The last time that Audi Sport locked out the top five places on the DTM grid was at Oschersleben in 2009, as Ingolstadt’s drivers, led by Audi Team Abt Sportsline’s Timo Scheider, who secured Pole Position for this weekend’s race, made this historic occurrence become reality once again during Qualifying at Zandvoort.
In what has been a welcome step away from racing, and with the Munich Show Event being somewhat of a sign of things to come, Audi has been hard at work, with last week’s great performance from Edoardo Mortara making it all more apparent, that Audi is fighting back as usual. Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich was as happy as can be, seeing the results coming after what has been a difficult turnaround for all involved. He praised the fantastic performance by the team and the drivers, and is looking forward to what the race brings: “The performance there already suggested that we started into the second half of the season with very good cars after a lot of work and that all teams and drivers are on a similarly good and well-balanced level. I’m hoping for us to be able to convert this strong qualifying result into a similarly positive race result.”
2010 Le Mans winner, Mike Rockenfeller was impressed with the strong Qualifying that Audi had this time around, as well as being pleased about the fact that the team is finding developments and improvements that are helping to push Audi Sport forward for the future: “It shows that we’re developing in the right direction, that the track suits us and that we were running well in these conditions. At first, I was a bit disappointed when I heard that Timo gave his run another boost and was a tiny bit faster on his lap. Still, I want to thank my team. We did everything right and are looking forward to tomorrow.”
Filipe Albuquerque is hopeful of being able to convert his Qualifying result into a podium finish this time around, as the Portuguese driver could have found himself higher up the field, had it not been for a couple of errors: “It was a great qualifying session for Audi and for Audi Sport Team Rosberg. In Q3, I made a mistake but still made it into Q4. I’d already done two laps on my tires whereas Timo and Mike had done just one and that does make a difference. But being on grid position three for the second consecutive time is very good for me. I want to finish the race on the podium.”
Spanish driver Miguel Molina was another driver that is finding it trickier with the way that the regulations have made the times that much closer, and explains about his session this time out: “After free practice didn’t go as well as we’d been hoping it would we ended up on position 13 in qualifying. We were lacking a tenth of a second for Q3. In the DTM you need a perfect lap and I didn’t have that today after not having driven very much in yesterday’s free practice either.”
Adrien Tambay qualified 10th for the race, but found that it still wasn’t easy by any means, as there were still a few details to iron out, but the Frenchman was happy with his performance up until he got into Q3: “Qualifying was very good for me up to Q3. In Q2, I was very happy with the car and the tires and hoping for more. In Q3, I made no mistakes but things weren’t going too well nonetheless. We’ve got to analyze that. I think I’ve got a good starting base for the race.”
Swiss racer Rahal Frey, however, would not be ahead of fellow female driver Susie Wolff this time around, as Frey has been the better driver so far this season, but with tyre pressures and timings not being precise enough, she starts ahead of Mercedes-Benz’s David Coulthard for the race, and has her work cut out for her.
So with Hans-Jürgen Abt being filled with emotion, as a team boss, but also a long-standing member of the Audi DTM Family, when his driver got Pole Position, it is a case to see whether Scheider can make it count, or will one of the other Audi drivers have their say in the matter, when racing gets underway at Zandvoort tomorrow.