Great disappointment for Audi at home round
A starting accident deprived Audi of the chance for victory in the DTM home round at the Norisring. In front of 135,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) Mike Rockenfeller in the Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix on position six was the best Audi driver.
After the extreme heat on both practice days, rainy weather and cooler temperatures on race day made for completely different conditions that caused a major commotion right in the first turn. Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline), who had started from the second row, was pushed into the car in front of him and forced to park his Red Bull Audi A5 DTM, which had been the quickest Audi throughout the weekend, with a heavily damaged front end as early as after the first lap.
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi A5 DTM/Audi Sport Team Rosberg), as the driver of the second-best Audi in qualifying, became entangled in the starting collisions as well. The Italian was initially able to continue the race at the end of the field but had to retire after 41 laps due to a damaged radiator.
Mike Rockenfeller was one of the few Audi racers to make it through turn one unharmed but lost valuable time at the first pit stop due to a jammed wheel nut. "In addition, I was struggling a bit with the second set of tires,” said "Rocky”, who drove the second-fastest lap shortly before the end of the race and managed to advance to position six. "When you start from eleventh on the grid and finish in the points that’s definitely okay because the battle in the DTM is very tough this year. The eight points I scored were very important for me. My performance in the race wasn’t so bad and I was fortunate in the first turn.”
Rockenfeller was the only Audi driver to finish in the points at the Norisring. Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A5 DTM) and Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM) barely missed them on positions eleven and twelve after fierce battles and a few incidents of body contact.
Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra A5 DTM) was running on a strong seventh place after the starting lap, drove the fourth-fastest lap but became entangled in several collisions on the slippery track and after a drive-through penalty occupied 15th place. Timo Scheider took the AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM car to the finish on position 16 despite the fact that his car had been heavily damaged in the starting collision and an early switch to slicks did not pay off. Rahel Frey (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM) finished the race in 17th place.
"This was more than disappointing today. For us, the race was practically over as early as in turn one when ‘Eki’ was pushed onto the car in front of him and almost all of our vehicles became entangled in the collisions,” commented Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "Mike Rockenfeller got through the first turn unharmed but lost a lot of time at his first pit stop. I’m particularly sorry for the whole squad that again worked extremely hard during the past days and weeks. But I’m sure that this work will be rewarded at the Nürburgring.”
The Nürburgring will see the next battle for points on August 19. In between, on July 15, the DTM’s eagerly awaited stadium race will be held at Munich’s Olympia Park that attracted 54,000 spectators on its premiere last year and at which Audi driver Edoardo Mortara clinched victory on one of the two days.