Reigning DTM Champion Mattias Ekström has thanked his Audi team-mates for their help in clinching the crown last year by inviting them to Sweden, where they all experienced three days of thrilling action on the snow and ice.
Whilst some choose to send flowers and others a write a thank you note, Ekström came up with the novel and generous idea of taking all his team-mates to his homeland, where the nine Audi stars let off steam with snowmobiles, Audi RS4s and quads, took refreshing dips in the one-degree-cold fjord waters in the mornings and relaxed in the wooden 'hot pot' in the evenings with a cold beer.
“My driver colleagues proved to be true team players all year long and fought for Audi and me,” the two-time series title-winner underlined. “Quite frankly, without them we wouldn't have clinched this exploit.
“I kept telling the boys: 'when you help a Swede, this won't go unrewarded'.”
Delivering on his promise, Ekström organised an action-packed programme in Kall, a place in the middle of nowhere in Sweden near the Norwegian border that was perfect for his purpose. There, Tom Kristensen, Timo Scheider, Martin Tomczyk, Katherine Legge, Oliver Jarvis, Markus Winkelhock, Mike Rockenfeller and Alex Prémat joined him for a chilled-out pre-season warm-up.
“There is an abundance of nature for snowmobile or quad excursions,” the 29-year-old explained, “and we also had a frozen lake for quick drifts with the Audi RS4 or the S3.
“Actually, we'd been wanting to party a bit in the nearest town, but then all of us seemed to be a little too tired for some reason…”
Instead, the squad enjoyed Swedish culinary specialities like fillet of venison with cranberries, and some hours of 'chilling out' away from the hustle and bustle of the race track.
“We had some great days that forged even closer ties between us,” confirmed Scheider, who put himself at Ekström's service more than once during the last season. “Although being a team player is natural for us as members of the Audi family, Mattias' splendid idea clearly underlines that team-work is recognised and appreciated in our squad. In our team, everyone can rely on everyone else to back them up.”