Audi Motorsport-Newsletter 36/2013
Now you’ve had a few days to digest the race at Zandvoort, how do you assess winning the title with Mike Rockenfeller?
“Actually, people always say that the first title is the best. However, now we have proven that the triumph in 2011 was not a one off, but in fact the result of good work actually makes this second title even better.”
In your team’s 14-year DTM history, many renowned drivers have sat in the cars fielded by Phoenix. What distinguishes Mike Rockenfeller?
“Due to his basic speed, Mike has always been among the fastest drivers in the DTM. He is capable of extracting the performance when required. I’ve been particularly impressed with just how clever ‘Rocky’ has driven this year. He fought when it was necessary, but also knew when it was better to hold a watching brief. In this way he kept out of all the trouble. He also has the skill to drive permanently on the limit of his tire, and especially with the new option tires, without excessively stressing the rubber. As a result, he was quick on the track at any given time.”
Two championship titles in three years – what is the secret of Audi Sport Team Phoenix’s success?
“If there is such a thing, then it is perhaps our extraordinarily good team spirit. Both experienced and young employees work perfectly together within the team. They all help each other and complement one another. On top of this comes the fact that we are totally uncompromising in our work. There is just one goal: always to extract the maximum from the actual possibilities.”
The headline for the annual review of Audi Sport Team Phoenix in the 2013 DTM season must be …?
“… Highly motivated and flawless!”
After this great triumph, is it difficult to motivate yourself for the final race at Hockenheim on October 20?
“No absolutely not. At Zandvoort, I noticed that the pressure associated with the possibility of Mike winning the title and the necessity of making no mistakes somehow preoccupied the entire team. This pressure is now gone. Now every single team member is eager to end the season with a win. We aim to defend our lead in the teams’ championship and with our colleagues in the other Audi teams ensure that Audi also retains first place in the manufacturers’ classification. Nobody needs any extra motivation for this from me.”
The Audi customer team GMG Racing experienced an emotional roller-coaster in the dramatic finale of the Pirelli World Challenge at Houston (USA). On the track that initially was extremely wet, James Sofronas in the Audi R8 LMS was running at the front of the field for a long time and thus heading for the title. Shortly before the end of the race, the rear of the Audi driver’s car, in rough tussles, was touched by a rival, which resulted in a puncture. With fifth place in the GT class Sofronas secured the position of the runner-up in the Championship.
With a commanding victory in the finale at Donington Park the Audi customer team United Autosports brought the season in the British GT Championship to a successful close. Mark Patterson (USA) and Matt Bell (GB) in their Audi R8 LMS ultra cars advanced from position seven on the grid to first place overall in the two-hour race. By claiming their first victory this season Patterson/Bell secured second place in the Championship, lacking merely 1.5 points for the title win.
Running instead of taking a breather: In preparation for the upcoming final sprint of the season, Audi driver Tom Kristensen demonstrated his muscular power at the Skagen Marathon in his native Denmark. The 46-year-old had celebrated his marathon debut at the Copenhagen Ironman only in August. In his most recent endurance challenge on two legs, the nine-time Le Mans winner again defied wind and rain and, on finishing the run in 3h 19m17s, beat his personal best time by an impressive 12 minutes.
Coming up next week
Oct 12 Hockenheim (D), round 9, DMV TCC
Oct 12 Nürburgring (D), round 9, Endurance Championship
Oct 12 Lédenon (F), round 6, French GT Championship
Oct 13 Velopark (BR), round 7, Brazilian GT Championship
Oct 13 Zhuhai (CN), round 5, GT Asia
Oct 13 Zolder (B), round 6, BRCC
Oct 13 Valencia (E), round 3, Spanish GT Championship
Oct 13 Vallelunga (I), round 8, GT Sprint