DTM championship leader Timo Scheider is preparing to continue his close internecine scrap with Audi team-mate Mattias Ekström when the circus resumes after its five-week summer break at Brands Hatch this weekend – but to do so, first he will need a change of luck at the Kent circuit.
The German – a series veteran despite his youthful 29 years – has produced some superb performances in 2008 to-date, with no fewer than three pole positions and five rostrum finishes from the first seven outings, including his maiden DTM victory at Oschersleben in round two and overtaking a brake-afflicted Ekström into the very last corner at the Norisring to pinch the final spot up on the podium.
Scheider has more often than not been the Ingolstadt manufacturer's star driver this year – heading up the points standings since late April – but he does not boast a great record on British soil, finishing outside the points in tenth position during Brands' first appearance on the calendar in 2006 and colliding with team-mate Markus Winkelhock on the opening lap last season.
He returns there this year knowing that he will have to do considerably better than that if he is to continue to withstand the challenge of fellow factory Audi ace – and reigning DTM Champion – Ekström, and achieve his goal of clinching the coveted end-of-season honours.
“We race at Brands Hatch with ten kilograms less than Mercedes,” the Rhineland native explained. “This is a positive aspect, and we were fast at Brands Hatch last year.
“We've used the summer break to prepare meticulously for Brands Hatch – but also to have some holiday and recharge the batteries.”
Ekström, by contrast, has an impressive résumé at Brands – at just 1.9km in length, the shortest circuit on the DTM schedule – triumphing there in 2006 and adding to that with a third-place finish this time twelve months ago.
The Swede – set to make his 80th series start this weekend – has made clear his intent of fighting tooth-and-nail to retain his title, with successes in the 2008 curtain-raiser at Hockenheim and more recently at Zandvoort. He currently sits just six points adrift of Scheider in the title standings, the pair sandwiching Mercedes' Jamie Green.
“I think that we'll have a good Audi weekend at Brands Hatch,” the double series champ asserted. “We were very fast there in 2006 and 2007; I've had a win and third place. I like the track and want revenge for what happened at the Nürburgring.”