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- Curious DTM round at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben
- Mike Rockenfeller drives to the top of the standings
- Audi leads manufacturers’ and teams’ standings as well
Ingolstadt/Oschersleben – 65,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben saw an action-packed DTM race of the curious kind in which rain and safety car periods made for a tire gamble. The big winners of the day included title defender Mike Rockenfeller, who as the runner-up in the Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix took the lead of the drivers’ standings. Audi moved to the top in the manufacturers’ and teams’ standings as well.
Right in time for the start of the race the sky above the Motorsport Arena opened its floodgates. The drivers who started the race on harder standard tires lost position by position as the track became increasingly wet. They also included Mike Rockenfeller, who dropped as far back as 19th place. The decision of his team to call the reigning Champion in for an early mandatory pit stop proved to be a fortunate move. Favored by a total of three safety car periods Rockenfeller was able to recover the previously lost ground and in the end crossed the finish line in second place, trailing the winner Christian Vietoris by a gap of only 0.674 seconds.
“It was a chaotic race,” Rockenfeller said after the race. “I started on standard tires and that wasn’t a good choice for the initial conditions. For me, the race seemed to be over at that time. But then Team Phoenix made a superb decision and called me in for the tire change at exactly the right moment. Even victory would have still been possible. But second place is good, too. We scored a lot of points and clinched the lead of the standings. It was a great day for us. ‘Many thanks’ to Audi and to Team Phoenix.”
With Edoardo Mortara in the Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline two Audi drivers were on podium just like in the season opener at Hockenheim two weeks ago. The Italian was touched by Pascal Wehrlein in the hectic early phase, spun and dropped to 21st place. Mortara moved up his mandatory pit stop as well and thus took third place following a fierce battle with Vietoris and Rockenfeller.
An impressive recovery was also achieved by Miguel Molina, who in his Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM had retroactively lost his commandingly clinched pole position on Saturday due to a violation of the Technical Regulations and had to start the race from the last position on the grid. With the fastest race lap and sixth place the Spaniard confirmed Saturday’s performance.
The tragic hero of the race was Jamie Green, who in the Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg was in a class of his own in the race, advanced to the front from tenth place on the grid and gained an advantage of more than ten seconds that was subsequently ruined by the safety car periods. In the end, Green took a gamble, switched to slicks but on the last lap slipped and lost a possible seventh place.
Green together with Adrien Tambay (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM) and Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM) had made for an Audi one-two-three lead for large parts of the race. The safety cars destroyed their race as well. Positions seven (Scheider) and ten (Tambay) were only little consolation.
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM) and Nico Müller (Audi Financial Services Audi RS 5 DTM) in positions 13 and 16 finished out of the points.
“It was a crazy race with an unexpected outcome,” said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. “When you’ve got the fastest car in the field, are leading the race for some time with three cars and have more than a ten-second advantage it’s obviously a bit disappointing to take second and third place in the end. But today was a gamble that favored those who were able to take the biggest risks. It’s great that we again had two drivers on the podium and have taken the lead in the drivers’, manufacturers’ and the teams’ standings. The race also had two tragic heroes: Jamie Green, who was in a class of his own in the rain today and in the end went unrewarded. Plus: Miguel Molina, who drove the fastest lap. If he hadn’t been forced to start from the last position a lot more than sixth place would probably have been possible. He’s extremely fast this year.”
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “The DTM fans got to see plenty of action: fierce duels, slips, overtaking maneuvers and a gamble with the strategies that in the end rewarded those who took particularly high risks. With Mike (Rockenfeller) and Edo (Mortara) we were fortunate while others unfortunately went unrewarded although they drove great races. On the whole, our RS 5 DTM made a strong showing this weekend.”
Dieter Gass (Head of DTM): “Without any exaggeration: It was really very turbulent, from the beginning to the end. Whenever the cars are on the grid and rain sets in there’s boundless uncertainty. Further into the race, with the heavier rain and the safety car periods, the spectators were treated to plenty of action. We’ve got two Audi drivers on the podium – Mike (Rockenfeller) and Edoardo (Mortara). That’s a good result but I’m still a bit disappointed. For long stretches, it was possible for us to win on our own strength. Until shortly before the end we were running in front and still didn’t manage to win.”
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM), 2nd place
“The race was chaotic, I’m very happy with my podium finish. Halfway through the race, the situation for me didn’t look as though we’d be scoring points. ‘Thank you’ to all the people who made the decision to call me into the pits at the right time. I just tried to bring my car home undamaged.”
Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM), 3rd place
“A great feeling after such a disappointing year. We could have already been on podium at Hockenheim. Today, even more than third place would have been possible. When we fitted the second set of rain tires the inflation pressure was very low and initially I wasn’t able to build up any grip. I battled to finish my race. Third place is a good result.”
Miguel Molina (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM), 6th place
“It was a good race for me. After I clinched the pole position yesterday we unfortunately had to start from the very rear today. Advancing from the last position to sixth place in this crazy race is really good. On the whole, I’m happy because I drove a good race and at Budapest we’re hopefully going to be just as fast.”
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM), 7th place
“A disappointing result! Like at Hockenheim, we were headed for a podium and finished in seventh place – we can’t be happy with that. Today, the safety car periods ruined our race. It’s disappointing to suffer misfortune twice in succession. On a positive note, though, we had the speed. I’m not going to settle for that. Although seventh place gives me important points it’s not what I’d been hoping for.”
Adrien Tambay (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM), 10th place
“I still can’t completely come to grips with it. I started from second place and after the safety car suddenly found myself in tenth place again. Obviously, I’m pretty unhappy about that. We did a good job and could have finished on the podium again. That’s a real shame. But at least we were able to score points twice in succession. We’re going to continue to give everything and are hoping to be more fortunate in the next race.”
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM), 13th place
“I’ve got to take the time to look at the race again. But from my point of view there were a lot of accidents, a lot of safety car periods and a lot of bumpers contacting each other.”
Nico Müller (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM), 16th place
“I had a good start but when the rain got heavier running on standard tires was extremely difficult – the drivers on option tires of course flew past us. But compared to the other drivers on standards I was running well. After switching to rain tires I initially was struggling a bit until the temperature was right. Then, when the safety car period started, it was extremely hard to even maintain an overview of the situation and with our pit stop we weren’t very fortunate, which caused us to lose a lot of ground. When I finally tried to approach Ekström I lost another position. But I learned a lot in these difficult conditions and it was great fun.”
Jamie Green (Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM), 18th place
“A long story. My pace was good, I was running in front with a large advantage. Then the safety car was deployed and the field was pushed together. Following the safety car period, I was initially able to pull ahead but then had to make my mandatory pit stop. We opted for slicks, which was the right choice. I still overtook (Gary) Paffett and (Martin) Tomczyk. I was on Miguel’s (Molina) heels and in the chicane put on a bit too much pressure. That caused me to lose control of the rear and to retire on the last lap, which is very painful. But I showed my ability and my speed today, which was positive for me and for the team because this was only my second race with Team Rosberg.”
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): “A totally crazy race with many highs and lows. But in the end we’re pleased because we scored points and the season is still long. For the fans, it was a very interesting race. We’re very happy with Miguel Molina. He started from the last position and finished in sixth place – that’s a superb result and a little compensation for the qualifying session.”
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): “We scored points with both cars, both drivers drove good races. It was a gamble this time. We had to choose different strategies with both cars so that it would work out with one driver. Timo (Scheider) was in contention for a long time but after the safety car period his chance of taking a podium was gone. ‘Rocky’ (Mike Rockenfeller) was running at the rear in the beginning and in the end mounted the podium. We did a lot of things right today. When you’re traveling to Budapest as the leader of the drivers’ and teams’ standings you can be happy.”
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): “Misfortune has still not left us. Jamie (Green), from my point of view, drove a sensational race. The safety car killed him. The decision to switch to slicks at the end wasn’t wrong, but the excursion shortly before the end was of course a shame. Nico (Müller) first had to learn how to drive a DTM car in the rain. It was going pretty well for him and in tenth place he was already nibbling on points. Then the spin happened. But you can’t fault him for that. As I said before – he drove the RS 5 DTM in rain for the first time today.”