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    By admin


    May 16, 2004


    Source: Audi Sport

    As early as in its third race the new Audi A4 DTM has clinched its first victory. In the hot battle at Adria International Speedway near Venice (Italy) Mattias Ekström kept his cool: having started from pole, the DTM’s 25-year-old shooting star positioned himself at the front of the field, setting the pace over 47 laps with a dominant lead, then making the Audi works team win its first race in the DTM since 1992. For the other Audi drivers, the race turned into a rather turbulent experience: after touching the car of team-mate Martin Tomczyk, Tom Kristensen received a drive-through penalty, as did Christian Abt for a clash with Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Emanuele Pirro for speeding in the pit lane. Frank Biela was forced to retire, because his left rear wheel had not been properly fastened during the pit stop.

    Quotes after the race

    Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt / Audi A4 DTM #5)

    1st, – 3.156s

    “The race seemed incredibly long to me, as it was very hot and the track is so slow. If you lead the field far ahead of the competition, you count each lap. We were absolutely bent on clinching this victory and have truly deserved it. Audi was quickest in all of the practice sessions, I took pole and controlled the pace during the race. For me it’s been a perfect weekend with a perfect car and a perfect team. I wouldn’t mind, if things continued going this way.”

    Martin Tomczyk (Audi Sport Team Abt / Audi A4 DTM #6)

    8th, + 35.301s

    “Today, there’d been more in it for us than just one point. I had a sensational start. Mattias and I had devised a strategy of how I could move up in the first few laps, and this worked out exactly how we’d planned it. Then there was some scrapping with the Mercedes drivers and, ultimately, the collision with Tom. That was unfortunate, to be sure, but certainly not intentional on his part. He’s already apologized to me for this mishap.”

    Emanuele Pirro (Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest / Audi A4 DTM #44)

    9th, + 45.253s

    “We now have to analyse the data to find out the reason why I went above the speed limit in the pit lane. The drive-through penalty cost us well-deserved points, because my speed in the race was very good, as were the pit stops. All of the team members are truly giving their best. It’s too bad that we missed scoring points by such a slim margin. But, despite this result, I’m convinced that we’ve made another step forward.”

    Tom Kristensen (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline / Audi A4 DTM #12)

    10th, + 58.130s

    “Clearly, the collision with Martin was my mistake, but it was simply one of those situations that can happen in any race. I had no chance to get out of Martin’s way. I tried not to hit him but touched him slightly nonetheless. This slight contact had serious consequences, though. After the drive-through penalty, that was it for me as far as the race was concerned.”

    Christian Abt (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline / Audi A4 DTM #11)

    retirement (result of crash)

    “My start was great. I was able to work my way up to some extent but then got caught behind Frentzen. He was very slow, as though he was having some problems with his car. As there was quite a long line building up behind us, I wanted to overtake him at all cost. I spotted a hole, but he closed it up. That’s why I hit him. That I’d be receiving a penalty for this was clear to me on the spot. All of this, though, wouldn’t have been so tragic, if another car hadn’t hit me in the rear later. As this affected the car’s suspension, there was no point in continuing the race.”

    Frank Biela (Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest / Audi A4 DTM #45)

    retirement (loss of wheel)

    “As far as performance goes, this weekend basically went a lot better than the previous ones. I had a good start and managed to get through the first hectic lap fairly well. For some reason, though, my left rear wheel wasn’t tightened properly during my first scheduled pit stop. That was the end for my race. We now have to analyse what happened.”

    Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): “I’m absolutely elated. In the first two races, already, we were at the very front of the field and on the podium – now, we’ve finally reaped the well-earned fruits of our work. Mattias was simply perfect, and his two pit stops were first-class – and, I have no doubt that the party tonight will be appropriate to the occasion as well.”

    Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest): “What happened to Frank is really a pity, because he was in a good position during the race. I feel sorry for the boys, who are now blaming themselves incredibly for this mishap. We’ll find out what actually happened and learn our lessons from this. Emanuele drove a really strong race. So, the sixth place, at least, should have been in it for him. Unfortunately, he exceeded the speed limit, which caused his chance for points to evaporate. Having moved to the front of the field from position 16 on the grid was a top achievement, which, unfortunately, was not rewarded.”

    Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi motorsport): “Mattias drove an excellent race and has fought for this exploit together with his team. The pit stops were super, and the strategy was right. Everything was running perfectly with him. Unfortunately, this was not the case with the others. We’ll discuss these things and improve our performance on that side of the house next time. Altogether, though, it was a fantastic achievement that we can be proud of. We’ve seen that the Audi A4 DTM is truly capable of translating its potential into action. Now, we need to ensure that things will continue going this way for us in the upcoming races.”




     
     
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