August 28, 2004
Source: Audi Motorsport
Things get serious again for the Audi works team following the four week summer break: The final spurt in the DTM begins on 5 September in the Dutch resort Zandvoort. The last three races of Europe’s most popular touring car series will be held at fourteen-day intervals. With a nine point advantage over his nearest rival, Audi driver Mattias Ekström tops the leader board coming into the DTM `away race’ to be held on the North Sea coast. The Swede has fond memories of the challenging circuit in the Zandvoort dunes: Ekström celebrated his first DTM victory there in 2002, and also finished on the podium last year.
To keep himself fit during the `race break’, the 26-year old concentrated on jet skiing and stamina training in his Swedish homeland. In addition, he completed a test for Audi Sport at Most (Czech Republic) with the Audi A4 DTM, during which he collected valuable set-up information, from which his Audi colleagues will also benefit, for the final spurt.
Quotes before the race
Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt / Audi A4 DTM #5): “I only have good memories of Zandvoort. I like both the circuit and the atmosphere, and I won my first DTM race here two years ago. At that time it was all about Laurent and the title, this season I have the possibility to win the championship, but we nevertheless have a long road ahead of us. I will do my utmost and try, with the help of my five Audi colleagues, to keep out of trouble in the race.”
Martin Tomczyk (Audi Sport Team Abt / Audi A4 DTM #6): “The track in Zandvoort has always suited Audi. It will also suit our new A4, and I am confident that one of us will win. Obviously, with only three races to go we will have to keep an eye on the championship battle and try to create the best possible position for Brno and the finale.”
Christian Abt (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline / Audi A4 DTM #11): “Zandvoort is one of my favourite circuits: I’ve driven some fantastic races here and have been on the podium. And on top of that, Zandvoort will always be associated with the DTM title for us, which we clinched here two years ago. It’s really time that I scored my first points and played my part in a good result for our team and Audi.”
Tom Kristensen (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline / Audi A4 DTM #12): “My team boss Hans-Jürgen Abt told me that the first victory is always the most difficult, so now it must be much easier now following my success at Oschersleben… Seriously though: I don’t know the circuit in Zandvoort, which is certainly a small disadvantage. However, I’m looking forward to the race on the coast visited by so many enthusiastic Dutch motorsport fans, who will more than likely create a unique atmosphere again.”
Emanuele Pirro (Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest / Audi A4 DTM #44): “I don’t know the circuit in Zandvoort yet, but judging by the characteristics it should suit our Audi A4 DTM car. After having had a lot of bad luck at the previous races, I really want to have a good result – for Audi, for Team Joest and obviously for me.”
Frank Biela (Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest / Audi A4 DTM #45): “New circuit, new beginning. I have very good memories of the races on the old Zandvoort circuit. I don’t know the new circuit yet, but, from what I’ve heard it is just as demanding and picturesque as the old one. The atmosphere there is definitely fabulous. I only have three more opportunities to get a good result – and I simply have to use them.”
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): “Slowly but surely things are beginning to heat up in the championship. Our target for Zandvoort is very clear: To take as many points away from the Mercedes boys as possible in order to have a decent cushion. My team had a few days off and travel to Zandvoort relaxed and ready to go. We have experienced unforgettable moments at this track – it remains in everybody’s memory.”
Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest): “We are looking forward to probably the most picturesque and interesting race circuit of the year. I’m only familiar with the circuit from the PC game `DTM Race Driver 2′, and hope that our drivers get to grips with the circuit much better than I… All joking aside: Our goal is to have a race without problems and score some points again. The four week break has done us all the world of good.”
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “We assume that Zandvoort is also one of the tracks that will suit our A4. We have nevertheless left nothing to chance, and have worked particularly hard on the qualifying set-up at the tests in order to be well prepared for the final three races of the season. Following the excellent team performance at Oschersleben, we obviously want to have as many A4 cars as close to the front as possible.”