February 10, 2003
Right in time before the new generation of the winning car Abt-Audi TT-R will have its maiden outing next week, the team Abt Sportsline has made first preparations for the major goal of the title defence in the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters). For the entry of the total of six cars this season, the team from Bavaria has established a partnership with Danish outfit First Choice Racing. The team, co-founded by Kris Nissen, will be taking care of two Abt-Audi TT-Rs during this season.
“Running five cars last year already was a real top performance by our crew. To be able to enter six TT-Rs this year, we were looking for a support team that is working highly professional and that we can trust to the full”, explains team principal Hans-Jürgen Abt. “And as the name says already, First Choice Racing really was our first choice for this task.”
The team First Choice Racing was co-founded in 2001 by former Abt driver Kris Nissen and is based in Ikast in Denmark. Expectations are high among the international crew led by team principal Peter Utoft, that includes, apart from Danes, also Englishmen, Brazilians and Australians. “Of course, having made it from the VW New Beetle Cup into the DTM within only three years makes us very proud. Now, we will do everything to be successful here as well”, says Peter Utoft.
There will not be a strict separation between the teams among the championship-winning crew of 2002: all data are available, mechanics are working hand in hand, they will be a team with the colleagues from Kempten during pit stops and the public appearance will be unified under the Abt logo. “We will completely integrate the guys from up North and we will be appearing as one team. We will most certainly maintain the unity that has brought us to the top”, says Abt. After the first general DTM-test at the Adria International Raceway (Italy), mid-March, two of the TT-Rs prepared in Kempten will set off on the over 1000 kilometres long journey to Ikast and then will be entered for the ten rounds.
For the first time in its history, Abt Sportsline will be defending the DTM-title at the season opener in Hockenheim, April 27. Like champion Laurent Aiello, Christian Abt, Mattias Ekström, Martin Tomczyk and Karl Wendlinger remain in the driver line-up. The driver for the sixth cockpit will be signed soon. “There are several candidates. We will quietly pick a driver that fits to us because of his ability and from the human point of view”, says Abt.
DTM-calendar for 2003:
- April 27, 2003 Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg (D)
- May 11, 2003 Adria International Raceway (I)
- May 25, 2003 Nürburgring (D)
- June 8, 2003 EuroSpeedway Lausitz (D)
- June 22, 2003 Norisring (D)
- July 27, 2003 Donington Park (GB)
- August 17, 2003 Nürburgring (D)
- Sept. 7, 2003 A1-Ring (A)
- Sept. 21, 2003 Circuit Park Zandvoort (NL)
- Oct. 5, 2003 Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg (D)