From the Audi V8 quattro to the Audi A4 DTM
When the new DTM series starts at Hockenheim on April 9th, there will be a small anniversary to celebrate: 2006 marks Audis tenth year of contesting the most popular international touring car racing series. Four champions titles, 35 victories, 30 pole positions and 26 fastest race laps make Audi one of the most successful brands in DTM history.
At its first appearance in the DTM Audi immediately left a lasting impression. In the Audi V8 quattro, a vehicle derived from the production version, Hans-Joachim Stuck clinched the title for Ingolstadt in the brands debut year of 1990 straight away, owing last not least to the superior quattro drive. 1991 saw Frank Biela triumphant, thus making Audi the first manufacturer to manage a successful defence of the title.
In the 2004 season, when Audi made its comeback to the series as a manufacturer, Mattias Ekström in the A4 DTM yet again claimed the championship straight away. The fourth DTM title on Audis track record was captured by Team Abt Sportsline, which had been entering the Abt-Audi TT-R from 2000 to 2003 as an Audi customer team, winning the championship with Laurent Aiello in 2002.
In each of Audis four champions years the closest rival in the fight for the DTM crown was Mercedes-Benz and in the 2006 season Germanys two leading automobile manufacturers will again be fighting for the prestigious title.