- With a podium finish Martin Tomczyk celebrates his first DTM title
- Mattias Ekström remains undefeated at Valencia
- Filipe Albuquerque with first podium result
Triumph at Valencia: With a 1-2-3-4-5-6 result and an early title win Audi managed to crown its 2011 DTM season. Mattias Ekström celebrated his third victory of the season, Filipe Albuquerque, as the runner-up, his first podium finish and Martin Tomczyk in third place is the new DTM Champion.
Third place was sufficient for Martin Tomczyk to be determined as the early title winner. With a 13-point advantage over his title rival, Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz), the Bavarian managed a special feat: For the first time he won the coveted DTM trophy, for the first time Audi Sport Team Phoenix achieved this with a year-old car, and it has been seven years that an Audi driver was determined as the champion even before the finale. In 2004, Mattias Ekström, who now celebrated overall victory at Valencia, had last secured an early title win. Tomczyk had managed a perfect recovery after having started from position ten on the grid. As early as on lap one he was on position six, and in third place after his second stop.
"I extend warm congratulations to Martin Tomczyk, his team and the entire Audi squad on this outstanding achievement. The fans experience captivating duels at the highest sporting level and in Martin an absolutely deserving champion of the 2011 season," says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. "After the triumph at the Le Mans 24 Hours and numerous other victories this title is already crowning a successful Audi motorsport year now." His fellow board member Michael Dick, who is responsible for Technical Development, also congratulated the new champion: "'Well done' to Martin Tomczyk, who has driven an outstanding season and always proved to be a fair and tremendous sportsman both on and off the track. At the same time, the fifth DTM title of the Audi A4 DTM since its debut in the 2004 season is a fantastic farewell gift. The development of our new Audi A5 DTM for the next season is concurrently in full swing. At Audi, we're working on this car to follow in the successful footsteps of its predecessor with all our passion."
The driver who definitely dominated the racing action in Spain was Mattias Ekström. The two-time champion led the field on 38 of the 45 laps. After the successes at the Nürburgring and Oschersleben the Swede from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline celebrated his third race victory within four races. Behind him, Filipe Albuquerque complemented what was a perfect weekend for him. The DTM rookie from Portugal had started from position two, defended his place up to seeing the checkered flag, and thus gave himself and Audi Sport Team Rosberg the best result of the season. He finished 15.847 seconds ahead of Martin Tomczyk.
Subject to an appeal which two Mercedes-Benz teams have filed against the disqualification of their drivers, three other Audi racers finished in the subsequent places at Valencia. Timo Scheider, who managed setting the fastest lap, achieved fourth place in front of his Abt team-mates Miguel Molina and Oliver Jarvis. Mike Rockenfeller took ninth place, Rahel Frey 14th. Edoardo Mortara retired in the pits three laps before the end of the race due to a handling problem.
"This has been a fantastic day for Audi," said a pleased Dr. Martin Mühlmeier, the Technical Director of Audi Sport. "Six Audi A4 DTM cars on the top six positions, Mattias Ekström has shown another top-class performance, Martin Tomczyk has clinched the title with a tremendous recovery on his own power, and Filipe Albuquerque has achieved his first podium result. We're overjoyed."
From the United States Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, who was on location at the ILMC race at Road Atlanta, sent his congratulations as well: "Absolutely well done, I'm tremendously happy for Martin. He has been a member of our Audi family in the DTM for eleven years and has experienced many ups and - no doubt - downs. But he has never lost his spirit and has emerged as a leader, particularly in this season. Now he has rewarded himself and his team for the hard work and the fighting spirit with the title. We've always known that Martin is a strong racer and a great guy - now he's also a true champion."
Quotes after the race
Mattias Ekström celebrates a commanding victory at Valencia in front of his Audi brand colleague Filipe Albuquerque. With a third-place finish Martin Tomczyk secures an early title win. Quotes after the Spanish DTM round...
Dr. Martin Mühlmeier (Technical Director Audi Sport)
"A fantastic result for Audi: Positions one to six and victory in the championship! The best thing for me is that Martin (Tomczyk) clinched third place with a tremendous showing on his own power. And Mattias (Ekström) has again shown an exceptional performance. Filipe (Albuquerque), last but not least, has achieved his first podium result in the DTM: simply a great weekend for Audi!"
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM), 1st place
"Of course it's fantastic to have won another race, particularly because it was hard work throughout the weekend. But this is not my weekend but Martin's on which he has decided the championship early in his favor. He's worked hard for this for many years. I'm happy for him, and of course also for his team, Phoenix, and for the squad of Audi Sport. The title shows that the patience and the trust that Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich has placed in Martin have paid off. So there are many people who can be happy today, especially at Audi Sport."
Filipe Albuquerque (TV Movie Audi A4 DTM), 2nd place
"Having clinched second place is a really fantastic feeling. Yesterday was already a good day for me and I was able to convert my grid position into a good result today. I knew that the start would be a key to success. It was all about keeping the two Mercedes cars behind me. I wasn't able to do anything toward the front because Mattias was simply too strong for me. So I made good use of my tires and concentrated on not making any mistakes throughout the race. Space in front and at the rear - that's how I'd pictured the situation to be. I'm very pleased with the result today, and tomorrow I'll start thinking about the next race. We need to continue to work step by step."
Martin Tomczyk (Schaeffler Audi A4 DTM), 3rd place
"It's hard to find words for my emotions. It's definitely a very nice feeling to be DTM Champion. You've got to have achieved it first before you can realize that that's what you are. Eleven years of DTM with lots of ups and downs, and in the eleventh year, together with Team Phoenix, I've managed to become champion. It's been a fantastic season and real fun to drive this car and to work together with this team. Not only I have earned this title but also, first and foremost, Audi Sport Team Phoenix. But Abt and Rosberg, too, have their share in this overall Audi performance. I think we deserve a couple of parties now."
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi A4 DTM), 4th place
"I had a good race which began with a good start. I was immediately able to overtake two cars. The performance was good. Together with the team I decided to stay out for a very long time for the first stint. I was even surprised myself that it worked out so well. Then we quickly followed with the second stop to give Martin a little help and to stay in front of the competition. That was the right decision and we finished in fourth place. The fastest race lap shows what was possible. But at Audi today was clearly about the championship. I happily filled this role."
Miguel Molina (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM), 5th place
"The race went superbly for Audi and we won the championship here with Martin (Tomczyk). That we managed to do this already here in my country, Spain, is a great thing. My race was good, I finished fifth. I took no risk to overtake David Coulthard in the Mercedes because he was running under an appeal, which of course influences the classification. So it was just about defending my position, and I managed to do that."
Oliver Jarvis (Audi Sport performance cars A4 DTM), 6th place
"I spent most of the race in heavy traffic. In the end, sixth place is anything but a poor result but unfortunately I didn't have the pace to move farther to the front. That's why I'm a bit disappointed. But I'm pleased to take the points and am now looking forward to the finale at Hockenheim."
Mike Rockenfeller (E-POSTBRIEF Audi A4 DTM), 9th place
"Congratulations to Martin (Tomczyk) and Team Phoenix! That was the most important thing for Audi today. The mega-poor start was crucial for my result. I made a quick start but then the wheels spun. I've always had good starts this year but today was a catastrophe. I feel very sorry for the team because a result among the top five and thus important points would have been possible today."
Rahel Frey (Glamour Audi A4 DTM), 14th place
"It wasn't an easy race for me. Susie (Stoddart) had brushed me in the first turn and then I unfortunately dropped to 18th place. I had a difficult first and second stint and was struggling extremely with the car. The final third was nearly perfect and the lap times were also more competitive. That had already been the trend at the last races and we need to continue to work on this for Hockenheim so that we can make more progress at the finale."
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi A4 DTM), 16th place
"A difficult race for me. In the end we had tire problems and I was heavily struggling with the car. After my mistake in qualifying the weekend on the whole was a disaster. But I'll strike back at Hockenheim at the finale. I'm not worried that we won't be able to make a good showing there because the performance potential exists. I'm very happy for Audi Sport Team Rosberg and my team-mate Filipe (Albuquerque) that he managed to clinch a podium result. And of course for Martin (Tomczyk) for having decided the championship early in his favor."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline):
"It's been an absolutely tremendous day for Audi and for the drivers. 'Well done' to Martin Tomczyk; he did a fantastic job, but it probably wouldn't have been possible this way without the whole team having worked for him. Mattias (Ekström) showed a sensational performance. But what counts in the end are championships - and Martin is the one who clinched it."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix):
"A dream has come true. After many years of hard work and lots of setbacks we have clinched the title as Team Phoenix. Many thanks from us to Audi for the fantastic car. Martin is a great driver, he never made any mistakes in the race and neither did the team. We're champion one race before the season ends. We're enjoying this success and are traveling to Hockenheim completely relaxed."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg):
"Congratulations to Martin Tomczyk, Ernst Moser and Audi for winning the championship. We're happy today as well. As Team Rosberg we managed to clinch three consecutive podium finishes and now Filipe (Albuquerque) has celebrated his first podium position as well. The only thing we'd need now to be perfectly happy is a victory at Hockenheim."