1 January 1901
Ekstrom makes `beautful` start in title defence.
“It has been a remarkable weekend for us,” agreed runner-up Scheider, who secured his best result to-date at the beginning of his eighth year in the DTM, “especially as it was the first weekend of the season and we managed to come off with such a result.
“I lost first place at the start, but I was very well able to keep up with Mattias during the race. There were some possibilities to attack and I put the pressure on. However, there was no real chance to overtake. The car has been great from the word go – many thanks to Audi and to Abt.”
“Today, I started from the same position as in last year's season-opener in which I had my big accident,” reflected Kristensen. “I was happy that it all went well through the first few corners. My car was great from the very beginning, and during the race I had some fair fights with Paul di Resta and Bruno Spengler. I am happy that I ended up where I am now.”
Spengler admitted his frustration at Mercedes having been unable to match Audi's pace, but the 2006 and 2007 series runner-up was insistent there was still a long way to go. Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug, meanwhile, was full of praise for his drivers, particularly Schumacher.
“On one hand, I am a little bit disappointed,” acknowledged Spengler, “but when you look at the past few years, I have never been able to score points here in the first race at Hockenheim. Now, I have at least five points and I am happy with it, as every point counts in the end.
“It was the first of eleven races and a lot of things can still happen in the ten rounds to come. I am confident that I will be quick again at Oschersleben.”
“It hasn't been a very good weekend for us,” confessed Haug. “In the race, Paul di Resta was really quick – too bad that his clutch didn't work properly during the pit-stop, otherwise he could have been further up front. All-in-all, it was a good season-opener with a good show for the spectators.
“Ralf Schumacher has done well in his first race. He wasn't the slowest driver with a year-old car by far, and his performance is decent. I am especially happy with the fact that we have seen a new Ralf here at Hockenheim.”
Haug's Audi counterpart Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, meanwhile, professed himself pleased with his squad's performance, as the team barely put a foot out of place all weekend.
“It went very well today,” the Audi motorsport director affirmed. “Not only were the drivers quick, but Abt did very good pit-stops. It was clear to us that Mercedes would be strong here as well.
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