British duo Katherine Legge and Oliver Jarvis make their German Touring Car Masters (DTM) debuts with Audi at Hockenheim near Frankfurt on Sunday (13 Apr).
“Factory” Audi drivers Legge, aged 27, from Haslemere, Surrey, and Jarvis, 24, from Burwell near Cambridge, line-up on the 19-car grid for the “customer” Futurecom TME team and the Audi Sport Team Phoenix outfit respectively.
Legge drives a 2006 Audi A4 DTM in the one-hour race following in the wheeltracks of former Audi “lady pilots” Michèle Mouton, Tamara Vidali and Vanina Ickx. Legge has raced in the North American Champ Car Series for the past two seasons.
Jarvis, meanwhile, drives a 2007 Audi A4 DTM and is regarded as one of Britain’s brightest future prospects. He won the famous Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macau last November and has also recorded several victories for his homeland’s national team in the A1GP series.
Exactly 182 days after Audi driver Mattias Ekström won the prestigious 2007 DTM title at Hockenheim, Audi’s “title defence” begins at the same venue. Just one week later, at Oschersleben, the second race is on the agenda.
The Audi squad is particularly eager for the 2008 season to start: Hockenheim and Oschersleben are the first two races for the new Audi A4 DTM which was developed at Audi Sport in the past twelve months and set a remarkable best time in the most recent tests prior to the start of the season at Oschersleben.
Now, the new Audi can show just how good it is in direct comparison with the competition since – traditionally – no DTM team puts all of its cards on the table during the official pre-season tests.
The quickest driver in the tests at Oschersleben was Timo Scheider, who drives one of a total of four new A4 DTM cars fielded by Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. Starting in car #1 will be title defender Mattias Ekström whose car had to be taken to Audi Sport in Ingolstadt for repairs after an accident, in which the Swede was blameless, at Oschersleben. Tom Kristensen and Martin Tomczyk also drive a fourth-generation A4 DTM.
Katherine Legge:“It’s going to be a little nerve wracking for me – making my Audi, DTM and Hockenheim debuts all in one go but I’ll be aiming to learn as much as possible about my A4 and the DTM in general and to do a professional job for Audi and Futurecom TME.
“I’m really excited about my first DTM race with Audi. I can't wait to see what it's going to be like. It’s important for me to get as many miles under my belt over the three days at Hockenheim.”
Oliver Jarvis:“After a relatively short amount of testing time in the Audi A4 DTM, Hockenheim will be a steep learning curve for me but with the help of the Phoenix team, I would like to think we can make it into the top 10 in qualifying.
“My main aim for the race is to finish but I will obviously be aiming for a top-eight point scoring finish. Because it will be my first ever race at Hockenheim combined with my lack of DTM experience, I hope it’s a dry race.
“One of the things I’m really looking forward to and another reason why I joined the DTM is because of the legendary atmosphere at these DTM races. There is sure to be a large crowd, over 100,000. As a racing driver, it’s always your aim to perform in front of such big, enthusiastic crowds.”
Friday0945-1115 Test 11315-1445 Test 2
Saturday0840-0940 Practice1233-1318 Qualifying
Sunday1205-1215 Warm-up1303-1405 Race* Times are BST and are -1hr “local”.