· Edoardo Mortara celebrates premiere victory in the DTM
· First victory for Audi Sport Team Rosberg
· Mattias Ekström improves to second place in the standings
Ingolstadt/Spielberg – Huge joy at Audi Sport Team Rosberg: After starting from the pole position, the Italian Edoardo Mortara won the fourth round of the 2012 DTM at the Red Bull Ring in Austria in front of 48,500 spectators (throughout the weekend). The new Audi A5 DTM thus celebrated its first victory. Mattias Ekström improved to second place in the standings.
The Red Bull Ring is apparently a good track for premieres. After Audi Sport Team Phoenix had clinched its first DTM success at Spielberg last year, which laid the foundation for the subsequent title win, the time had come for Audi Sport Team Rosberg – the team founded by ex-Formula One World Champion Keke Rosberg – to do so this year – in an extremely thrilling race.
Despite a less than perfect start Edoardo Mortara in his Playboy Audi A5 DTM entered turn one as the race leader and controlled the pace at the front of the field throughout the entire 47 laps. After the second mandatory pit stop, Mortara had to fend off attacks by leader of the standings Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz) and Martin Tomczyk (BMW) which involved a number of fierce duels. Mortara kept his cool in both attacks, though, managed to work out a small cushion again and ultimately crossed the finish line as the winner with a 1.068-second advantage.
“That was a fantastic weekend,” beamed “Edo” after taking his first victory in what was only his 14th DTM race. “My first pole position yesterday and my first victory today – I’m simply super-happy. ‘Thank you’ to Audi Sport and ‘thank you’ to Team Rosberg – my guys worked incredibly hard in the past few weeks and months. This is the first reward today. I’m hoping for things to continue this way because I think we learned a lot here at Spielberg and made a major step forward. The battle with Gary (Paffett) was tough – but when you’re in contention for victory you won’t give in easily.”
Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline), too, had to fight hard for his fourth place which caused him to improve from third to second place in the standings. At the start, the Swede had taken the lead in his Red Bull Audi A5 DTM but then dropped all the way to fifth place in the commotion of the hectic first lap. He immediately managed to overtake Mercedes driver Jamie Green again, closed the gap to Gary Paffett in the final phase but could not pass him anymore.
An impressive race and the fastest lap were driven by Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM). The two-time DTM Champion advanced from position 16 on the grid to sixth place despite having to run through the gravel trap once after being hit by Augusto Farfus.
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM/Audi Sport Team Phoenix) and Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A5 DTM) thrilled the spectators with remarkable overtaking maneuvers as well. On positions seven and eight they caused a total of five A5 DTM cars to finish in the points.
A strong performance was also shown by Rahel Frey (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM), who maintained her mid-field position before dropping to 15th place after a drive-through penalty imposed on her for having exceeded the speed limit in the pit lane.
Miguel Molina was forced to park his Red Bull Audi A5 DTM early after 17 laps after having been bumped several times. Even shorter was the race of Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra A5 DTM). The youngster was forced into the grass on the starting lap and had to retire.
“Winning such a thrilling race is particularly enjoyable,” commented Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “That was first-class advertisement for the DTM, for the Red Bull Ring and for Audi. Our A5 DTM was the measure of all things here. We were running in front in all the practice sessions, posted the fastest race lap and ‘Edo’ perfectly converted his first pole position into his first victory. He had to fight a hard battle for this success that was a very important one for all of us. In the past few weeks, the entire team intensively worked on making us return to the very top of the DTM. Congratulations also to Audi Sport Team Rosberg that has been waiting for this day for a long time and worked hard for it as well.”
Quotes after the race at the Red Bull Ring
Jubilation at the Audi camp: Edoardo Mortara secured his first victory at the Red Bull Ring and celebrated the first triumph of the new Audi A5 DTM. Quotes after the race.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “That was a fantastic race. With a strong team performance and victory by Edo (Mortara) and the Rosberg squad we showed that we’re back in contention for victory. The pole position yesterday and victory today plus five Audi cars in the top ten underscore that Audi is back again. We’ll continue to work hard on maintaining this. This result was the best way of thanking the squad that has been working extremely hard.”
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi A5 DTM), 1st place
“After the best time in yesterday’s qualifying, my first victory today – that’s a very special moment for me. But for Audi, too, this is a great moment in the new DTM era. And for Team Rosberg it’s fantastic also. I can hardly find words for this wonderful situation. After a few difficult weekends I wouldn’t have necessarily expected to win. You always try and give your best and today we achieved the maximum.”
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM), 4th place
“I had a very good start in the race but then unfortunately lost a few places on lap one. In the end, I finished in fourth place. It’s definitely a bit disappointing that I didn’t finish on podium and manage to score big points. But twelve points from Spielberg and second place in the championship are good. The most important thing today, though, was that we were very competitive.”
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM), 6th place
“All in all, this was a sensational race. I made up two places right at the start. The restart after the yellow period went well too. After a few laps I was running alongside Augusto Farfus when braking into turn 3. When he was behind me he touched the left rear corner of my car and heavily offset it in the process. That’s why I flew into the gravel trap and stopped just before hitting a tire wall. I managed to turn around and free myself again. But it was frustrating to run 200 meters behind the field. But our performance was sensational, the car was awesome. I’ve never had such a good car in a race this year. With a good strategy and two perfect pit stops we recovered ten places today. That was sensational under these circumstances!”
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM), 7th place
“That was one of the craziest races I’ve ever experienced in the DTM. The first lap was very turbulent. Congratulations to ‘Edo’ and to Team Rosberg on winning. I also want to thank my team. We had a tough weekend. Considering this, I’m really happy with seventh place in the race. I had huge fun in the car; we battled and I was able to move forward with a good strategy. The points were important.”
Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A5 DTM), 8th place
“A very hard race. I was behind Bruno Spengler when his car was damaged, which caused us to lose a lot of time. That was a shame. As a result, I also lost against Joey Hand and got stuck behind him. Due to our strategy we lost against Timo Scheider too. My car was fantastic, our pace was really good. But I couldn’t achieve more than eighth place. I think a place among the top five would have been possible.”
Rahel Frey (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM), 15th place
“That was really thrilling and exciting – I was finally able to join the battle. This was really good for me and for my self-confidence. Unfortunately, the pit stops weren’t very good and I was too fast on exiting the pit lane for which I received a drive-through. But my race pace was right again and it was really good fun. Let’s continue this way!”
Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM), retirement
“I had a really good start and overtook a few rivals right on the first lap. After the safety car period I wanted to attack again but my car got damaged a bit. I tried to continue but the damage to my car was too severe. That’s why we decided to go to the pits in order to keep from causing even more damage.”
Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra A5 DTM), retirement
“My start was very good, and so was turn one. But then there was a pretty heavy commotion. There were many cars running on the same line. I decided to run on the outside. Unfortunately, I was pushed into the grass and my race was over.”
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): “First of all, congratulations to Edoardo Mortara and Team Rosberg. Audi did a tremendous job today in every respect. The car was perfect today. Five Audi A5 DTM cars among the top eight is a fantastic team result. With Mattias Ekström we’re in second place of the championship. That’s a good starting base for the other races. And there are still a few rounds on the calendar. A successful day for Audi – let’s continue this way.”
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): “A brilliant weekend for Audi with the first victory of the year. A huge compliment and ‘well done’ to Edo (Mortara) and Team Rosberg. But the other Audi drivers were quick as well and there are five A5 DTM cars in the top ten. The race pace was good, so we managed to bring ‘Rocky’ forward from 13th to seventh place. We can all be happy about this overall result Audi has achieved. Now we’ll have a big party.”
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): “That was the longest hour of my life! ‘Thank you very much’ to everyone – to ‘Edo’ and the team and to the Audi squad. The work done over the past four weeks was incredible. I’m very happy about this victory.”