On a generally barren weekend for Audi in round three of the 2007 DTM campaign at the Eurospeedway Lausitz, Oschersleben star Mike Rockenfeller came back down to earth with a bump after admitting to driving like 'a beginner'.
Heading into the meeting brimful of confidence following a sensational performance that saw him take him second on the grid and third position in the race in round two, the sportscar convert and DTM rookie was unfortunately unable to display anything like the same pace at the East German circuit, falling in the first knock-out qualifying stage and stuggling to a 13th-place finish on the Sunday.
“That was definitely not my race,” the 23-year-old candidly admitted afterwards. “It already started on the formation lap when I accelerated in the last turn, spun and felt like a beginner. I'm very sorry about that.
“The actual start was pretty good, but due to the caution periods the race was very turbulent and nobody was able to figure out what the strategy was. Susie Stoddart ran into me once and I spun completely, following which the car was difficult to drive. After the highlight at Oschersleben, this was a sobering weekend.”
Vanina Ickx, meanwhile, enjoyed what she described as her best race to-date, as the series sophomore finished in 15th position behind the wheel of her two-year-old A4.
“The race was pretty crazy,” the daughter of Le Mans legend Jacky asserted, “both from an outside and cockpit perspective. We had safety car periods, then the pit lane was closed, then it was opened again. In retrospect though, it was my best DTM race so far. I was able to keep the pace within my group and was concentrated all the way to the end. I'm pretty satisfied.”
Not quite so satisfied at the end of proceedings was Audi Sport Team Phoenix ace Christian Abt, the tin-top veteran yet to open his points-scoring account in 2007 after a fightback up through the order ultimately ended in heartbreak due to a late brush with the barriers.
“The start was a bit unfortunate,” the 1999 German Supertouring Champion acknowledged. “The drivers on the rear of the grid couldn't see the lights. I waited until they were switched on, but then everyone was taking off and I was so shocked I stalled the engine.
“That was followed by a chase to make up ground, all the way to tenth place. Then suddenly the door on my right-hand side, which was heavily damaged, opened. That made the car undriveable.”