August 28, 2005

Zandvoort as Seen by Audi Driver Allan McNish
Source: Audi Communication Motorsport

The Audi family has many fond memories of the race track at Zandvoort: in 2002, Laurent Aiello clinched the Championship title on the dune circuit. In 2004, Mattias Ekström claimed victory to pave the way for his title win. This year, the starting grid again promises a thrilling race: five Audi A4 DTM cars will start from the top ten positions, the two contenders for the title, Mattias Ekström and Gary Paffett, are lined up directly behind one another. Allan McNish is the driver with the best view of the impending duel. The Scotsman comments on his impressions of the 4.307-kilometre circuit along the North Sea coast.

How would you describe the track at Zandvoort?
Allan McNish: "The Zandvoort circuit has a very natural character, with all the up- and downhill stretches and slopes of the landscape having been preserved. The track is very fast and flowing. Even the new part, which I hadn't known until this weekend, has been designed very well. The architects managed to fully integrate it into the circuit's original character."

What are the crucial places for you at Zandvoort?
Allan McNish: "Actually, the entire circuit is a crucial place. Particularly the middle sector with its three hairpins is tricky. If you really push, you can gain a tenth of a second there, but it's just as easy to lose three tenths. You can definitely attack - but you need to be careful."

Where do you see the best opportunities for overtaking?
Allan McNish: "Certainly when braking into the first corner - even its name, 'Tarzan Bocht', suggests that it's an action-prone place. At the first and second hairpin it might work as well."

The first corner after the start is a tight right-hander. Is this a dangerous turn?
Allan McNish: "Oh yes, very much so. When 20 DTM drivers full of emotions on cold tyres and with cold brake discs come flying in fifth gear and then have to downshift into second, it'll probably get hairy."

Typical for Zandvoort is the sand being blown on the track from the dunes. What influence does this have?
Allan McNish: "During the test sessions, this is really quite difficult. Conditions actually change from one minute to the next. A good example of this was yesterday's qualifying and the Super pole: within 15 minutes, the conditions had changed completely, which resulted in a disadvantage for the first drivers going out in the Super pole. But in the race it doesn't matter because the conditions are the same for everyone."