By Kris Hansen
- Audi Sport Team Phoenix wins DTM team classification
- Gripping finale in front of 122,000 spectators at Hockenheim
- Mattias Ekström barely misses podium after collision
Ingolstadt/Hockenheim – Three champion’s titles for Audi on a single day: After the early win of the manufacturers’ and drivers’ classifications in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the team Championship in the DTM goes to the brand with the four rings as well. In a gripping finale at the Hockenheimring, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, after having clinched the drivers’ title, secured the team title as well. In the DTM manufacturers’ classification, Audi took second place with a narrow gap.
122,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) experienced an extremely thrilling finale that was held on a rain-drenched track and marked by duels, overtaking maneuvers and incidents of body contact. One of the protagonists was Mattias Ekström, who in the Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, after starting from position seven on the grid, drove an impressive race. The Swede was clearly on course for a podium finish and trailing the subsequent winner Timo Glock by only a few car lengths when, on the 28th of 41 laps, he was turned around in the hairpin by Daniel Juncadella (Mercedes-Benz). In fourth place, after chasing to make up ground, Ekström missed the podium by merely 1.245 seconds.
Miguel Molina in fifth place secured the crucial points in the battle for the team classification for Audi Sport Team Phoenix at Hockenheim while his team-mate Mike Rockenfeller in his Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM experienced a difficult finale and finished out of the points for the first time this year. The DTM Champion staked everything on one chance in the final phase and, as one of the few drivers to do so, switched from rain tires to slicks. “But the track was simply still too wet,” said the Audi driver. “Of course I’d expected the finale to go differently – but this doesn’t change the fact in any way that with Audi Sport Team Phoenix we managed to have a fantastic season.”
Ekström and Molina were the only two Audi drivers to manage scoring points in the finale at Hockenheim. Their brand colleagues were running fast on the wet track in some of the phases of the race but, despite delivering fighting performances, went unrewarded in the end. Jamie Green (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM), Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM), Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra RS 5 DTM), Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM) and Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM) took positions twelve to 16. Filipe Albuquerque (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM) retired after a collision on the starting lap.
“What a finale!” said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. “That was perfect advertising for the DTM in front of a great turnout despite the bad weather. Following the drivers’ title, we’ve now won the team classification as well. Congratulations to Ernst Moser and his squad! Two out of three possible titles for Audi is a respectable result. Congratulations also to Timo Glock and to BMW. Mercedes-Benz was strong today too – that already whets our appetite for 2014. It’s a shame that Mattias (Ekström) was turned around shortly before the end of the race and thus lost a well-deserved place on the podium. Still, we’re going to have a big party tonight – the whole squad has earned it.”