Kristensen is one of my favorite drivers, period. Before the year started, I told some co-workers (AMG fanboys) to watch out for Kristensen. As the interview eludes to, racing is racing and anything can happen. It took one race to jack things up for him in 2006. If he had the luck of Bernd, I think it would have been over early.
Kristensen is a racer. He races in many events over the season, whereas Bernd races in the DTM. He may make an appearance here and there but damn he’s been racing DTM since the begining of time!
When two drivers are involved in a battle, a third one possibly can benefit from this situation. And the battle for the 2006 DTM title was one of these situations: Bernd Schneider and Tom Kristensen battled it out for the title, but in the end, Bruno Spengler succeeded in passing Audi driver Tom Kristensen and finishing runner-up, with Kristensen having to settle for third position – just as it had been the case in 2005. At the end of the day, he finished 15 points behind the champion, Bernd Schneider, and 7 points behind Spengler.
According to Kristensen, the race held at Brands Hatch, England, turned out to be crucial. “We wanted the title,” reveals the Dane, “but the fourth round at Brands Hatch was the key moment. There, I had to retire from the lead with just twelve more laps to go. I have been driving for Audi for three years and hadn’t experienced a single technical failure, so far. The Audi is a great car and the mechanics always make a fantastic job. But it couldn’t have come worse than it did at Brands Hatch.”
In round three, at Oschersleben, he achieved a hat-trick by securing the pole, setting the fastest race lap and winning the race. At the same time, he took the championship lead for the first time in 2006. Still, in the following round held at Brands Hatch, Kristensen was forced into retirement while Schneider struck back. Yet, Kristensen’s memories of the first DTM appearance at the British circuit aren’t all negative. “Up to my retirement, we proved to be truly dominant in the race – it was just perfect. From this point of view, the British round represented the season highlight and low at the same time,” he explains.
The race at Zandvoort, Netherlands also had two sides for the seven-time Le Mans winner. “It’s true, I won the race,” he reveals, “But Bernd also was a winner as we failed to prevent him from scoring as many points a he did.” At the ‘Circuit de Catalunya’, things also didn’t run perfect for Kristensen. “Barcelona was one of my worst races,” he admits. “Following a contact with Bernd I had problems with my car and furthermore, I took too many risks, afterwards.” On the other hand, Kristensen is convinced that this readiness to assume a risk is a part of the game. “I always try to give my very best and to get everything out of my car it has to give. In the season finale at Hockenheim, for instance, the podium finish was the maximum I could achieve.”