It's been a while since I last wrote, but the season seems to have gone so quickly for me.... It's hard to remember what happened at Zandvoort, let alone the Nurburgring and Brands Hatch too.
It has been a good season so far though, and that's encouraging. The results haven't shown it, but I've learned so much and it's been a really good experience. I'm so proud to be a part of Audi and the whole thing that goes along with that, and it's incredible to believe that we have been together this long already.
I knew it would be hard with a two-year old car and not being with one of the frontrunning Audi teams, and that's a little frustrating, but there are two sides to everything and it's good that there is less pressure on me as I learn what the DTM is all about. There's only myself and my team-mate, Christijan Albers, in two-year old cars, and it does make a big difference, even if the organisers do try to make the weight a little bit more even to keep us competitive with the newer models.
All I can do is take aim at Christijan. He finished as runner-up a few years ago and is well-respected in DTM circles so, if I can keep getting close to him - and beating him on occasion - then that's all I can do. The team has been great - it's not like going in to the series with a backmarker team, as it would be in any other series, because the team is fantastic. It's just the way it is, you have to earn your stripes and do a good job in a two-year old car so that you get to progress to a one-year old car, and then a new car. That's the way it works and it's really sensible because you only get promoted if you're up to it, if you've worked for it and if you've earned it.
You always hope that you're going to be in the newest car and the best team that you can be, and that's definitely a carrot for the future, but I really don't know what's going to happen next year - I'm not sure that many people do. I think it depends on what happens with both Mercedes and Audi, and deciding if they want to run two-year old cars. Mercedes, this year, has only run new cars and one
-year old cars, so that's a possibility as well. It could depend on which drivers stay and which ones go. It's not my job to speculate on what's going to happen, but I hope, for myself, for the best possible outcome. There's not much I can do other than my best on the track. Hopefully, we'll get some good results in the last few races.
Brands Hatch was awesome - it was really nice to be back home, racing in front of my friends, my family and the fans. It's been a while - I don't remember the last time I raced in England, but it must be four or five years ago - so it was nice to be back. I had a lot of support, and it is the only track on the calendar that I actually know, so it was due to be a good race.
Even my mum was due to get in on the action, but she chickened out of a DTM Race Taxi ride around Brands. Audi are so fantastic that the Audi Sports Team Abt Sportsline sorted it out for her but, when it came down to it, she decided she couldn't face it. I don't know why, because she has been around Road America when they did 'taxi rides' there - but then that scared the living daylights out of her as well!
My dad's been in the two-seater Champ Car while I was out in the US doing that. He really really enjoyed that experience, so I hope I can get him out in a DTM 'taxi' at the end of the year. I was talking to Susie Stoddart's mum and dad at Brands after they had had a ride, and they were like 'I can't believe this is what you do....' - I wanted my dad to say that, rather than 'well, maybe you can brake a little later into the hairpin...'. He keeps on offering his coaching and advice which, considering he's never driven a race car, I find really funny.
Because of the high hopes and expectations at Brands, I was disappointed that we didn't get to qualify as normal following Gary Paffett's accident. It was really frustrating as I think we might have got into second qualifying.