The dunes await all 22 drivers of the DTM for the race by the North Sea, as Circuit Park Zandvoort is the stage for the penultimate round of the season. The hilltops, fast turns and plenty of chances to make up places during the race is a favourite amongst all the drivers from Ingolstadt, as there are some impressive statistics coming into this weekend itself.
All of Ingolstadt’s finest are looking forward to a track that they have all enjoyed over the years, with some good racing, pole positions and seven race victories to add to their impressive success in the DTM. This is the track where Audi Sport have made it their own, having had the best run of form in the Netherlands since its inclusion into the calendar in 2001.
Mattias Ekström has been on the top step three times during his lengthy DTM career and says that he really likes racing there: “Thinking about the track at Zandvoort immediately puts me in a good mood. In addition, I’ve got many positive experiences, for instance my first victory many years ago. In the race back then, a brand colleague celebrated his Champion’s title at the same time – that would be a nice combination this year again.”
Last year’s race winner, Team Rosberg’s Edoardo Mortara says that he is hoping for a better run of form, having scored his first points of the season at Oschersleben in what has been a difficult season for the Italian: “I won at Zandvoort in 2012 and have often raced there at other events as well. Now we’ve got to manage a flawless weekend and then we’ll achieve better results again too.”
Two-time champion Timo Scheider has scored an impressive four pole positions since the DTM’s inaugural race which includes last year, but there is “unfinished business” to attend to this weekend: “I’ve got so many memories of Zandvoort – but not a single victory. It would be nice to finish it this year with the positive momentum from Oschersleben. I’m very much looking forward to Zandvoort because it’s my absolutely favorite track.”
It will be a welcome set of memories that France’s Adrian Tambay has from last season, where he picked up his first set of DTM points in the Netherlands, and looks to continue his points-scoring run this year: “At Zandvoort, I took my first-ever DTM points last year, so I’m pleased to return to this venue. I’ve finished in the top ten three consecutive times most recently and want to continue this string at all cost in Holland.”
It will be a new experience for Britain’s Jamie Green, as he takes to the track for the first time for Audi, but is also looking forward to racing by the sea, after his first podium finish for the brand with the four rings two weeks ago: “Zandvoort is one of the fastest tracks on the calendar where you can make really good use of the RS 5 DTM’s aerodynamics. There aren’t many circuits with such characteristics, so I particularly look forward to his race every year.”
Portuguese driver Filipe Albuquerque is still hunting down that elusive podium result, being only one place away after a great run to fourth in Oschersleben, but is saying that “things are getting better and better” at Team Rosberg: “I’ve always been fast at Zandvoort so far but have never been able to clinch a real result. This gives me motivation for the next two races. The podium continues to be my aim.”
Miguel Molina has also been in the points for the last two races and is looking to continue the upward trend of form towards the end of the season. The Spaniard is hopeful of going for it this coming weekend: “Zandvoort is a great place. I’ve got fond memories of the track because that’s where I managed the leap into the last qualifying segment for the first time.”
Mike Rockenfeller goes into this round with a 33-point advantage in the race for the title over BMW Motorsport’s Augusto Farfus, who is the only one that can challenge the German, but with his run of consistency, the championship is within his reach. This is as long as he has more than a 25-point gap between himself and the Brazilian come Sunday.
“I’m looking forward to the race with huge anticipation and would obviously like to win the Championship there as well,” said “Rocky,” who explained that it is best to concentrate on the task at hand, as he goes to Holland being somewhat optimistic this weekend. “Although you can’t force that to happen we know it works: We’ve got to do our job with high concentration and then see if that’s enough or not. If it isn’t, then we’ll just be experiencing a hot finale at Hockenheim.”
It will be a team effort from Ingolstadt, as Laurent Aiello won the title there 11 years ago with the Abt outfit, with Hans-Jürgen Abt saying “we’re going to give everything to support him in this. And the best way to do that is by scoring as many points as possible.”
The dusty Dutch track will prove to be a challenge for all as potentially expected, but with the weather set to be sunny this weekend, anything can happen. Tune into TCF’s coverage of this round of the DTM Championship, as we await the final blow from one driver to secure his title as “DTM-Meister.” The question of “Who is next?” could soon be answered, but we will really find out after 44 laps on Sunday…