Christian Abt best driver of a 2005-spec A4
Ex-Champion Mattias Ekstrom in his Red Bull Audi A4 DTM will start from the second row in the second round of the DTM at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz. In a thrilling qualifying practice the Swede from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline clinched third place on the grid. His Danish team-mate Tom Kristensen in his Siemens Audi A4 DTM will start the race from fifth position. The race will be broadcast live on “Das Erste on Sunday starting at 1:45 p.m. (local time).
The crucial third segment of the qualifying practice took place on Saturday on a drying track following a shower and resembled a thriller. Each lap saw the positions at the top change. Ekstrom and Kristensen kept setting best times until dropping to places three and five when the chequered flag was lowered.
Best driver of an Audi from last year was Christian Abt who, at the wheel of the Playboy A4 of Audi Sport Team Phoenix, barely missed making it into the final eight by a mere 0.123 seconds to finish ninth. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, coming three thousandths behind Abt, completed the top ten.
Quotes after qualifying
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “Unfortunately, we werent able to put the speed weve got here at the EuroSpeedway on the track in the qualifying. Only two cars in the shoot-out of the final eight are a disappointment: in the last few minutes the times kept getting a wee bit quicker from one lap to the next, and the positions at the top constantly changed. If like at Hockenheim we manage to improve in the race and our two boys at the front pull off a good start everything is still possible in the race.
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #5
3rd place, 1m17.413s / 1m16.729s / 1m19.968s
“This was a very interesting qualifying with the red flagging and the constantly changing conditions. Even during the qualifying, the team made some changes to my A4, which were very positive. Unfortunately, at the end I may have missed another lap, which might have been the crucial one, by a hairs breadth. Of course that was a shame but on the other hand third place isnt all that bad, really. Im now concentrating fully on my start. This is one of my strengths and would make the race look completely different…
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Siemens Audi A4 DTM #7
5th place, – / 1m16.514s / 1m21.396s
“We knew that rain was coming but had expected it a little earlier. On the first lap I wasnt even out before the session was stopped, afterwards I drove the third-fastest time. In the final shoot-out, as well, we opted for new tyres. The line dried off, and the times kept getting faster from lap to lap. Unfortunately, I didnt have enough fuel left at that point for driving a fast time at the very end. Weve been lucky many times before well, today we just werent.
Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Playboy Audi A4 DTM #12
9th place, 1m44.807s / 1m17.120s
“Im satisfied because we were lacking important kilometres and still managed to do well. The team did a super job. If it hadnt rained we might have been able to clinch a place among the top eight. The entire weekend has been crazy, and so was the qualifying. Thats why the result is okay. Im looking forward to the race already.
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Veltins Audi A4 DTM #6
10th place, – / 1m17.123s
“The first run-up wed planned we werent able to drive because the practice was stopped. So we didnt know how the car behaves. We had a bit too much oversteer which we werent able to correct in the time that was left.
Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Castrol Audi A4 DTM #14
11th place, 1m18.469s / 1m17.193s
“Again, the time gaps are extremely small, which speaks for the DTM. Because of the aborted session we immediately competed for the top eight places after the re-start, a fact I wasnt even aware of. The spectators can look forward to a very thrilling race, in which Im hoping for rain.
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #4
12th place, 1m17.426s / 1m17.193s
“That was a really close call and the time gaps are incredibly narrow. In my last run the track was already damp in the first sector which cost my three tenths. In the last sector Mathias Lauda obstructed me. Mercedes is very fast here these times I couldnt have driven. But for the group of the quickest eight it should have been enough. Too bad.
Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Gebrauchtwagen plus Audi A4 DTM #16
13th place, 1m20.024s / 1m17.242s
“Im disappointed because in the qualifying the car was better than before. My second run started very well. Up to the middle sector I was as much as two-and-a-half tenths quicker than on my best lap so far. But then Bruno Spengler pulled onto my line, slower than I. I wasnt able to get past him and lost seven tenths. On the third run the rain got heavier. A place among the top eight would have been possible for me today.
Audi Sport Team Rosberg, S line Audi A4 DTM #15
14th place, 1m18.523s / 1m17.529s
“Of course 14th place isnt what we were shooting for. The front axle with the first set of tyres was building up very good grip, the rear didnt. For my next two runs we adjusted the front axle to the grip level of the rear but we were no longer able to make efficient use of the two sets of tyres.
Futurecom TME, Futurecom Audi A4 DTM #19
19th place, 1m41.382s / 1m18.774s
“My qualifying didnt start all that well because I didnt warm up the brakes enough when I was driving amidst the other cars. So I made a braking mistake on the first run-up. On new tyres, things got better. My learning curve keeps improving each weekend, I have just experienced my second qualifying with the car and am now improving step by step.
Futurecom TME, Original Zubehor Audi A4 DTM #20
20th place, 1m19.685s / 1m19.634s
“After my weekend had started well in the free practice, the qualifying, unfortunately, was not to my liking at all so that Ill be starting the race from the very back of the grid. Im going to try to make up the gap on Saturday.
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): “During the whole qualifying we were among the front runners but were lacking that little bit of luck to be out on the track at the best possible moment. Conditions were very difficult, and we were the ones that were hit by them today.
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): “Actually, were quite satisfied. Of course wed have liked to have gotten a least one of our boys into the final lap. But the field in the DTM is so tight that it just wasnt possible today. At the end the track got a bit damp as well so that we didnt have a real shot any more.
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): “Because of the qualifying being stopped things did get a bit chaotic. Strategically, we didnt make any major mistakes but of course Im not satisfied with 13th and 14th place. Timo Scheider was unfortunate with his second set of tyres when he was slowed by a rival. Frank Stippler complained that the car on the second and third sets of tyres was only sliding any more. Why that happened is something we now need to analyse.
The starting grid at the EuroSpeedway
1. Jamie Green (Mercedes), 1m19.390s
2. Mika Hakkinen (Mercedes), 1m19.630s
3. Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM), 1m19.968s
4. Bernd Schneider (Mercedes), 1m20.940s
5. Tom Kristensen (Siemens Audi A4 DTM), 1m21.396s
6. Jean Alesi (Mercedes), 1m21.519s
7. Bruno Spengler (Mercedes), 1m22.152s
8. Alexandros Margaritis (Mercedes), 1m23.446s
9. Christian Abt (Playboy Audi A4 DTM), 1m17.120s
10. Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Veltins Audi A4 DTM), 1m17.123s
11. Pierre Kaffer (Castrol Audi A4 DTM), 1m17.142s
12. Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM), 1m17.193s
13. Timo Scheider (Gebrauchtwagen:plus Audi A4 DTM), 1m17.242s
14. Frank Stippler (S line Audi A4 DTM), 1m17.529s
15. Mathias Lauda (Mercedes), 1m17.642s
16. Sefan Mucke (Mercedes), 1m17.661s
17. Daniel La Rosa (Mercedes), 1m17.937s
18. Susie Stoddart (Mercedes), 1m18.271s
19. Olivier Tielemans (Futurecom Audi A4 DTM), 1m18.774s
20. Vanina Ickx (Original Zubehor Audi A4 DTM), 1m19.634s