For Mattias Ekström, the 2006 DTM season ended in an equally disappointing way as it had started. In the first two rounds of the year, the Audi-driver failed to score any points and in the final two rounds, he didn’t achieve any meaningful result either. In the final standings of the championship, he occupied eighth place. A surprise for fans and experts, as the 2004 DTM champion had been among the pre-season favourites for the title.
The start of the 2006 season wasn’t easy for Ekström. “The most difficult thing for me was getting my head clear and find the right rhythm for the third round following two non-scores in the first two races”, says Ekström. “However, motivation is always there. Should that be different one day, I would retire.”
Therefore, his verdict on the 2006 season is not totally negative. He is already boosting himself for his seventh DTM season. He says: “Last year wasn’t like I had expected. Sometimes things are going better, sometimes they are going worse, that is life. Now, I have to look ahead.“
The Swede scored points in five out of ten races. Among them is the race at Brands Hatch, during which he crossed the finish line as ther winner and scored maximum points. Ekström rates this success as the high point in a season that was otherwise rather poor. “A win is a win. Brands Hatcg was a great race, but I was very happy with my own performance at Barcelona, too, had it not been for that drive-through penalty. But my performance was all right”, the 28-year old says.
On the other hand, Ekström also readily admits to having had trouble with the new qualifying format and not getting to grips with the new system. This is mirrored by his grid positions: four times, he made it into the top five and he failed to claim a pole-position.
In spite of all, Ekström tried to support his team-mate Tom Kristensen in the battle for the title, even though that is not always easy for an ambitious racing driver. “Anyone who knows me, also knows that I don’t have a problem with that. In the past, I also raced for Laurent”, says Ekström. “In the team, it is about giving and taking. And especially when there is such a fierce battle between two manufacturers, it is important that there are no problems within the team.”