· Only five weeks before the DTM opener
· Martin Tomczyk competes for Audi Sport Team Phoenix for first time
· Target in 2011: to be best driver of year-old car
Ingolstadt, March 24, 2011 - Martin Tomczyk starts the 2011 DTM season in unusual surroundings: He competed for Abt Sportsline for ten years, now he races for Ernst Moser’s Audi Sport Team Phoenix for the first time. His team mate is Rahel Frey who steps up as newcomer into the DTM for the team from the Eifel region.
Getting acquainted with one another, seat fitting and a team meeting in Meuspath just a stone’s throw from the Nürburgring: The dawning of a new era for Martin Tomczyk in 2011. The man from Rosenheim, now resident in Aesch near Basel in Switzerland, gets accustomed to a completely new environment in the forthcoming weeks. Something important from the technical side also changes: The Bavarian had previously always raced the latest Audi, this year he must now settle for a year-old car. To fight among the leaders will be more difficult with older equipment.
Does this mean having to leave a comfort zone after ten years? An argument that Tomczyk does not entirely agree with. "Ten years of DTM was not always comfort zone," he objects. "I was always privileged enough to drive the latest car for team Abt, but there were highs and lows during these ten years. To begin it was extremely difficult as 18-year-old to be thrown in at the DTM deep end and have to learn so much in such a short period of time. The decade certainly took its price when things didn’t quite function as expected. It definitely wasn’t a ten year comfort zone. I was under pressure and put myself under pressure often enough and not only during the good times. The years were hard and stressful."
In the new line-up also offers great chances for Martin Tomczyk. It is not for the first time that an experienced driver competes in the DTM in an older car; after all older cars can always spring a surprise. More recently in October 2010 at Hockenheim year-old car driver Mike Rockenfeller mounted the podium - in an Audi A4 DTM from 2008 fielded by Audi Sport Team Phoenix, and supported by experienced race engineer Jürgen Jungklaus. Martin Tomczyk is now integrated into exactly this constellation of team, people and equipment after swapping with Mike Rockenfeller who has moved across to Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline.
"I see a challenge in the new constellation. The targets have changed. The blind trust is no longer valid," says Tomczyk. "I’ll slip into the role of number one within a DTM team for the first time. Rahel Frey is, as newcomer, my team mate. I’ll try to guide her in the DTM and to support her wherever possible. I have a team behind me that sees me as lead driver. I want to and must achieve something together with the team. This is a job that is new to me and which I am only too happy to tackle."
The first point of reference in the results will be the other year-old cars from Audi - and those of the competition. Three year-old Audi’s are driven by newcomers Rahel Frey, Edoardo Mortara and Filipe Albuquerque. Only Miguel Molina drove such an Audi A4 DTM already last year. "Miguel did a very good job last year. The new Audi drivers must learn a lot to start, but they will benefit from their single-seater knowledge," assesses Tomczyk. "I won’t shy away from any comparisons. I believe I could be the benchmark among the year-old cars."
The ‘mover’ knows that these new conditions take effect in a crucial season. "2011 is of great importance. Everybody is already looking toward 2012 when the DTM faces a completely new start," says the Bavarian. "So, you invest all the energy in the season again in a title fight, before another brand comes the following year and also wants the title. This means that everybody has to sort themselves out for 2012. Depending on the weight classification it also possible to shine in an old car and with the new tires from partner Hankook new possibilities will arise - also for the year old-cars. I want to be the fastest year-old car driver at the end of the year." After a short pause he adds: "I assume that a year-old car is also capable of victory this year."