As we are now just 100 days away from the first weekend of the 2014 season, Audi Sport now finalises their line-up for its campaign this year, but has changed things around for the forthcoming 10-round calendar, which goes to Russia, China, Hungary and Austria along with the majority of the rounds being contested on German soil.
We reported earlier this week that Filipe Albuquerque would be moving to Audi’s LMP category after three years in the DTM, with his replacement being young Swiss ace, Nico Müller. Single-seater racer Müller will be partnered with the man known as “Mr. Norisring,” Jamie Green, with both drivers moving “Mr. Macau,” Edo Mortara and Miguel Molina to Green’s former haunt last season, Team Abt Sportsline. Molina returns to the team where he has had most of his success yet after a difficult spell in the series.
Both drivers will also help to compliment the two drivers remaining in Hans-Jürgen Abt’s team , two-time DTM champion, Mattias Ekström and Adrien Tambay. The young French driver now goes into his third season with 2013 being his best yet with four successive points finishes during the second half of the season, as there is still more to come from the 22-year-old.
This now means that another double champion heads to make an interesting line-up at Team Phoenix, as Timo Scheider partners defending champion, Mike Rockenfeller, as Ernst Moser’s outfit has provided Audi with two drivers that have clinched the title in the last three years, which includes BMW’s 2014 Team Schnitzer driver Martin Tomczyk back in 2011.
The 35-year-old, who secured the DTM title in 2008 and 2009, leaves as he said with a “with a tear in my eye,” but looks ahead to a new challenge with a hard-working team, whose preparations for any situation proved handy for “Rocky” when the dice had to be rolled.
Audi’s Head of DTM, Dieter Gass, said that after their successes in 2013, it was a case of trying to search for further optimisation to the RS5 DTM, which will be further evolved for 2014, but wanted to make the best possible selection for the forthcoming campaign: “Following extensive discussions, all the parties involved feel that we’ve found the best solution. On the one hand, we’re banking on continuity, as we’re going to have seven of our previous drivers on the DTM grid again in 2014. On the other hand, we feel that a change now and then won’t hurt. That’s why we’re convinced that we’re well-set for the new season with our modified line-up.”
We still await what Mercedes-Benz will decide with regards to their line-up, which as we know of yet is not quite there, but there could be a radical shake-up, as F1 refugee Paul Di Resta is confirmed alongside Gary Paffett, which brings another dynamic to what looks to be rather competitive come May.