After 203 days without competition, Katherine Legge will get her biggest chance of scoring points in the DTM as she makes her debut with Team Abt in season two of her touring car career.

Having found her tin-top feet with the privateer Audi squad run by Colin Kolles, the 28-year old lines up alongside four Audi stalwarts in the crack Abt operation, now armed with a 2008-spec A4 DTM and determined to make the most of her opportunity to take on - and hopefully beat - the best of the one-year old generation that was always likely to be ahead of her last season.

"It's great being able to move to Team Abt Sportsline after just one year in the DTM," Legge commented, "Everyone knows how good the team is as it won the DTM in 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2008.

"I'll be at the wheel of an Audi A4 DTM from 2008, and that means as many as two steps forward for me because, last year, I drove a car from the 2006 season. There is no doubt all the right ingredients are now available to me. But that also means there's no more room for excuses, but I'm ready and really looking forward to this challenge."

This weekend's 100th outing of the 'new' DTM coincidentally kick-starts Audi's 100th anniversary, and the Ingolstadt marque is determined to celebrate by becoming the first manufacturer to win the DTM title for a third year in a row. While Legge acknowledges that she is still not likely to feature in any championship battle, Audi has decided to retain an unchanged line-up in pursuit of the crown, but promoted the British driver within its ranks.

"We have an ambitious goal and that would be a perfect fit for the 100th anniversary of the Audi brand," head of motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich noted, "However, we know exactly how difficult that'll be. Our competition is strong and will do everything they can to prevent that.

"The past few years have shown that a good start to the season is particularly important in the DTM, and can definitely pre-determine the outcome of the title fight. Our squad is well prepared and everyone is eager to see at Hockenheim where we really stand compared to our rivals. I'm convinced that the fans will witness a thrilling season opener."

With Mercedes appearing to have the upper hand in the battle of 2009-spec machinery, but Audi's 2008 challengers featuring higher than expected in testing at both Dijon-Prenois and Hockenheim, the appears little to choose between the two marques, but this weekend's round should provide a clearer picture of where the respective models sit in the pecking order.

In the past few years, Audi Sport has always set the benchmark in race one, with Mattias Ekstr?m twice winning at Hockenheim and, in 2008, heading a 1-2-3 for the then-new A4 DTM. This year's latest-spec machine will start the campaign with 20kg extra ballast when compared to the successful 2008 car that took Timo Scheider to the title.

"The season opener at Hockenheim is always a particular challenge," commented Hans-J?rgen Abt, team director of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, "We're all eagerly anticipating the race because no-one knows where they stand.

"We hope to be competitive again and able to fight for victories and, in any event, the team is well prepared. The tests have shown the reliability of the current Audi A4 DTM but, at Hockenheim, we'll also see whether we're fast enough. Generally speaking, we're happy that, after the long winter, the season starts again with real racing and we can feel the surge of adrenalin again."

The Hockenheim event will be the first featuring a condensed format, with only a short roll-out on Friday, instead of the two familiar test sessions. Instead, free practice on Saturday morning will now last two-and-a-half hours, while qualifying has been complemented by a fourth segment in which the four fastest drivers will fight for pole over just one flying lap, running on used tyres and without refuelling.