DTM » 1 January 1901
Audi debutants bidding to build on solid start.
Audi new boys Lucas Luhr and Mike Rockenfeller are aiming for points-paying positions in the second round of the new DTM campaign at Oschersleben, after finishing on the fringes of the top ten first time out at Hockenheim.
The erstwhile sportscar duo came home line-astern in 11th and 12th respectively in the season-opener, but following on from a successful winter test at Oschersleben, and given it is a track that has favoured Audi heavily in the past, both are confident of being able to open their accounts this weekend.
“As a DTM newcomer at Hockenheim I made several mistakes which I won't be making again,” stated Luhr, already a winner at Oschersleben from his GT racing days. “The new layout will be interesting. It is a technically challenging circuit, with many combinations of corners which make the race physically demanding. There is barely any time at all to relax on the short straights.
“A couple of the trickiest sections are the triple apex left-hander and the chicane which immediately follows the right-hand bend after the triple left. You have to find a happy medium at the chicane – you can't bounce too hard over the kerbs or follow too clean a line as it costs too much time. The relatively twisty and narrow nature of the circuit also means there are only a few overtaking areas, which is why qualifying is all the more important.”
Rockenfeller, meanwhile, is similarly enjoying his switch across to tin-tops following a number of years spent as a factory Porsche sportscar star, a deal he clinched at the tender age of just 18. A year later he wrote himself into the record books by becoming the youngest driver ever to triumph in a Porsche Supercup race, going one better still in 2004 when he became the youngest Carrera Cup Champion in the series' history.
“The DTM is a tremendous goal for young German racing drivers and an excellent alternative to Formula 1,” enthused the Neuwied ace, at 23 the youngest driver in the Ingolstadt marque's line-up. “It's incredible just how evenly-matched the cars are. You can measure yourself against the best drivers and enjoy the attention of the fans.
“Everything Audi has ever tackled in motorsport during the last years has been a success; ground-breaking technology, beautiful workmanship and a sporting, dynamic design.
“I learnt a great deal in my first DTM race. A few things didn't run quite as well as we'd imagined, but because of the test results from Oschersleben I think things will look a lot better. I believe I'll be able to push very hard there and maybe even finish in the points.”
Audi Sport Team Rosberg team director Arno Zensen was also hopeful of a strong result at the northern German circuit, as Audi looks to take full advantage of its early-season form.
“I'm looking forward to Oschersleben,” he said. “We were really quick there during the tests and also got to grips with the tyres there. Things should go very well for us.”
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