On Sunday 9 April the eager DTM fans must wait no longer: Following the long winter break the new DTM season starts in Hockenheim and with it the first round of the eagerly awaited prestigious duel between Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
For Audi it is a race of premieres: Ten Audi A4 DTM cars line up on the grid for the first time ever. With the Belgian Vanina Ickx a woman competes for Audi in the DTM for the first time. Ex-Formula 1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Timo Scheider and privateer Olivier Tielemans compete their first race with the Audi A4 DTM, and with the Phoenix and Rosberg factory teams, and the new customer team Futurecom TME alongside the established Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline there are three new Audi teams in action.
The DTM qualifying format is also new: In similar fashion to Formula 1, the grid positions for the race are determined in a three-part “Shoot Out”. The ARD television channel “Das Erste” broadcasts qualifying live from Hockenheim on Saturday 8 April from 1:35 p.m., the race on Sunday from 1:45 p.m.
More than 138,000 spectators at the DTM presentation in Düsseldorf demonstrated the enormous attraction that the DTM now possess. Last year’s finale in Hockenheim was held in front of a record crowd of 148,000 fans. Advanced ticket sales for the opening race of the season are running at maximum capacity. Tickets are available on the Internet at www.audi-dtm.de and www.dtm.de as well as on the day.
Quotes before the season opener at Hockenheim
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “We’ll see just where we are at Hockenheim. The tests went well, but you never know exactly who was sandbagging or not. We also know from experience that Hockenheim is a very special circuit and what you see there is not necessarily how the season unfolds. I think that we prepared thoroughly, and the fans can look forward to an exciting opening DTM race. The entire Audi team is also pleased that the season is about to start.”
Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline #5): “I’m delighted that the season is finally about to start after such a long winter and that everyone will have to give 100 per cent. I’m really interested to see just how strong the individual teams, drivers and cars are. The crowds of spectators at Hockenheim are always fantastic. I like the circuit although I’m missing a win there. I do however have another chance on Sunday…”
Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline #6): “I’m intrigued to see how the Audi A4 handles at Hockenheim. I’ll have the first opportunity to make a genuine comparison to last year. I’m also interested to see exactly how we measure up and just how the new qualifying system works. There could be a few surprises. I always liked Hockenheim in the past, since the circuit layout was modified the track is much more interesting for the spectators. They see the cars more often, and it’s easier to overtake.”
Tom Kristensen (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline #7): “It seems like only yesterday that we were at the final at Hockenheim. The winter was very short for me, since I’m also part of the Audi R10 TDI project and we also developed the Audi A4 DTM. I’m convinced that we’ll be quicker than we were at the finale. The new car seems to function well. The season started perfectly for me with a win at Sebring with the R10 TDI. I can hardly wait for the DTM to get started. I’m very motivated!”