Thrilling premiere of shoot-out qualifying
Martin Tomczyk was the quickest Audi driver in the qualifying practice for the DTM season opener at Hockenheim. Tomczyk, who at age 24 is Audis youngest factory driver, thus made an impressive comeback to the group of front runners in the most popular international touring car series after a less than perfect 2005 season. In the thrilling qualifying practice, which was staged in the new “shoot-out format for the first time, the youngster from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline showed strong nerves. In all three sections Tomczyk was the best Audi driver. After a best time in the first, and second place in the second section, the Bavarian ultimately claimed fourth place on the starting grid.
His team-mate Mattias Ekstrom, who had clocked the best time in the mornings free practice session, will be going into the race, which is scheduled to start at 2:05 p.m. (local time) and broadcast live on TV from 1:45 p.m. by “Das Erste on Sunday, from the third row. Following a misunderstanding during the second qualifying section, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Tom Kristensen will be starting from positions eight and nine. Frank Stippler (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) , finishing in eleventh place, was the quickest driver of an A4 from last year.
Quotes after Qualifying
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “That was an hour which passed at lightning speed and which was all about very quick responses. Wed been hoping for more. Yet it seems that were having difficulties applying the really good results from the morning when outside temperatures are rising causing the grip level to change, because on Friday the situation was similar. The misunderstanding between Tom (Kristensen) and Heinz-Harald (Frentzen) was not good for the result of the Audi brand. We discussed this calmly, though, and clarified the situation. In tomorrows race were going to try and make the best of this qualifying result.
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #4
4th place, 1m 33.753s / 1m 33.541s / 1m 33.757s
“The qualifying was super. Im happy to be the quickest Audi driver. Big compliments to my team: The car was really perfect to drive in all three sessions it was like running on rails. Of course the icing on the cake would have been to clock the best time in the third session as well.
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #5
6th place, 1m 34.276s / 1m 33.777s / 1m 33.969s
“I really like the new qualifying format very much, it was pretty exciting. In the end, we werent quite at the front. The car obviously had more grip than I thought I suppose I wasnt fast enough. Sixth place the first time round is okay. And the points arent awarded until tomorrow. Were well prepared. Im looking forward to the race.
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Veltins Audi A4 DTM #6
8th place, 1m 34.258s / 1m 33.694s / 6m 32.580s
“The new qualifying format is good I think for the spectators, the DTM has now become even more interesting. Of course for us, the drivers, its a thrilling situation, too. Im sorry about the misunderstanding with Tom (Kristensen). Unfortunately the radio communications didnt work properly so that my team wasnt able to warn me.
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Siemens Audi A4 DTM #7
9th place, 1m 34.596 / 1m 34.036s
“In the qualifying practice, everything has to be perfect in terms of timing. In the second section we had planned to start on used tyres so the car would warm up in order to then make a quick pit stop. That worked according to plan and I was on a fast lap when I caught a white car that wouldnt move out of the way. To be eliminated that way was frustrating of course. But it wasnt intentional, it was a misunderstanding within the team.
Audi Sport Team Rosberg, S line Audi A4 DTM #15
11th place, 1m 34.478s / 1m 34.360s
“With the four sets of tyres I used I had inexplicable grip fluctuations. Now we need to find out the cause. Basically, I am not unhappy in comparison to Audis other cars from last year, but altogether were not as far up front as wed like to be so I look at the situation with mixed emotions.
Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Gebrauchtwagen plus Audi A4 DTM #16
13th place, 1m 34.487s / 1m 34.412s
“In essence, Im relatively satisfied, though not with the place I achieved. In comparison with my colleagues in the 2005-spec car our performance is up to par again. We went for risk and rebuilt the whole car for the qualifying. That was the right decision. From this starting position well probably have chances to finish the race in the points.
Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Castrol Audi A4 DTM #14
14th place, 1m 34.491s / 1m 34.482s
“I was full of confidence for the qualifying. Things did go pretty well, too, and at times we were running in second place. Unfortunately a Mercedes driver was exiting the pit lane just when I was on my fast lap and slowed me down so I wasnt able to improve my time. The Phoenix team did a super job. Its a shame we didnt make it into the next qualifying session. But wait till next time well be making it into the final round then, no doubt.
Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Playboy Audi A4 DTM #12
15th place, 1m 34.746s
“Im very disappointed about my qualifying result. My car suddenly had extreme understeer. We dont know yet what caused this. We now need to analyse this carefully.
Futurecom TME, Futurecom Audi A4 DTM #19
19th place, 1m 36.000s
“Actually, Im pretty satisfied with my first DTM qualifying because its only my second day in the car. This weekend I needed to learn so much. I tried my best and am only one tenth of a second from the other 2004-spec cars in the field. For the beginning this isnt so bad, especially considering that Ive got less experience than the other drivers.
Futurecom TME, Original Zubehor Audi A4 DTM #20
20th place, 1m 36.318s
“This wasnt exactly a perfect day for me. Unfortunately in the free practice session I slipped off the track when we wanted to practice for the qualifying. So in the morning I wasnt able to test how the car feels on new tyres. Consequently, we just had to go on a trial in the qualifying that didnt go all that well. Everything is new, Ive still got to learn a lot. Unfortunately, it wasnt such a good start. Hopefully Ill improve.
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): “The first qualifying of the season was very exciting. It was really a tricky situation, the cars were very close to each other. What is more, the track conditions changed. We had expected a bit more, but now weve got to live with this situation.
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): “Im rather disappointed because after our performance in the morning we should have been better. At times we had understeer with the car, another time our drivers encountered traffic. Everything was going against us. We thought wed be getting at least one car into the top eight. Our result is sobering, because our actual performance certainly had the potential for more.
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): “This was a pretty thrilling qualifying. In the first part we were very nervous of course, but things worked out well. In the second part we werent all that bad either. Considering its our first time, Im satisfied. We learned a lot and still have to apply quite a few things to the track yet.
The starting grid at Hockenheim
1 Jamie Green (Mercedes), 1m 33.473s
2 Bernd Schneider (Mercedes), 1m 33.557s
3 Bruno Spengler (Mercedes), 1m 33.650s
4 Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM), 1m 33.757s
5 Stefan Mucke (Mercedes), 1m 33.765s
6 Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM), 1m 33.969s
7 Mika Hakkinen (Mercedes), 1m 34.558s
8 Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Veltins Audi A4 DTM), 6m 32.580s
9 Tom Kristensen (Siemens Audi A4 DTM), 1m 34.036s
10 Daniel la Rosa (Mercedes), 1m 34.321s
11 Frank Stippler (S line Audi A4 DTM), 1m 34.360s
12 Alexandros Margaritis (Mercedes), 1m 34.401s
13 Timo Scheider (Audi Gebrauchtwagen:plus Audi A4 DTM), 1m 34.412s
14 Pierre Kaffer (Castrol Audi A4 DTM), 1m 34.482s
15 Christian Abt (Playboy Audi A4 DTM), 1m 34.746s
16 Jean Alesi (Mercedes), 1m 34.759s
17 Susie Stoddart (Mercedes), 1m 35.938s
18 Mathias Lauda (Mercedes), 1m 35.963s
19 Olivier Tielemans (Futurecom Audi A4 DTM), 1m 36.000s
20 Vanina Ickx (Original Zubehor Audi A4 DTM), 1m 36.318s