Although Audi is expected to be a strong contender for victory in the fifth round of the DTM series at the Norisring, it will not necessarily be the 2006 works entries that spectators will be having to look out for, thanks to the circuit's unique layout.

Indeed, at just 2.3km long and having essentially only four corners linked by three straights, the lighter 2004 and 2005 generation Audi A4s could have an advantage over their more advanced but heavier 2006 counterparts.

It was this reason why Christian Abt, in a year old Audi, was able to claim a second place finish in last season's race. As a result, the 2005 cars entered by Team Phoenix and Team Rosberg will be a minimal, but nonetheless significant, 10kg lighter than those run by the works team.

Furthermore, the Futurecom TME cars driven by Vanina Ickx and Joroen Bleekemolen are some 50kg lighter than those of Tom Kristensen and Mattias Ekstrom.

Indeed, while Team Rosberg's Timo Scheider is looking forward to having an extra advantage, he is placing an eye on the 2004 Audis of Ickx and Bleekemolen at the same time.

"Norisring will be a very special race. It's always called the 'German Monaco'. The 'Who's Who' of the German motorsport community will be seen there. Actually my speed at the Norisring was always good, unfortunately, though, I was usually lacking that bit of luck you need. But now I'm with Audi... It won't be easy because even the 04-spec cars will be dangerously quick there. In any event, we'll be able to finish in the points."

Indeed, Bleekemolen, who made his DTM return at Brands Hatch, has set his sights on reaching the second knockout stage of qualifying for the first time, particularly as he has experience of the circuit, unlike his team-mate.

"Drawing on the experience from Brands Hatch I should be able to do a good job at the Norisring. We saw that with our 2004-spec car we're able to keep up well with the competition. I'm hoping to make it into the second part of the qualifying and to move forwards even further in the race."


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