|September 10, 2004
First "Match Ball" for Audi in the DTM
To be capable of winning races and to fight for the championship - this was Audi's season goal for their works comeback in the DTM. The expectations have already been more than fulfilled: The Audi A4 DTM has already won four times in its debut year, and at the penultimate race at Brno (Czech Republic) Audi driver Mattias Ekström has the first "match ball" in the championship battle. The Swede travels to Brno, where the DTM starts for the first time since 1992, with a 13 point advantage. That means that a second place for Ekström would be enough to wrap up the title early.
All six Audi drivers tested at Brno before the start of the season and have known since then that tyre wear is very high around the circuit in the Czech Republic. Therefore, strategy will also play an important roll in the race. The fans can look forward to an exciting DTM race.
Quotes before the race
Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt / Audi A4 DTM #5): "With a 13 point lead it's safe to say I have a good starting position. However, the most important thing for me is that I personally have everything firmly under control and don't have to rely on the support or bad luck of others. I know my colleagues from Mercedes all too well, and know exactly that they won't give up as long as they have the smallest chance of snatching the title from my grasp. But it will be difficult for them as my team, my team mates and I are in top form and we will fight."
Martin Tomczyk (Audi Sport Team Abt / Audi A4 DTM #6): "I think that the cars will be very evenly matched at Brno. Because the championship battle is also coming to a head, I'm expecting a really hard and closely fought race. I would personally like to continue exactly where I finished with my second places at Oschersleben and Zandvoort. I want to defend my position as best German and play my part so that Mattias can win the title and we can take the team championship."
Christian Abt (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline / Audi A4 DTM #11): "The last time I raced at Brno was during my Formula 3 times. I think that the circuit should suit our A4 particularly well. In the Czech Republic it is very important for us that we deliver a strong team performance as we did at Zandvoort. We can only ward off the last attacks from the Mercedes camp in this way."
Tom Kristensen (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline / Audi A4 DTM #12): "Brno is one of my favourite circuits, because it has lots of fast and medium fast sections. There is only one corner that isn't taken in at least third gear. Audi is in brilliant form at the moment. Obviously I'll be aiming for another good result for myself - but also to support Mattias in his fight for the championship."
Emanuele Pirro (Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest / Audi A4 DTM #44): "We tested at Brno before the start of the season, that's why I know the circuit well. It's certainly an advantage compared to the previous races, because I can concentrate solely on working with the car without having to simultaneously learn a new circuit. Our A4 also suits Brno, that's why I'm confident of being able to finish in the points again."
Frank Biela (Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest / Audi A4 DTM #45): "I still know Brno from the Touring Car World Championship and the old DTM. At first glance the circuit looks very easy with its huge run-off areas, but it is actually very demanding. It's not easy to find the right set-up for the long drawn out and relatively fast corners. Because there is actually only one line at Brno, overtaking will also be very difficult. My goal is clear: I want to finally finish in the points after having narrowly missed scoring one at Zandvoort."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "Even though Mattias has the first match ball at Brno, we are all keeping very calm and relaxed in Kempten. Mattias knows what he is capable of and is very relaxed - this rubs off on the entire team. With perfect pit stops and another one-two at Zandvoort last time out we proved that we stay cool even under enormous pressure. We will continue to behave in exactly the same way in the Czech Republic."
Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest): "We know the circuit at Brno from the test there in April. That means we don't have to start from scratch. From the tests we know that the tyre wear is extreme, this will therefore be an important factor. After having just missed Super Pole on several occasions we finally want to get in the top ten in qualifying and score more points in the race."
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "We assume that the chances at Brno will be very evenly distributed. The entire team is particularly well motivated following the wins in the last two races. We will try to make the most of this. Our goal is to leave Brno with a sufficiently large points' advantage, as it will be very difficult to be right at the front at Hockenheim due to the circuit characteristics."