April 22, 2004

Tom Kristensen about Hockenheim
Source: Audi Sport

The DTM (German Touring Car Masters) season traditionally opens at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. The season opener is a double premiere for Audi works driver Tom Kristensen: The Dane simultaneously makes his DTM debut and completes his first race on the new circuit in Hockenheim. Tom Kristensen talks about the 4.574 kilometre long circuit, on which the DTM finale is also held at the beginning of October. 

You drove for the first time around the revised circuit in Hockenheim on Friday. What was your impression? 
Kristensen: "A very good one. The track has retained the typical character of the old one with its long straights, but several very interesting sections have been added. Top speed remains a very important factor that you simply can not afford to ignore during the set-up. Some areas are tricky because there are so many different lines possible through the grass or gravel due to the lack of kerbs." 

Is the circuit difficult to learn? 
Kristensen: "I think the two last corners are the most difficult. You can lose a lot of time there if you don't find the right line. At the hairpin we brake from sixth to first gear. Especially if you also have a lot of traffic around you in the race it's not easy to find the limit." 

Where is it possible to overtake in Hockenheim? 
Kristensen: "Going in to the second corner and at the end of the long straight are definitely the best places. If your rivals are feeling charitable it is perhaps also possible in the Mercedes Arena. And in the Sachs Curve it's really only possible if somebody makes a mistake under braking."

How important is the start here in Hockenheim? 
Kristensen: "The start is important everywhere. Here at Hockenheim we enter a right hand corner after only a few hundred metres. If you happen to be side by side with another car there, things will get tight and you will almost certainly lose time. So, the best solution is that you don't have anybody alongside or close in front." 

The grandstands in the Motodrom will be full on Sunday. As a driver, are you actually aware of what's going on? 
Kristensen: "Absolutely. However, you do see the huge amount of people the Audi flags. It really is a unique feeling, which is hardly found on any other circuit."