Hot on the heels of Tom Kristensen's win in the last round in Holland, Audi is targeting a victory double as the DTM makes its first Spanish foray at Barcelona next weekend.
With only three races to go before the end of the year – Le Mans and the season finale at Hockenheim will follow the Spanish round – the championship tussle is more frenetic than ever, with one of the world's most prestigious touring car titles at stake as Audi and Mercedes go head-to-head for honours.
With his triumph at Zandvoort, Kristensen closed the gap on series leader, Mercedes' Bernd Schneider, down to just ten points – or the margin of a victory. It was his second win of the season and the Dane is a past master at Barcelona, having previously driven the Catalan circuit in his Formula One testing days for Tyrrell back in 1997.
Many of Kristensen's Audi team-mates, though, are also confident of a strong result in Spain. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was a frequent points-scorer there during his extended grand prix career; Martin Tomczyk won a 'star of tomorrow' single-seater race there in 1999; Pierre Kaffer and Frank Stippler finished one-two in the Porsche Supercup at the track in 2003; Nicolas Kiesa competed there in Formula 3000; and Mattias Ekstrom and Timo Scheider know the circuit well from testing. Could this be enough to give the Ingolstadt marque a vital edge?
“Barcelona is new territory for the DTM but not for me,” Tomczyk said. “The Circuit de Catalunya is a fantastic circuit for a DTM race and I think it's great that both manufacturers come to Barcelona to a circuit on which neither has any previous experience. In this way both start from scratch.”
“There is always a great atmosphere in Barcelona, which I know from my Formula One days,” Frentzen added. “The circuit will obviously be a new challenge in a DTM car, but I'm really looking forward to driving there for the first time since 2003.”
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich was also positive about the A4's chances around the short loop of the Spanish Grand Prix track.
“We are looking confidently ahead,” he said. “We completed another development test between Zandvoort and Barcelona, have prepared ourselves very well for the forthcoming races and worked meticulously to ensure that we can continue to fight for the championship.”