WRC hotshot Sebastien Ogier
has been given the chance to drive the Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM at the Nurburgring, as part of a car swap with Audi factory driver and two-time DTM champion, Mattias Ekstrom.
The Volkswagen Motorsport pilot, who could clinch the 2013 WRC Drivers' title on Rallye Deutschland next week [see separate story - HERE
], was given the opportunity to try out the Audi RS 5 DTM as Audi and Volkswagen are all part of the same group.
His 'test' came ahead of the latest round in the German tin-top series this Sunday.
With instructions provided by Ekstrom, the Frenchman did five laps on the 3.629-kilometre sprint track of the Nurburgring, with the Swede commenting that he was running 'pretty fast' given he was on used tyres.
“Fantastic, but much too short!” was Ogier's initial comment.
“Naturally, I wasn't able to go all the way to the limit in such a short time, especially not with respect to braking,” he continued. “But the five laps were enough to whet my appetite for more. Now I'd like to do a real test in the Audi RS 5 DTM. The car is fantastic and really enjoyable.
“I'm really impressed with the DTM cars. We already have strong brakes in the Polo R WRC, but the braking deceleration in the Audi is in a different league. When you accelerate out of a sharp bend, you have to be very careful with the accelerator. My four-wheel drive Polo is much more neutral in that respect than the rear-wheel drive Audi.”
Before recce for Rallye Deutschland starts on Monday, Ogier will be watching the DTM race at the Nurburgring from the garage of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline.
“I did that last year as well,” he added. “I find the DTM very interesting and always keep myself informed. It's nice that Audi is so strong this year. And thanks to DRS and option tyres the races have become even more thrilling. I could definitely imagine driving in the DTM after the end of my rally career.”
“It goes without saying though that I'm totally focused on the WRC at the moment and on the goal of becoming world champion.”
Meanwhile, following Ogier's test drive of the Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM, Ekstrom had the chance to try out the Frenchman's Volkswagen Polo R WRC. Ekstrom, who has successfully competed in the WRC himself on occasion, was allowed to test the rally car on a track next to the Nurburgring: “It was a great experience – and it's given me an appetite for more. Maybe I'll have the opportunity to compete in the Polo R WRC in my home event, Rally Sweden,” he stated.