Ingolstadt, October 22, 2010 – On October 31 the DTM will visit the Adria International Raceway near the Italian lagoon city of Venice. There, in May 2004, Audi celebrated its first victory with the Audi A4 DTM. Accordingly, the Audi squad has fond memories of the round in Italy, the second-largest European market of the Audi brand outside Germany that saw the delivery of 57,204 vehicles in 2009.
Back to the starting point: On the last October weekend in 2010 Audi will return with the DTM to Adria, the venue of the first victory of the Audi A4 DTM. At Adria, on May 16, 2004, Mattias Ekström achieved the first triumph of the brand’s new race touring car with a 3.1-second lead as early as in the car’s third race. To date, 25 further single exploits complement its track record, plus the champion’s titles of Mattias Ekström (2004, 2007) and Timo Scheider (2008, 2009). Since Audi’s return to the DTM with a “factory” commitment at the beginning of the 2004 season the score has been 4:3 in the championship decisions between Audi and Mercedes-Benz. In addition, Audi is the first manufacturer to have clinched a title hat-trick in DTM history, in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
“Needless to say we would have liked to again keep the championship open a little longer this season,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “But this year things just weren’t running smoothly for us, and our rival was as strong as usual. The title fight is over for us, but the season isn’t: we want to make as good a showing as possible at Adria and Shanghai and win these races.”
Strong Germans
Most recently, the two Germans Timo Scheider and Mike Rockenfeller left a particularly strong impression. After experiencing a difficult start to the season Scheider has long regained his usual strength, and the first victory since Barcelona in 2009 just seems to be a matter of time. At Hockenheim, Rockenfeller was again the best driver of a 2008-specification vehicle and figures on chances of finishing the season as the driver of an older-generation model with the best point score. “I’m just seven points behind Jamie (Green), that’s a gap you can certainly make up,” says “Rocky” with a fighting spirit. The Le Mans winner, who will celebrate his 27th birthday on race day, has never competed in a DTM race there, but in 2003 and 2004 the German contested the Porsche Carrera Cup on the 2.702-kilometre circuit in the Veneto region.
Four of the nine current Audi DTM drivers – Mattias Ekström, Timo Scheider, Martin Tomczyk and Markus Winkelhock – have previously raced in DTM cars at Adria. Alexandre Prémat knows the track from the Formula 3 Euro Series. The circuit is new territory only to Oliver Jarvis, Miguel Molina and Katherine Legge.
“New old” conditions
The current Audi A4 DTM (internal designation: “R14 plus”) has never been driven at Adria before, but the Audi engineers are certainly familiar with this circuit. The first generation of this touring car (the “R11”) celebrated its first victory there in 2004. “From experience in those days we know that high braking performance, good traction and mechanical grip in the narrow turns are focal topics,” explains Dr. Martin Mühlmeier, Head of Technology at Audi Sport. “The tarmac on the track makes no special demands but in combination with the Dunlop tyres produces very typical friction coefficients. Of course the old data generated by the 2004-specification Audi A4 cannot be directly used any more. But in combination with current vehicle data we can use it as a basis for simulations. These results help us with our preparations, for example in selecting the gear ratios and similar aspects.”