· Mattias Ekström on grid position four at the Norisring
· Fastest lap of the weekend for the Audi A4 DTM
· Six Audi racers on the top eleven grid positions
Ingolstadt/Nuremberg, July 2, 2011 - At Audi’s "home round" in the DTM at the Norisring, Mattias Ekström set the quickest qualifying lap (48.058 seconds). Nevertheless, the Swede from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline had to settle for fourth place in the final shoot-out.
By setting best times in the second and third section of qualifying Ekström suggested the potential of the Audi A4 DTM on the city street circuit along the Dutzendteich lake. In Q3 the two-time DTM champion managed to move to the front of the field by achieving the fastest lap of the weekend thus far despite drizzling rain setting in. But in Q4 Ekström made a little mistake in the first hairpin. "The left front wheel stopped," explained the Swede. "This caused me to lose the crucial time. It’s very difficult to get everything exactly right at the Norisring. In Q2 and Q3 it worked out well but in the crucial moment unfortunately not. But from position four, everything is still possible."
Ekström was the only Audi driver in Q4. Timo Scheider (grid position seven) and Edoardo Mortara from Audi Sport Team Rosberg (grid position eight) were eliminated in Q3. With Miguel Molina, Martin Tomczyk (Audi Sport Team Phoenix) and Oliver Jarvis on positions nine, ten and eleven, six of the nine Audi A4 DTM cars are on the best eleven grid positions. Filipe Albuquerque, Mike Rockenfeller and Rahel Frey on the other hand were eliminated as early as in Q1 and will start into the race from the last three grid positions despite minimal time gaps.
"As expected, qualifying here was not about hundredths but thousandths of a second," said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "In Q2 the quickest eight were within just 0.114 seconds of each other - that says everything about how extremely close the performance in the field is. Mattias (Ekström) made it into Q4 and had the chance to clinch the pole position for Audi. This shows that the A4 DTM is competitive at the Norisring - even though our rivals have traditionally been particularly strong here. We’ll try and put them under pressure tomorrow and fight for victory despite our starting base not being all that good."
The fifth race of the 2011 DTM season will start on Sunday at 1.00 p.m. (CEST) and cover a distance of 82 laps. ARD will start to broadcast live on the "Das Erste" at 12:45 (local time). The planned demo laps of the Audi R18 TDI that was victorious at Le Mans before the race had to be cancelled at short notice for logistical reasons. A show car of the LMP1 sport prototype is displayed in front of the Audi VIP Lounge at the Norisring.