Audi's Hockenheim stars are aiming to continue their rich vein of form as the 2007 DTM circus rolls into Oschersleben next weekend, with every intention of extending their early championship lead.

After both qualifying inside the top four on the grid in the season-opener, Mattias Ekstr?m and Martin Tomczyk dominated proceedings come the race, in the process breaking Mercedes' four-year stranglehold at the home of the German Grand Prix. Even more encouragingly still, the Ingolstadt aces now head to a track that has heavily favoured Audi in years gone-by, with two wins in the last three years, a pole position monopoly and a dominant showing there in pre-season testing.

"It is of great importance to make a good start to the season in the DTM," asserted early championship leader and 2004 title-winner Ekstr?m. "We managed to do that to perfection at Hockenheim, and I'd really like to put another one over the opposition at Oschersleben and increase our advantage.

"I had a very encouraging test at there before the season. Now I'm interested to see just what effect the weight difference has during the race weekend. Oschersleben isn't exactly one of my most successful circuits, but up until last weekend Hockenheim wasn't either!"

The weight difference the Swede refers to is the 14 extra kilograms both he and Tomczyk will have to carry in round two as a result of their Hockenheim success. Although well aware Mercedes will not be willing to lie down without a fight, his German team-mate is equally optimistic of another strong performance.

"The test days at Oschersleben indicated things will also be extremely tight there," Tomczyk warned, "but the results we obtained from the tests were satisfactory. We return to Oschersleben with a good feeling following the one-two at Hockenheim, and are looking to produce another perfect race weekend."

Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich is similarly keen to carry the marque's form over into a concerted, season-long championship charge, to atone for a desperately disappointing 2006 campaign.

"We had an excellent test at Oschersleben before the start of the season," he stated, "and we hope to be able to reproduce the good result from Hockenheim in this race. Winning the opening race has boosted the entire Audi squad's motivation. Despite knowing our 2007 cars must be heavier there than the new Mercedes, our target is to increase our lead at Oschersleben."


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