six Audi cars in the top ten is a very nice team result,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “We’ve got an Audi on each of the two front rows and even two on the third row. Tomorrow will no doubt be a very thrilling race for which we’ve got good prerequisites.”
The first DTM race of the year will start at 2 p.m. ARD will air live coverage from Hockenheim on “Das Erste” starting at 1:55 p.m. (local time).
– Audi Motorsport