- Starting accident deprives Audi of chance for victory at the Norisring
- Mattias Ekström without points
- Mike Rockenfeller as best Audi driver on position six
A starting accident deprived Audi of the chance for victory in the DTM home round at the Norisring. In front of 135,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) Mike Rockenfeller in the Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix on position six was the best Audi driver.
After the extreme heat on both practice days, rainy weather and cooler temperatures on race day made for completely different conditions that caused a major commotion right in the first turn. Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline), who had started from the second row, was pushed into the car in front of him and forced to park his Red Bull Audi A5 DTM, which had been the quickest Audi throughout the weekend, with a heavily damaged front end as early as after the first lap.
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi A5 DTM/Audi Sport Team Rosberg), as the driver of the second-best Audi in qualifying, became entangled in the starting collisions as well. The Italian was initially able to continue the race at the end of the field but had to retire after 41 laps due to a damaged radiator.
Mike Rockenfeller was one of the few Audi racers to make it through turn one unharmed but lost valuable time at the first pit stop due to a jammed wheel nut. “In addition, I was struggling a bit with the second set of tires,” said “Rocky”, who drove the second-fastest lap shortly before the end of the race and managed to advance to position six. “When you start from eleventh on the grid and finish in the points that’s definitely okay because the battle in the DTM is very tough this year. The eight points I scored were very important for me. My performance in the race wasn’t so bad and I was fortunate in the first turn.”
Rockenfeller was the only Audi driver to finish in the points at the Norisring. Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A5 DTM) and Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM) barely missed them on positions eleven and twelve after fierce battles and a few incidents of body contact.
Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra A5 DTM) was running on a strong seventh place after the starting lap, drove the fourth-fastest lap but became entangled in several collisions on the slippery track and after a drive-through penalty occupied 15th place. Timo Scheider took the AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM car to the finish on position 16 despite the fact that his car had been heavily damaged in the starting collision and an early switch to slicks did not pay off. Rahel Frey (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM) finished the race in 17th place.
“This was more than disappointing today. For us, the race was practically over as early as in turn one when ‘Eki’ was pushed onto the car in front of him and almost all of our vehicles became entangled in the collisions,”commented Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Mike Rockenfeller got through the first turn unharmed but lost a lot of time at his first pit stop. I’m particularly sorry for the whole squad that again worked extremely hard during the past days and weeks. But I’m sure that this work will be rewarded at the Nürburgring.”
The Nürburgring will see the next battle for points on August 19. In between, on July 15, the DTM’s eagerly awaited stadium race will be held at Munich’s Olympia Park that attracted 54,000 spectators on its premiere last year and at which Audi driver Edoardo Mortara clinched victory on one of the two days.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):
“That was a weekend to forget. For us, right after turn one it was clear that this wouldn’t be our day. ‘Rocky’s’ (Mike Rockenfeller) car was pretty much the only one of our vehicles that got out of this unharmed. Everyone else was involved in the scrapping, and Edo (Mortara) and Mattias (Ekström) were even forced to retire because of it. Most of the other cars had suffered some damage and as a result were no doubt unable to draw on their fullperformance potential. Now there’s just one thing to do: quickly forget the whole thing and look ahead.”
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM), 6th place
“From grid position eleven, my expectations hadn’t been very high. The changeable weather of course benefited me to some extent but, still, my race wasn’t optimal in every respect. The key toward advancing was turn one, which I managed to get through unharmed on the inside in all the commotion. Afterward, I only concentrated on driving fast laps. Sixth place was the maximum for my team and me that was possible.”
Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A5 DTM), 11th place
“My start was very good. I was able to recover three positions. I was running behind Edo (Mortara); then we both got stuck in turn one and I dropped far behind. Afterward, I made up ground from 17th place and then we both got stuck in turn one and I lost a lot of ground. I then recovered from 17th place all the way to eleventh. Unfortunately, that made me the first driver without points.”
Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM), 12th place
“My race was pretty good. I started from position 20 and finished on twelfth. Our strategy and the pace in the race were good but I’ve got to get better in qualifying. For the next races we need to particularly work on that.”
Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra A5 DTM), 15th place
“An eventful race. I had a great start and a good first lap. I was running on position seven and then was hit. My car was damaged in the incident. Later, Merhi turned me around and that cost a lot of time. Then I unfortunately touched Susie (Wolff) while overtaking and received a drive-through penalty. My speed on the last laps was good. I’m looking forward to the next race.”
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM), 16th place
“That was no doubt the worst weekend I’ve ever had in the DTM. I started from the last row and had a good start. I couldn’t see anything in the road spray. In the traffic jam in turn one I had contact with the car in front of me. I lost a few aero parts and afterward the car felt bad. It was difficult to finish the race that way.”
Rahel Frey (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM), 17th place
“That was a race to forget. Not I was driving the car but the car was driving me. We need to analyze now what caused that. It doesn’t seem to have been the weather because I was running well in the rain during the warm-up.”
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi A5 DTM), retirement
“In turn one, after the start, I was shoved from behind. That ruined my hopes for a good result early on. At least I was able to continue to battle at first and also gave everything to recover some places. But the car just couldn’t be driven well anymore and I was ultimately forced to retire.”
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM), retirement
“It doesn’t take long to tell the story of my race. Some guys obviously thought that they could win a DTM race right in the first turn. One of the victims was my Audi that had been too heavily damaged for me to be able to continue to drive.”
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline):
“That was a very unfortunate race. The situation which ‘Eki’ (Mattias Ekström) became entangled in after the start was definitely borderline. It’s a shame, as that of course kicked us out of the race completely. But as the saying goes in motorsport: chalk it up to experience and concentrate on the next race.”
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix):
“A turbulent race with changeable weather. We advanced from position eleven to six. Our aim had been to move forward by a few more places but the competition was very strong – and it took a long time for the tires to develop grip. Our set-up was good. ‘Rocky’ and the squad did a superb job. Miguel (Molina), too, had a flawless race and a good speed.”
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg):
“What happened in turn one was a bit of disaster. We don’t know exactly what happened there. We still need to check that. But finishing on position eleven with the second-best Audi does not make me very happy.