1 January 1901
Match point for Ekstrom, Audi.
Although they have two wins to Mercedes' five, Audi head to the Nurburgring for the eighth round of the DTM in the prime position to inch closer to the title, with key protagonists Mattias Ekstrom and Martin Tomczyk confident of securing a haul of points.
An extraordinary season in context, Mercedes have largely dominated all year, but with that dominance shared between Bruno Spengler, Mika Hakkinen and Bernd Schneider especially, the consistent point scoring of Ekstrom and Tomczyk have instead made them the favourites to lift the title.
Of the two, Ekstrom is best placed, the Swede scoring five podiums in seven races, albeit with only one win, to forge an eight point gap over his team-mate and 12 points over the nearest Mercedes of Spengler.
Although Ekstrom admits he will find it hard to contend with additional weight at the Nurburgring, his useful record around the circuit, which included a win in 2005, gives him confidence he can keep that comprehensive gap up. Indeed, if he can come away from the Nurburgring clutching a gap over 20 points over the nearest Mercedes, Audi will be crowned champions.
"Judging be the way things went between Audi and Mercedes at the last race, the race at the Nürburgring will also be extremely hard. I hope that we are just as quick as last time, can achieve a good qualifying result and finish on the podium. Every point counts in the title battle.”
Tomczyk meanwhile is also well placed this season having scored only the second win of his DTM career at Zandvoort, even if it was done in slightly controversial circumstances. However, the German insists the final three rounds are amongst his favourites, a fact he hopes will see a flurry of success to the end of the year.
"Nürburgring, Barcelona and Hockenheim are all circuits that I really like. I always look forward to the Nürburgring a little more than other tracks. We have prepared well for the race during the long summer break."
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