February 19, 2005

New Audi A4 DTM has Hit the Track
Source: Audi Motorsport

The new Audi A4 DTM is running. On Monday, Audi "works" driver Tom Kristensen took the race touring car with which Audi is targeting the successful defence of its title in Europe's most popular touring car series around its eagerly anticipated maiden laps on a test track in Southern Europe. In subsequent test drives, Kristensen and the current DTM champion, Mattias Ekstrom, completed more than 1,000 kilometres with the champion car's successor. "This was primarily a roll-out," said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "There were no bugs worth mentioning, the first impression rendered by the new Audi A4 DTM is highly positive."
 
Owing to the road car change, the Audi A4 DTM of the model year 2005 features a completely new design, with its striking single-frame grille and new body shape clearly distinguishing itself from last year's victorious contender. "We've tried to build a car that would be as perfect as possible," Dr Ullrich said. "The new A4 DTM not only sports a more dynamic look but in effect is even more dynamic than its successful predecessor."
 
This impression was confirmed by Tom Kristensen: "The new A4 looks aggressive, it is aggressive and it feels aggressive," said the six-time winner of Le Mans who performed his first roll-out for Audi. "This was a really special feeling. I just couldn't wait to see what had happened at Audi Sport following the title win. Ever since I've driven for Audi, I've known nothing but one direction: moving forwards. And I wasn't disappointed this time either."
 
At mid-point of the five-day tests, Kristensen handed the wheel over to Mattias Ekström, who had come directly from the Sweden Rally, filled with the same eager anticipation about his new racer as his team-mate from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. "I really like the new A4 DTM," commented the champion. "After only a few laps I felt right at home. Of course there's still quite a bit of work ahead of us and we need to find the best set-up. But I'm convinved that the new A4 will suit my style of driving even better than last year's car."
 
The first opportunity of taking the wheel of the 2004 champion car was given to new signing Frank Stippler, who had the chance to acclimatise himself to the DTM over a three-day period. "I've learnt a lot and consistently continued to develop my style of driving," said the DTM rookie. "What's impressed me in particular is the professional calibre of the work at Audi Sport and in the DTM. Technical meetings of this type are completely new to me."
 
Over the last two testing days, Christian Abt took over the car of his new team-mate. The seasoned racer primarily did component and tyre tests which marked the debut of his collaboration in the DTM with the engineers of Audi Sport Team Joest, for which he is driving this year. "The rapport between us is excellent and we've made good progress," said Christan Abt, endorsing another positive assessment of the tests.
 
In the 2005 season, DTM Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline is going to start with four new Audi A4 DTM cars. Audi Sport Team Joest will be contesting four vehicles from last year that were completely dismantled during the winter and rebuilt again from scratch. The DTM season begins on April 17. On April 5 the DTM will present itself to the general public in Hamburg.