Audi's Mattias Ekstrom believes this weekend's opening DTM round at Hockenheim will be one of the most exciting races of his career.

The former double champion finished sixth in the standings last year taking just three podiums as his Audi employers failed to gain a march on last season's new generation of regulations.

Despite enduring a disappointing 2012 campaign Ekstrom did start the season opener on pole position before ending the race on the last step of the rostrum.

The Swede insists the progression of the cars along with the latest technical innovations will lead to many unknown factors for each of the drivers and teams to deal with.

"Hockenheim will be one of the most thrilling races in my DTM career," said Ekstrom.

"I can't remember ever having been so excited. The further development of the cars, DRS, option tires - there are many unknown factors.

"Last year, the season, with a pole position at Hockenheim, started very well for me. Of course it would be great to make such a start again," the Swede added.

Ekstrom's Abt Sportsline team director Hans-Jurgen Abt also shares his driver's enthusiasm for the coming season with an eye on hitting the ground running this weekend at Hockenheim.

"After a difficult year in 2012, the motivation of the whole team is at an all-time high," said Abt.

"We're going to try and pick up a lot of momentum for the season right away by clinching a good result at Hockenheim."

by Simon Evans