Mattias Ekstr?m - who became DTM Champion for the second time at Hockenheim two months ago - has thanked his Audi team-mates for the pivotal role they played in helping him to clinch the title.

The Swede - who had already won the leading tin-top series once, three years ago - triumphed by four points over Mercedes rival Bruno Spengler and ten clear of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline team-mate Martin Tomczyk at the end of a season-long scrap, with the battle heading down to the nail-biting finale where any one of the three could have lifted the outright laurels.

"Each and every one of them played an important part that allowed me to claim the championship title for Audi," Ekstr?m remarked at the Ingolstadt marque's end-of-season party in the Audi Forum Neckarsulm.

At the same time, Christian Abt and Vanina Ickx - both of whom have both come to the end of their DTM careers - received an official send-off, with the complete executive board of the DTM organising body ITR e.V. present among the guests.

Michael Dick, member of the Board for Technical Development and representing the AUDI AG, honoured the successful DTM outfit, as Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline similarly defeated its Stuttgart rivals by 11.5 points in the teams' standings. He praised the team spirit and unstinting efforts for the success of the brand, as did his colleague J?rg Felske, Head of Sales Germany.

Only record Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen was absent from the party, as the Dane sat stranded at Copenhagen airport because of a cancelled flight.