|May 16, 2004
Mattias Ekström Clinches First Victory for Audi
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)
Martin Tomczyk (Audi Sport Team Abt / Audi A4 DTM #6)
Emanuele Pirro (Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest / Audi A4 DTM #44)
Tom Kristensen (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline / Audi A4 DTM #12)
Christian Abt (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline / Audi A4 DTM #11)
Frank Biela (Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest / Audi A4 DTM #45)
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."