Ingolstadt/Hockenheim, May 5, 2013 – With an Audi RS 5 DTM at the front of the field, the new DTM season started at Hockenheim with 87,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) in attendance. After 42 spectacular laps with plenty of on-track action and gripping overtaking maneuvers the opening round ended in a disappointment for Audi. With Timo Scheider and Mike Rockenfeller in positions six and eight, only two Audi drivers scored points.
After having started from the pole position, Timo Scheider in the AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline made an optimal start and immediately took the lead. Up to a safety car period on lap six he was engaged in a duel with the subsequent winner Augusto Farfus. While most of the drivers, including Farfus, immediately made their first mandatory pit stop Scheider was only called into the pits by his team a lap later, which caused him to drop to the end of the field.
Scheider managed to advance again from 18th place to position six. During his recovery he managed posting the third-fastest race lap. Shortly before the finish, the Audi driver still caught up with Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz) and Bruno Spengler (BMW) but was no longer able to attack the two DTM Champions.
“Unfortunately, this wasn’t our day,” Timo Scheider said after the race. “During the safety car period we didn’t optimally respond. As a result, we threw away a better place. But the important thing is that we had the speed in the race – we’re going to fully attack again at Brands Hatch.”
Another driver to advance into the points was Mike Rockenfeller, who had started in the Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix from position 14. Despite losing some time due to a slow second pit stop and a few tussles, the 2010 Le Mans winner finished the season opener in eighth place.
Jamie Green (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM) tried to make up ground by a long last stint on option tires. For failure to comply with the track limit, the Briton initially received a lap penalty and subsequently a drive-through. As a result, Green had to settle for 14th place.
Miguel Molina suffered a puncture in his Audi RS 5 DTM right on the starting lap. Filipe Albuquerque (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM/Audi Sport Team Rosberg) received a drive-through penalty for exceeding the speed limit in the pit lane. Molina and Albuquerque finished the race in positions 15 and 16.
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM), Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM) and Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra RS 5 DTM) did not finish the race. Mattias Ekström damaged the front end of his RS 5 DTM in the commotion of the starting lap, subsequently lost the hood and ultimately had to give up because of damage to the driveline. The front splitter of Edoardo Mortara’s car was so heavily damaged on the starting lap that continuing to drive made no sense. “Iron Man” Adrien Tambay had to park his RS 5 DTM after only four laps due to a fire in the engine compartment.
“That was a disappointing season opener for Audi,” said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. “None of our cars made it without any incidents. Particularly frustrating was the fact that we didn’t call Timo (Scheider) into the pits right on the first lap of the safety car, which deprived him of a possible podium finish. That he was able to advance from 18th all the way to sixth place by achieving strong lap times shows that more would have been possible today.”
The next DTM race is on the calendar at Brands Hatch on the outskirts of London (Great Britain) only two weeks from now.