Audi motorsport director Dr Wolfgang Ullrich admits his Ingolstadt-squad failed to optimise their full potential during last season's DTM campaign.
The 2011 DTM champions could only manage two victories last year, thanks to the efforts of Edoardo Mortara at the Red Bull Ring and Zandvoort, meaning no Audi-driver realistically stood in contention for the championship later won by BMW's Bruno Spengler.
Ullrich has insisted the development freeze has allowed his team to understand last season's shortcomings but concedes the four-rings can't completely predict where they'll be in the pecking order until Hockenheim.
“It's true that last year didn't go the way we'd expected,” said Ullrich.
“We were forced to catch up during the season – that's difficult in a championship which is on such a high level. In 2012, we didn't squeeze the optimum out of the things we developed and installed in the cars during the season.
“In winter, we tried to improve the usability of the things that are available to us within the constraints of the regulations.
“We'll only know that at Hockenheim because, as experience has shown, the tests don't provide a genuine assessment of where you stand. And of course we know that our competitors didn't sleep either.”
Ullrich also believes Audi's 'strongest ever DTM squad' stands the former champions in good stead for the coming season.
“I think we've got the strongest squad we've ever had in the DTM. And that's what you need if you want to make it all the way to the top,” he added.
by Simon Evans