June 18, 2004

Audi Comes to DTM "Home Game" as Leader
Source: Audi Sport  

The timing could hardly have been better: Audi works driver Mattias Ekström has taken the DTM championship lead in his Audi A4 DTM just in time for the "home game" at the Norisring in Nuremberg. The goal at the short 2.300-kilometre street circuit between the football stadium and the Dutzendteich lake is clear: The Audi works team want to defend their lead in Europe's most popular touring car series in front of their home fans and make Mattias Ekström the "mid-season champion".

The Swede stood on the podium at the every one of the first four races. Third place at the debut of the Audi A4 DTM at Hockenheim and a narrowly missed victory at Estoril were followed by wins at Adria and at the EuroSpeedway. Second best Audi driver, and as fifth overall the best German driver is his younger team colleague Martin Tomczyk, for which the Norisring is a genuine home race for the youngster from Rosenheim just as it is for Christian Abt from Kempten.

The race at the Norisring starts at 2:00 p.m. local time on Sunday June 27. 

Quotes before the race 

Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt / Audi A4 DTM #5): "I still have a score to settle with the Norisring. Although I was nearly always very good there, the last piece of the jigsaw never quite fitted. This year everything is in place - which is obviously very good, after all we are in the middle of a battle for the championship." 

Martin Tomczyk (Audi Sport Team Abt / Audi A4 DTM #6): "In spite of the pleasant atmosphere, Norisring really isn't my favourite circuit - and more than likely never will be. I simply prefer fast tracks. I've now been driving at the Norisring for six years, and although I've finished in the podium things never really went well for me there. Nevertheless, I will try to make the best out of it."

Christian Abt (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline / Audi A4 DTM #11): "The Norisring is my circuit a good result is definitely on the cards. Perhaps at first glance the circuit looks simple, but the tightrope walk between driving on the limit and touching the wall is extremely tricky. For sure you need plenty of experience and must also be in top physical condition to master the constant braking and acceleration."

Tom Kristensen (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline / Audi A4 DTM #12): "My telephone did not stop ringing after Le Mans. An incredible amount of people have congratulated me on my sixth victory, even Jacky Ickx. I was very pleased about it. However, now it's back to the day job: DTM - and, with Norisring, one of the most important races of the series awaits us. The Norisring is finally a DTM track that I know. Unfortunately that doesn't count for much there, as the track is easy to learn. It will be without doubt a very special race for me, because so many Audi fans will be there - and also many Audi Sport employees who are not usually at the races but are an important factor in our success." 

Emanuele Pirro (Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest / Audi A4 DTM #44): "Because there aren't so many corners, the Norisring is not necessarily the perfect track for our A4 DTM. Nevertheless, I'm really looking forward to the race. It is Audi's home race, and as far as the public reception and media interest is concerned probably the most important race of the year. That's why I want to do as well as possible, to continue my upward trend, score points and to be one of the best Audi drivers again." 

Frank Biela (Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest / Audi A4 DTM #45): "For me, and presumably almost every other German racing driver, the Norisring is the best race in Germany, a fantastic event with a unique atmosphere. It is the German Monaco, even if the track could do with a few more corners and isn't exactly very challenging. It is always incredibly close there, which then makes the thing difficult. For me personally, things never went very well at the Norisring, and the way the season has been going up till now wasn't exactly satisfying. However, two minuses make a plus - maybe things will take a turn for the better in both respects." 

Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "It is a great feeling to come to our home race as championship leader. We have promised our many thousands of fans quite a lot: In addition to Mattias defending the championship lead, the team performance is of paramount importance. We want to bring our four A4 racers home in the top ten, so that the spectators witness a fantastic Audi show at the front."

Ralf Jüttner (Technical director Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest): "Norisring brings with it a fantastic atmosphere, many spectators and it is the home race for Audi. If possible we want to continue the positive trend from EuroSpeedway and try to score points with both cars. 72 laps around the Norisring will be long and hard, especially for the brakes. However, we were already well sorted at Adria. We know what it's all about at the Norisring are well prepared and will, as usual, practice pit stops during the week before the race." 

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "A massive weekend awaits the DTM. More spectators are expected to visit the Norisring than ever before, even additional grandstands were erected. The Norisring is our `home game', and the interest among the Audi employees is correspondingly high. We will do everything within our power to do a good job for the fans. At the same time, we know that this will be particularly difficult in Nuremberg. However, we are well prepared for the specific requirements of the track."






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