Sunday 1 May 2011

Mattias Ekström clinches podium for Audi

Mattias Ekström clinches podium for Audi

• Second place at the DTM season opener at Hockenheim
• Three Audi A4 DTM cars on top five positions
• Martin Tomczyk is best driver of a year-old car

Ingolstadt/Hockenheim, May 1, 2011 – 58,000 spectators (throughout the
weekend) at the Hockenheimring saw a thrilling DTM season opener and an
impressive performance by Audi driver Mattias Ekström. Just 73 days after he
broke his left wrist in a sporting accident the Swede clinched second place and
thus a podium result for Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline.
With three Audi A4 DTM cars on the top five positions the brand with the four rings
achieved a clearly better start into the season than last year when not a single Audi
driver mounted the podium. In addition to Mattias Ekström, Timo Scheider and
Martin Tomczyk shone in particular. They saw the checkered flag on positions four
and five, just barely missing the podium.
For many fans, the hero of the race was Mattias Ekström. The Swede had not even
been sure about being able to pull through the entire 37-lap race distance at the
Hockenheimring. But the two-time DTM champion gritted his teeth and brought his
Audi A4 DTM across the finish line as the runner-up. “Toward the end I was
beginning to lose some of the strength in my left hand,” said Ekström. “I’m glad to
have made it.”
The Swede had even taken the lead after a good start but was overtaken on the
outside of the track in turn one by Bruno Spengler. After a safety car period Ekström
did not completely agree with the behavior of the subsequent winner either: “Bruno
hit the brakes before the re-start. He was the quicker driver today, but this type of
thing shouldn’t happen.”
On the last race lap Ekström had another moment of shock: “I felt like I was having
a puncture of the left rear tire and almost had a heart attack. After the race it turned
out that I had a defect on the rear suspension.”
Ekström was able to bring the car safely across the line in a photo finish barely
ahead of Ralf Schumacher who made a mistake on the final lap and was almost
intercepted by Audi driver Timo Scheider. The two-time DTM champion missed the
podium by just 0.671 seconds.
Martin Tomczyk drove a strong race as well. He finished his first run for Audi Sport
Team Phoenix in fifth place and thus as the best driver of a year-old car. Tomczyk
through no fault of his own triggered a safety car period because the fuel can got
stuck on his Audi A4 DTM during the second pit stop and subsequently fell onto the
The safety car period deprived several other drivers of better positions because they
had not yet made their second pit stop – particularly Mike Rockenfeller, who had to
stop for the red light at the pit lane exit and dropped to eleventh place. Edoardo
Mortara (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) as well was thus bumped out of the top ten. His
team-mate Filipe Albuquerque had to sit a drive-through penalty after failing to
notice the red light at the pit lane exit. Before the incident he had been turned
around by a rival in the hairpin.
Miguel Molina was another driver to suffer misfortune. After his mechanics had
worked late into the night replacing the entire cable harness of his Audi A4 after
electronic problems in qualifying. He was running in the points before being
attacked by Gary Paffett and subsequently turned around by Oliver Jarvis in an
unfortunate incident.
A solid performance was shown by Rahel Frey. The young Swiss drove a flawless race
on her DTM debut, which she finished in 15th place.
“Naturally, I’d have been happier with first place,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr.
Wolfgang Ullrich after the season opener. “But only one driver can finish at the top.
This time, unfortunately, it wasn’t us. Next time we want to be at the very front.
We’ve fought with our rivals on an equal footing. The opening round has confirmed
that we can expect a very exciting, well-balanced DTM season.”

Audi Communication Sport/for autorized and acreditated media press.

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