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DTM Hockenheim: Audi quotes

Hockenheim – WEBWIRE
Mike Rockenfeller
Mike Rockenfeller

Audi clinched a podium place by Mike Rockenfeller in the gripping DTM season opener at the Hockenheimring. Mattias Ekström said goodbye to his DTM fans. Quotes from the Audi camp.

Dieter Gass (Head of Audi Motorsport)
“The DTM delivered a great show to kick off the season and carried the fans away. The enthusiasm in the grandstands was visible. Both races were extremely exciting and the second one on Sunday was just awesome. That was pure racing! It can hardly be topped. Mattias’ (Ekström) farewell appearance was very moving as well, I saw a couple of tears here and there. We also couldn’t have wished for a better opener for our new TV partner, SAT.1. The impressive rating on Saturday proves how strong the DTM product is. I’m already excited to see Sunday’s statistics. That it would become a difficult opening round for us didn’t come as a total surprise. We expected that the change in regulations would be tough for us. Still, the results on Saturday were disappointing, so Mike’s (Rockenfeller) second place on Sunday was all the more positive. We learned a lot about the new package this weekend and now have some homework to do. At the Lausitzring, in two weeks from now, we intend to be stronger on the whole.”

Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM #99) position 14 / position 2
“The race on Sunday was fun from lights to flag. When you start from position nine and finish runner-up it’s a great result in this year’s extremely close field. Every point counts and we scored some important points. That my car had a good setup and ran well was decisive. We had a brilliant start and were fast. At the pit stop, my team did a perfect job. In the end, I didn’t overtake as a result of the strategy but due to some great on-track battles. My fight with Gary (Paffett) was awesome, absolutely at the limit!”

Loïc Duval (Audi Sport RS 5 DTM #28) position 10 / position 5
“We achieved a good result in both races. In qualifying, we were lacking a little to keep pace with BMW and Mercedes. In the races, though, things were going well. That’s when we were consistently fast. On Saturday, I had a small excursion in the Sachs Corner, so the result could have been better. On Sunday, the car wasn’t quite as good, but we still extracted everything. In qualifying, I had a good lap, but it was only enough for position twelve on the grid. I could have probably driven two tenths faster and with fifth or sixth position on the grid would have had other possibilities in the race. As a team we did a good job and I’m happy for Rocky.”

René Rast (Audi Sport RS 5 DTM #33) position 9 / position 7
“It was a difficult weekend. Even so, we scored a total of ten points in both races and in qualifying on Sunday. And scoring points is always our main goal. But, obviously, we’d been hoping to be faster. That was a little frustrating on Saturday. In qualifying on Sunday, the second position was a ray of hope, but in the race our eyes were opened again. Now we just need to stay with it, continue to work hard and see what Phoenix is doing better than we are. Loïc (Duval) drove a superb race and Mike (Rockenfeller) did anyhow. This shows that the RS 5 DTM seems to basically function if you find the right setup. Knowing that is essentially positive. But we still have a lot of work to do now.”

Robin Frijns (Aral Ultimate Audi RS 5 DTM #4) position 18 / position 12
“There’s a lot to learn in the DTM. Especially on day one, I tried out various things. Then we approached day two differently. The second qualifying was still difficult but in the race we were running well and I felt comfortable. We lost a few seconds at the pit stop which cost us three positions. Afterwards, I was rough on my tires. A lot went wrong in a short space of time. When I was finally able to drive on a clear track I closed the gap to Wittmann and then the race was over. The pace was right but I would have wished for a better result.”

Nico Müller (Castrol EDGE Audi RS 5 DTM #51) position 13 / position 13
“This was no doubt not the season opener we’d been hoping for. We scored no points here and didn’t achieve our goal. We have to acknowledge that the competition was very strong here. We weren’t able to extract the maximum from our package. Position 13 twice in the races is not satisfactory. Now we’ve got some homework to do for the Lausitzring. I’m still optimistic though and hope that the track there will suit us better.”

Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM #5) position 17 / position 16
“It was a great experience saying goodbye to my fans and everyone else in a proper way. That’s what will remain of this weekend. After 17 years, this was very important for me. From a sporting point of view, the two races weren’t so exciting. Arriving here without prior testing and trying to nail everything down wasn’t so easy. But I knew that in advance.”

Jamie Green (Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM #53) position 19 / position 17
“This weekend was one of the worst in my entire racing career. I was never really fast and not competitive. I had a poor qualifying on Sunday and an even worse one on Saturday. It was a tough weekend for Audi. But on Sunday, René’s (Rast) second place in qualifying and Rocky’s second place in the race showed that Audi is able to finish in the top three.”

Thomas Biermaier (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
“Obviously, going home from the DTM opener at Hockenheim without points is extremely disappointing. Saturday was difficult for Audi on the whole, so on Sunday we tried out a few extreme things with the setup of the cars which provided us with new findings but not with better results. Very moving for everyone in the team was Mattias’ (Ekström) farewell. For 17 years, he was a really important part of our team and will always stay in our hearts. It was great that Audi gave him the opportunity to say goodbye to the DTM fans this way. Now we need to manage without him.”

Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
“We experienced two nice races. On Saturday, we hadn’t arrived yet where we wanted to be. But Loïc (Duval) was fast and scored his first point. On Sunday, we concentrated on improving the setup so that the tires wouldn’t degrade too early. We also changed our tactics and went for attack. Watching both cars battle for the podium was great fun. Advancing to position two came as a surprise in the end. Both drivers were in incredibly good form. Everything fit together, our pit stops were fast and the strategy was right. In the next race, we plan to do better in qualifying and then be in contention for victory.”

Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
“The race result on Saturday was still okay. We were the best Audi and in the points. The front row on Sunday with René (Rast) was surprising and nice. But our setup was probably good for the grid but not optimal for the race. René also lost some time during the pit stop. Jamie (Green) was happy with the setup on Saturday but then surprised that the others were so much faster than he was. On Sunday, he was unfortunate because the refueling machine didn’t work properly which meant that he had to start from the pit lane. That Audi is competitive was a positive. I’m looking ahead with optimism. The cards will be reshuffled for the Lausitzring. Sunday’s race was great advertisement for the DTM with drivers from all three manufacturers on podium.”

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