DTM » 22 May 2006
Mixed weekend for Audi despite victory.
The latest round of the DTM series at Oschersleben may have seen Audi break Mercedes' winning run with a Tom Kristensen win, but it was a mixed day overall for the Dane's team mates.
As Kristensen won the 44-lap race in Northern Germany from pole to take the overall championship lead as winner of the opening two rounds Bernd Schneider could only manage fifth in his Vodafone AMG Mercedes.
The next Audi on the results rundown was Kristensen's team mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen who finished fourth behind the two Mercedes' of Jamie Green and Bruno Spengler in second.
"The start went well and the car felt well-balanced," said Frentzen after the race. "On the second set of tyres the balance was no longer as good and the car was understeering and the braking balance could not be adjusted any more.
"I wasn't able to attack properly any longer and concentrated on keeping Bernd Schneider from overtaking me," added Frentzen, "that worked out and he behaved fairly. Fourth place is okay, it's my second-best result this year."
Meanwhile, Martin Tomczyk in the Red Bull Team Abt Sportsline Audi continued his steady if unspectacular start to the season by coming home sixth and the German driver felt there was more performance available in his A4 DTM.
"Unfortunately, this wasn't a thrilling race for me," said Tomczyk. "If we hadn't been held up for such a long time, we could have achieved a better finish, but I'm glad to have come sixth. My thanks go to Audi and the Abt team because the strategy worked very well and like this, racing and teamwork are fun."
Tomczyk's senior team mate Mattias Ekstrom endured another trying race and leaving Oschersleben with a meagre seventh place under his belt and retirements in the first two races adds another hurdle to any attack the Swede could mount on the championship.
"My start was very good but then I made a mistake and Hakkinen got past me," admitted Ekstrom, "after that I was stuck behind him for a while. Perhaps the strategy wasn't the very best but the car felt good, basically the Qualifying ruined the weekend for me."
Overall it seems Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ulrich left the Oschersleben circuit happy with the result and the convincing win from Kristensen and hinted that the tide may be turning in Audi's favour.
"That was a dominant performance from Tom, who really did drive a perfect race without a single mistake and who was extremely strong over the course of the entire weekend," said Ulrich. "The strategy was good, even when we had to adopt it once when Tom was held up slightly, we had to react quickly and the team performance was also very good. We can be happy. I think the flood gates have opened and from my side things can continue like this!"
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