As a professional soccer player Günter Netzer was known for ‘breaking through from deep midfield.’ With his long passes the midfield playmaker of the 60s and 70s would thwart the plans of many an opposing defender and caused the description of his play to become a household phrase in German sportscasting. On Friday, Netzer broke through from deep midfield again – but this time the venue was not a soccer stadium but the Motodrom of the Hockenheimring. And his sports equipment was not a leather ball but a genuine race car: the Audi RS 5 DTM, with 460 hp of power output and a speed of up to 280 km/h.
Before Netzer, as the first celebrity ever to do so, took the wheel of an Audi RS 5 DTM, the current DTM Champion Mike Rockenfeller and his Audi brand colleague Mattias Ekström provided him with background information on the car and the race track. During a joint recon run on a motor scooter, ‘Rocky’ explained the challenges of the Hockenheimring to Netzer. Afterwards, the two-time Champion and Hockenheim winner Mattias Ekström familiarized the soccer idol with the functions and special characteristics of the touring car.
The last bit of nervous tension disappeared as soon as the Audi RS 5 DTM began to move with Netzer at the wheel. “This was like playing soccer: once the game starts you stop being nervous,” commented Netzer. After three laps on the 4.574-kilometer circuit, Mike Rockenfeller waved the checkered flag on Netzer’s race car debut in the Audi RS 5 DTM, which Netzer summed up by saying, “A fantastic experience I’ll never forget. It further heightened my enthusiasm for motorsport, the DTM in particular, and my respect for the DTM drivers. I used a maximum of 25 percent of the car’s potential. Thinking about the performance of these guys when they’re driving at the limit and battling for positions in the process – I take my hat off to them!”
For Mike Rockenfeller, the meeting with Netzer was a special experience too. “I only knew him from television before and my impression of him on TV has been confirmed here: a likeable person and a great sportsman. He was visibly impressed by the dynamics of the Audi RS 5 DTM. Of course you can’t experience the DTM in a more intensive way than driving the race car on the track yourself.”
Günter Netzer is not the only German World Soccer Champion to keep his fingers crossed for Audi at the DTM season opener on location. Klaus Augenthaler and Andreas Brehme, who in 1990 had a part in Germany’s last FIFA World Cup title win to date, are guests of the four rings at Hockenheim as well.
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