DTM » 19 July 2006
Audi looking to impress at home race.
If Monaco is Formula One's jewel in the crown, then the Norisring is undoubtedly the race every DTM driver wants to win and as the championship reaches the fifth round, more drivers than ever are hoping to be impressing the 150,000 fans that are expected to make the trip to Nuremburg.
Audi in particular are looking for a good result as the circuit acts as their home race. However, it is a circuit they have traditionally not done so well on in the past, although having claimed victory last time out at Brands Hatch courtesy of Mattias Ekstrom, hopes are high that they can overhaul Mercedes' Bernd Schneider from the top of the standings.
Indeed, previous championship leader Tom Kristensen looked set for victory at Brands Hatch, only for suspension failure to send him spinning out of first place. Nonetheless, he is only four points behind the DTM stalwart and is determined to make amends this time around.
"The circuit is pretty short, it's got only four corners, different types of surfaces and many bumps. It's usually incredibly hot there. It's the hottest race of the year for the brakes, the technical systems and the drivers.
“Last year I started from the pole position at the Norisring, unfortunately in the race things didn't go according to plan. A similar situation occurred most recently at Brands Hatch where we'd had a fantastic weekend up to my retirement. These are two reasons for clinching a particularly large number of points at the Norisring, which is the absolute highlight of the DTM season.”
Ekstrom meanwhile is pleased to be coming to the Norisring without the pressure of a title, even if his win at Brands Hatch did vault him up the standings to fifth place. Nonetheless, Ekstrom is still keeping a wry eye on the championship, even if he is merely looking for strong individual results at the moment.
"For me, personally, it's a nice feeling to be coming to the Norisring without being under pressure of having to fight for the lead in the Championship. I'll arrive there completely relaxed and am going to give my best as always.
“I won't back off and will try to achieve as many good individual results as possible and then I'll see how far this lets me advance in the Championship.”
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