|May 5, 2012
Audi is strongest brand on the five front rows & quotes after qualifying
Source: Audi Motorsport
· Five Audi A5 DTM cars in the top ten in qualifying at the Lausitzring
· Mike Rockenfeller is best Audi driver on grid position four
· 1,100 Audi mechanics are keeping their fingers crossed on Sunday
Ingolstadt/Klettwitz, - Title defender Audi showed a solid team performance in qualifying for the second DTM race of the 2012 DTM season at the Lausitzring. With five A5 DTM cars in the top ten, Audi is the strongest brand on the five front rows of the grid.
Qualifying at Lausitz confirmed the picture that had already become apparent at the Hockenheim season opener a week ago. All three manufacturers are competing on an equal footing in the 2012 DTM; the time gaps are minimal and only minute details are decisive. And as at Hockenheim, vehicles from all three brands are again on the two front rows.
The quickest Audi driver in qualifying was Mike Rockenfeller in the Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix who had to skip the race at the Lausitzring last year due to his serious accident at the Le Mans 24 Hours. "Rocky" was the quickest in Q1, sixth in Q2 and second in Q2, and fourth in Q4.
"Grid position four is basically not a poor result," commented Rockenfeller. "But I'd certainly thought that more was possible in Q4. The first sector wasn't very good, that's when I was struggling a bit with the tires. I think I squeezed the maximum out of it nonetheless because in the free practice sessions we fully concentrated on the set-up for the race. We've got a good starting base for tomorrow."
The second-best Audi racer in qualifying was again Edordo Mortara who in his Playboy Audi A5 DTM from Audi Sport Team Rosberg barely missed Q4 by 62 thousandths of a second. The Italian is starting into the race on Sunday from position five.
Mattias Ekström as the best driver of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline secured position eight on the grid in his Red Bull Audi A5 DTM. The Swede, who is currently the best Audi driver in the overall standings, made two tiny mistakes in Q3 that ultimately cost the crucial time.
The fifth row is shared by Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM) and youngster Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra A5 DTM), who at the second DTM qualifying event in his young career reached Q3 for the first time.
Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A5 DTM) missed Q3 by just 32 thousandths of a second. The Portuguese is on position eleven. Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM) touched a curb in Q3 and damaged his A5 DTM in the process. The two-time DTM Champion will start from position twelve. Rahel Frey (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM) will enter the race from position 22.
"This was a similarly thrilling qualifying session as the one a week ago," analyzed Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "The three manufacturers are so close together that you can't afford to make the slightest mistake. We could see that again today. With five vehicles, Audi has the strongest representation on the five front rows of the grid. At Hockenheim, we had pole but weren't strong enough in the race. I'm hoping for us to be able to turn that around here. In any event, it'll be very thrilling tomorrow."
For the race on Sunday (live on "Das Erste" starting at 13:45 - local time) a similarly impressive crowd as at Hockenheim a week ago is expected - including around 1,100 mechanics from Audi operations in the Region East who will be avidly keeping their fingers crossed for the Audi racers and can be recognized by their red Audi caps.
Quotes after qualifying at the Lausitzring
Ingolstadt/Lausitz, May 5, 2012 – Five Audi A5 DTM cars are starting from the five front rows of the grid at the DTM round at the Lausitzring (Sunday live on "Das Erste" starting at 13:45 Uhr – local time). Quotes after qualifying.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Getting five of our eight cars into the third qualifying section was a strong team performance. Unfortunately, only Rocky (Mike Rockenfeller) then made into the last four and on the second row. We saw what happened in the race after our good qualifying result at Hockenheim and will try and do it exactly the other way around here at the Lausitzring. Five cars in the top ten are good prerequisites for this. Congratulations to BMW on a good performance."
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM), grid position 4
"Q3 was very good, the lap was great. I was second and thought it would be enough for the front row. But in Q4 I had a relatively fair to middling lap; that's why it wasn't enough for more than fourth place. On the whole, I'm pleased. My team gave me a superb car. We worked hard. Finding balance today wasn't very easy. As far as the set-up went, we mainly concentrated on tomorrow. I'm hoping that this will pay off in the race."
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi A5 DTM), grid position 5
"I'm very happy with the work we did with the team. After grid position four at Hockenheim I'm fifth now and on a track that actually doesn't suit me particularly well. After the good qualifying event I'm now very optimistic for tomorrow's race."
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM), grid position 8
"Eighth place isn't really exciting. In the last session I made a small mistake; that can easily happen in the DTM. Unless you're perfect you'll suddenly find yourself in mid-field. Sunday will be a thrilling day."
Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM), grid position 9
"For me, things went better than they did at Hockenheim; I'm very pleased. The front of the field today was extremely close, that's why unfortunately we didn't make it into Q3, but I'm expecting quite a bit for tomorrow."
Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra A5 DTM), grid position 10
"All in all, I'm not unhappy. I made it into the top ten for the first time, which is good in such a close field. But I made a small mistake, which was a shame. Now we're working for the race to find a good set-up."
Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A5 DTM), grid position 11
"I missed Q3 by three hundredths of a second. The second set of new tires didn't work so well. On P11 we're close to the top ten and are hoping for a good race on Sunday."
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM), grid position 12
"We took a risk in Q1 and went out very late. Due to the temperature the track was in a different condition than this morning. We had big problems with that. In the first segment I hit a curb and afterward the steering was crooked. It was repaired and then the car was okay but I couldn't attack one hundred percent compared with this morning."
Rahel Frey (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM), grid position 22
"Unfortunately, we're on the last position again. Actually, that's not where I wanted to be again. As at Hockenheim, we'll have to give everything for the race and see what'll be possible with a good strategy."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "This wasn't a qualifying event to our liking. We weren't able to keep the pace of the competition. We've got to carefully analyze this. But those who know us know that we'll be fighting hard in the race."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "Qualifying was a thriller just like the one at Hockenheim. The air is thin and to advance you've got to give everything in each session. Driving throughout without making any mistakes is extremely difficult. We managed to put both cars into the top ten. Mike (Rockenfeller) was the only Audi in Q4 but didn't get it one hundred percent right, so now he's on position four of the grid. But last year we started from P4 with Martin (Tomczyk) as well and won."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "It's a shame that Filipe (Albuquerque) dropped out of the top ten by such a narrow margin. Position five with Edo (Mortara) is the right side of the grid at the start. After he was struggling a bit in free practice this morning I'm pleased with him now."
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