As the “Four Rings” looks to continue building its ever-increasing performance with the Audi A5 DTM this season and beyond, the Ingolstadt squad has proved a dramatic turn in fortune, as Mercedes-Benz and BMW did not have it all their own way at Valencia in Qualifying, with Edoardo Mortara being the top-placed Audi driver in 2nd place, just behind the man on Pole Position, BMW’s Augusto Farfus.
Out of the front five rows of the grid, Audi secured 3rd, 4th and 5th, with 7 of the top ten places being filled by A5 DTMs, with Head of Audi Motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, looking forward to seeing if the drivers can make another step in the right direction in tomorrow’s race: “That’s a great team performance, particularly with a view toward the battle in the manufacturers’ championship.
Especially in the DTM, this is something very special and not the kind of thing you expect. It shows that on the whole we’re in a strong position.”
Rahal Frey made a forward step as well, and surprised everyone by making it into Q2 for the very first time, putting her ahead of series leader Gary Paffett, in a very impressive performance: “I’m really happy with my performance. Q2 was my primary aim, and I managed to achieve it today. Audi delivered a good performance and I was able to take advantage of that today too. With position 15, I’ve achieved my best result in qualifying so far.”
Mattias Ekström was not happy about being in 8th place, as he felt that he was too slow, but is still forging ahead to do the best set up possible for the race, just behind Timo Scheider, who said that it wasn’t a dream result, but was something to build upon: “After Oschersleben, it’s a step ahead. All Audi cars showed a good performance. We already had a good feeling after free practice. I think we can score a few important points in the race.”
Adrien Tambay was the best of the rookies for Audi, finding himself not that far away from the front of the grid, as he was close to the very top of every session, putting himself in 4th place. It was a very well-measured performance for the 21-year-old Frenchman, who could help Team Abt Sportsline pick up some well-needed points.
One man, who was looking for a good result on home soil, was local driver Miguel Molina, who fared much better than fellow Spaniard in 10th, Roberto Merhi, but said that a perfect lap is required to get into Q4, and was hopeful of where he starts tomorrow: “I’m very optimistic. With a good strategy and a quick car I can clinch a good result. The many Spanish fans motivate me very much.”
Felipe Albuquerque was also having a good turn of form, but several factors contributed to him not being able to have a run at Pole Position, but on race day, it can easily change: “In the beginning I was struggling a bit. Q2 wasn’t good because I hit traffic. In Q3, I was disappointed. I was very quick and it would have been enough to be all the way in front and to return to the pits. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the last turn and had to drive another lap. That meant I had tires that were two laps old in Q4. Augusto had fresher tires and thus more grip. He was really quick, well done to him. But everything’s open in the race tomorrow.”
But the happiest man by far in the Audi camp, was that of Hans-Jürgen Abt, Team Director for Team Abt Sportsline for both his drivers: “It was a very good team result for Audi. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for the pole position. The starting base for the race is very good and we’re hoping to clinch a lot of points for Audi in the manufacturers’ championship. I’m especially happy that Adrien Tambay has achieved his so far best result today. By taking fourth place he showed his potential. It’s an uplifting experience for us to see him advance so much in his first year and we’re hoping for his form curve to continue.”