Leader of the standings best Audi driver in qualifying at ZandvoortGrid position three directly behind title rival FarfusSeven of the eight Audi RS 5 DTM cars among the top eleven
The starting base before the penultimate race of the 2013 DTM season could hardly be more thrilling than this, as Augusto Farfus (BMW) and Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) – the two candidates for the title – are directly behind one another on grid positions two and three at Zandvoort (the Netherlands) on Sunday.
The 4.307-kilometer circuit on the Dutch North Sea Coast is regarded as one of the most challenging race tracks on which Audi, since its comeback with a factory-backed commitment in 2004, has achieved six out of nine possible victories. The track is regarded as putting extreme demands on the tires and offers only limited overtaking possibilities. That is why, more than at other races, good grid positions, the right strategy and a set-up that is gentle on the tires are crucial.
Leader of the standings Mike Rockenfeller in the Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix has checked off the first part and, by clinching grid position three, secured a good starting base for the 44-lap race. “Naturally, I’d have wished to be starting in front of Augusto (Farfus) tomorrow,” said the 29-year-old. “But even in this morning’s free practice he showed that he’s very strong here. Now we’ve got to see to us being fast enough in the race tomorrow to crack him. It was a difficult qualifying session for us, so I’m pleased with grid position three. My thanks go to Audi and my team. I’m the best Audi driver on the grid and my aim of winning the race remains unchanged. I need a good start and then we’ll see what happens.”
Alongside the leader of the standings, Timo Scheider in the AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline will be starting the race from grid position four. Filipe Albuquerque in the Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg, by taking position six, made for drivers from all three Audi teams to start from the first three rows.
Audi’s qualifying performance that was strong on the whole was completed by Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM), Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra RS 5 DTM), Miguel Molina (Audi RS 5 DTM) and Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM) with grid positions seven, nine, ten and eleven.
With that, seven of the eight Audi RS 5 DTM cars are starting from the best eleven grid positions on Sunday. Only Jamie Green in his Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM, in 18th place, was eliminated by just a very narrow margin right in the first qualifying segment. As last year’s winner Bruno Spengler received a two-position grid penalty, Green will start the race from 17th place.
“The two candidates for the title are directly behind one another tomorrow on the first two rows of the grid – it can hardly be more thrilling than this,” said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. “Mike (Rockenfeller) drove a strong qualifying session yet again and Timo (Scheider), as always, was very fast at Zandvoort again. With six Audi cars in the top ten, we’ve got a good overall starting base for the race in which the right strategy will play a crucial role – there are many different variants that can be driven here. It’ll be a very exciting race.”
Mike Rockenfeller will have the chance to secure an early DTM title win by achieving a good result on today. ARD will broadcast live on ‘Das Erste’ starting at 13:15 from. The race can be watched live on YouTube in many countries as well.