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DTM: Disappointing Finale for Audi

Ingolstadt/Hockenheim, October 21, 2012 – 128,000 spectators in perfect weather witnessed a nail-biting finale of the 2012 DTM season, which Audi finished as the runner-up in the manufacturers’ classification. 

The best Audi driver in the last race of the season was Edoardo Mortara, who at the wheel of the Playboy Audi A5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg advanced from eighth on the grid to finish in sixth place. “This was one the toughest and most strenuous races in my career,” said the Italian who was the only Audi driver to score points at Hockenheim. “I’m pleased to see that Audi Sport Team Rosberg was able to finish the season as the best Audi team with this result. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite manage to be the best Audi driver in the end as well. But considering how the season started for us here I’m relatively happy on the whole nonetheless. We continuously improved.”

Overall, for Audi, the DTM finale did not go according to plan in any way. Mattias Ekström collided twice with the BMW of the American Joey Hand on the starting lap and damaged the front section of his Red Bull Audi A5 DTM in the process. The Swede held on to fourth place nonetheless before the front right wheel was not properly tightened at the first pit stop and Ekström was forced to retire. Despite this, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline secured overall victory in the Hankook Pit Stop Award competition with which the DTM’s exclusive tire partner recognizes the quickest stops.

Despite a retirement Mike Rockenfeller in the Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix finished the 2012 season as the best Audi driver in fourth place overall. Rockenfeller retired at Hockenheim after a collision on the first lap. His team-mate Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM) went off the track with brake problems on lap 26. Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra A5 DTM) was not able to see the checkered flag either after a collision with Robert Wickens on the starting lap.

Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A5 DTM), who finished in the top ten at seven of the ten races in 2012, in eleventh place barely missed scoring another point. Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM) recovered from the last position on the grid to twelfth place despite a drive-through penalty. The two-time DTM Champion had been relegated to the rear of the grid because his car had weighed in too light after qualifying.

The E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM driven by Rahel Frey was damaged in the turbulent starting lap as well. But the Swiss did not give up and took the damaged car across the finish line in 16th place.

“Sincere congratulations to Bruno Spengler and BMW,” expressed Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich at the end of what was a difficult 2012 DTM season for Audi. “We simply weren’t strong enough this year. In the DTM everything’s got to fit if you want to win. And sometimes you also need a bit of fortune. This was another weekend on which we didn’t have that fortune. During the winter, we’re going to work even harder on bringing the championship back to Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm next year.”

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “First of all, congratulations to BMW. It was a strong performance; we experienced a thrilling finale. For us, it’s been a disappointing season but we’re looking ahead. Next year, there’ll be new opportunities and that’s what we’re preparing for.”

Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi A5 DTM), 6th place
“It’s been a tough season with a number of highs and lows. I was the only Audi driver who was able to win races and I’m a bit proud of this. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to make the car more competitive next year. We mainly have to deliver more consistent performances because there were a few races in which we were really good with the Audi A5 DTM.”

Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A5 DTM), 11th place
“My start wasn’t perfect. In turn one ‘Rocky’ spun and I put him on a straight line again. My car was damaged a bit at the front in the process and as a result of this started understeering. Team Rosberg had a good strategy afterwards and I was able to drive very solid times. In eleventh place, I’m one position short of the points. On the whole, it was a difficult race.”

Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM), 12th place
“Starting from position 22 and making it through the first lap without trouble was a difficult job. But we managed it pretty well. After that, I had a good car, but I got stuck in traffic and wasn’t able to drive freely. That’s why we tried a different strategy. Unfortunately, that didn’t gain us a position. Later in the race, I had contact with (David) Coulthard and received a drive-through penalty. Finishing in twelfth place meant that I managed to recover ten positions. That sounds good but as Audi squads we had a totally different aim here: we wanted to win the manufacturers’ championship.”

Rahel Frey (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM), 16th place
“I’m definitely not happy with my race. My start was great, and so was the first lap, but then I had contact with (Christian) Vietoris, who had started a few positions in front of me. That, too, proved how well I was running. But after the body contact the car was no longer in balance. I then fought up to the finish but wasn’t really able to do anything. Looking at the year as a whole, I’ve achieved my two most important aims: making it into Q2 and scoring points. It took a little while until I gelled with my new team and the communication was optimal. After that, I continually improved and felt comfortable.”

Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM), retirement
“This wasn’t a good weekend. We had a brake problem today. That’s why I wasn’t able to finish the race. In addition, my pace wasn’t good. We tried to overtake a couple of drivers with a different strategy but that didn’t work out the way we’d been hoping it would either. The past season wasn’t good. Especially at the beginning of the season I was lacking performance in qualifying. Now I’m pinning my hopes on next year.”

Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A5 DTM), retirement
“It was a short race. My start was okay, but unfortunately I had a small incident of body contact in turn one and the car was damaged. After that, I wasn’t able to keep the pace from the warm-up and pitted early. Something wasn’t working at the right front and that was the end of it. This race in a way reflects my season, which wasn’t optimal either.”

Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM), retirement
“The finale was a disappointment for me. I had a very good start and then Martin Tomczyk pushed me into a spin in turn one. That’s a real shame because I’d left enough room. But when you’re in mid-field, the situation is always tight. Filipe (Albuquerque) then hit a front corner of my car and put me in a straight line again – that was my luck because it meant that I wasn’t standing at a right angle to the field any more. My car was so heavily damaged that I had to pit and was forced to retire. Fourth place in the championship – we can be proud of that to some extent. The DTM is very rough. We probably weren’t good enough but I’m happy to be the best Audi driver. In the winter we need to work hard so that we’ll be in a totally different position next year.”

Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra A5 DTM), retirement
“I didn’t have the best start in the world but made up ground on the first lap. But then I was hit by Robert Wickens and the race was over. But that’s racing. For me, it’s been a great first DTM season. I’m looking forward to the future.”

Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): “It was a grand finale today for the DTM! Congratulations of course to Bruno Spengler, who really gave everything today and deserves the title. Congratulations also to BMW who had the best car and the best package this year. Now we’re going to do everything within our means to superbly prepare for 2013 so that we’ll be in contention for the championship again.”

Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): “Congratulations to Bruno (Spengler), who’s a worthy champion. And to BMW too, who clinched the title right on their comeback. For us, today was a disappointment. We competed today to win the manufacturers’ title with Audi. Unfortunately, we didn’t achieve this aim. Now we’ve got to do our homework during the winter in order to be in contention for the title again next year.”

Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): “BMW came, saw and conquered. That’s got to be recognized without envy. We achieved a personal goal in 2012: we wanted to be the best Audi team and we managed that. My thanks and congratulations go to my team and my drivers. Both gave everything again but more wasn’t possible today. I’m proud to be part of the Audi family even though there’s a lot of work in store for us now.”

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