Championship leader Mattias Ekström has vowed an all-out attack in the third round of the 2007 DTM campaign this weekend, as the Swede returns to his favourite stomping ground and scene of his maiden rostrum finish in the series.
The Swede – who triumphed in the curtain-raiser at Hockenheim last month before finishing a frustrated seventh second time out at Oschersleben following a jump-start penalty – is the most successful Audi driver at the newly-modified Eurospeedway Lausitz, having notched up a brace of front row starts, back-to-back victories in 2004 and 2005 and stood on the podium on no fewer than five occasions in seven outings at the East German track.
“The Eurospeedway Lausitz has always been one of my favourite circuits,” the 2004 title-winner enthused. “I claimed my first podium there and then won after a fantastic fight with Gary Paffett in 2005.
“Even though the first corner is new the rest of the circuit is unchanged and I go there with high hopes. However, we should keep our feet firmly on the ground; it will be an incredibly tough weekend for us.”
The 28-year-old currently shares the championship lead with team-mate Martin Tomczyk, who has a runner-up spot and fifth place to his name from the opening two skirmishes. The young German is also optimistic of a strong result at the weekend, albeit mindful of the uphill struggle the Red Bull Audi squad will face due to the added success ballast he and Ekström must carry throughout the meeting.
“The races at the Eurospeedway have always been exciting,” the 25-year-old asserted. “It certainly isn't beneficial that we must start with significantly more weight than the new Mercedes, however I believe we can be competitive in spite of the additional weight. As always we'll be doing our best.”
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich was similarly wary of the weight issue that could hamper the A4 DTM 2007's performance, though he remained confident of maintaining the Ingolstadt marque's encouraging start to the season.
“The Eurospeedway has been altered since last year's race,” added Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. “That means we have a similar situation to Oschersleben where we have to busy ourselves with a new circuit layout.
“For our 2007 cars it will quite literally be heavy going at the Eurospeedway, but our used cars should have a good chance. We will try to take as many points as possible back home.”