|Two weeks to go till the 2014 season of the DTM (Deutschen Tourenwagen Masters), Reigning Champion Audi have already performed an extensive final test program at the venue of the DTM season-opener,Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. (click to enlarge)|
Audi teams Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg each completed the required testing program to prepare for its title defense in the upcoming season. Drivers’ Champion Mike Rockenfeller drove his new race car – designated as car number ‘1’ – for the first time in the test. Rockenfeller, who did 211 laps secured the best lap times of the RS 5 DTM runners, a 1:32.751, he commented, “It’s been a very important test for us with many lessons learned. At the end of the last day, I had a pretty good long run that makes me feel optimistic: We made steps in the right direction. Now we’ve got to take a look at everything, analyze and draw the right conclusions for the first race. I’m eager to see where we stand when everybody shows their abilities.”
Ex-DTM Champions Mattias Ekstrom and Timo Scheider performed appropriate duties at final DTM test
As in the previous test at Budapest (Hungary) Audi ran three race cars and one test car. In dry conditions throughout the tests, the three Audi teams managed to check off their long task list item by item. The Audi RS 5 DTMs had been properly setup in race configuration over the four-day test session. Former champions Mattias Ekstrom and Timo Scheider both had a productive test prior to the new season start. “It’s always good to go home from the last test before the season starts with a good feeling. This time I’ve still got mixed feelings. We’ve still got two interesting weeks ahead in order to analyze everything and to optimally prepare for the first race,” Ekstrom explained.
Scheider added. “I’m happy that we had two really good days of testing – especially my last test day produced a lot of findings. The performance was there too. It’s important to take a positive feeling into the first race – also because the season opener takes place on the same track.”
Over the four-day test session, eight Audi drivers completed more than 7,600 kilometers on four days. Jamie Green, Miguel Molina, Edoardo Mortara, Nico Muller and Adrien Tambay all took turns in their respective RS5s to do preliminary setups during the 4-day test program. Green, the second year Audi DTM driver, said, “We were again fortunate enough to have four dry test days. That helps a lot because we’ve got a new car that we’ve got to become more familiar with. I drove more than 100 laps on each of my four test days – that’s good too. Here we completed the whole program we’d planned.”
DTM season-opener on 4 May where the rivalry of the three marques continues
Audi is slated to start the new DTM season at the Hockenheimring on 4 May as the title defender. In the past seven years, the German Touring Cars title went to Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm five times. At the anticipated season opening race, the intense rivalry between the Ingolstadt outfit, BMW and Mercedes-Benz is expected to hit an all time high.