Great racing ahead. The fourth round of the 2007 DTM season starts this weekend at Brands Hatch. Audi factory driver Mattias Ekström, last year’s winner, talks about the 1.929-kilometre circuit.
Brands Hatch is a very traditional circuit – is it a pleasure?
“The circuit is spectacular and short. I think it’s good that the DTM races on the Indy version. There isn’t a single opportunity to relax – either you are steering, braking or accelerating again. It’s great to look back and know that I won at this track in 2006. I really like the circuit.”
How does the sequence of corners affect the set-up?
“Obviously the set-up is important at every circuit. The set-up for Brands Hatch is so challenging because the bends are so different. Also, the corners run over crests, disappear in hollows or run down the hillside. All this has to be mastered and this task starts with the set-up.”
The race last as long as normal, but the circuit is much shorter – what does this mean?
“There’s absolutely no time to relax, because one curve is followed immediately by the next. Despite this, no special fitness training is required – our normal sport routine is sufficient. Such a short track is perfect for the spectators: We drive 82 times past them; also you can see the majority of the circuit from many of the grandstands. The pit-stop strategy provides the teams with even more opportunities because the pit window is distributed over a greater number of laps.”
Which corners are particularly difficult?
“The first corner after the start and finish line is challenging, but also really great – exactly how a racing driver likes it. The last corner is also one of the most difficult. Immediately after the preceding s-bend you have find the perfect line entering the right-hand corner so that you can get the power on early, otherwise you lack speed on the straight and will be overtaken.”