Motorsport Newsletter 11/2012: Audi drivers to present themselves at Hockenheim

Media day at Hockenheim: The DTM is inviting accredited journalists to a press conference at the circuit. At 9.30 a.m. on April 2, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich and his colleagues from the competitor brands will be on hand before the season starts. Between 12.00 and 2 p.m., the drivers will be pleased to answer all the questions of the media as well. In between, the A5 DTM that embodies an eagerly awaited all-new touring car generation will be doing test laps at Hockenheim.

Mileage for the body: Timo Scheider has been bitten by the biking bug. For weeks, the Audi factory driver has been an enthusiast of this sport on a racing bicycle specifically made for him. From the DTM test at Valencia, he privately traveled on to Majorca. For one week, from March 24 to 31, he trained his body for the new motorsport season on the Balearic Island on extensive biking tours.

Sportscar testing: Following the one-two victory at the Sebring 12 Hours, Audi tested on the race track in Florida with eleven race drivers from Monday to Thursday.  After an accident by Timo Bernhard, who in an Audi R18 ultra had slipped backwards into the tire stacks in turn 17 on Monday, Audi continued the tests with two R18 e-tron quattro cars and an R18 TDI as a reference vehicle. Bernhard stayed at a local hospital for medical checks until the middle of the week. An injury of the cervical spine was diagnosed but did not require surgery. Afterwards, he started his vacation in Florida with his wife Katharina.

Anniversary candidate: Dindo Capello is particularly happy about his fifth winner’s trophy from Sebring. Last weekend, the Audi factory driver together with Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish won the 60th running of the 12-hour race. Exactly ten years ago, the Italian had already celebrated a victory on the 50th anniversary event of this classic race.

Additional programs for two Audi factory drivers: Oliver Jarvis and Marco Bonanomi will not only be reeling off a large number of test and race kilometers in the Audi R18 ultra for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) this year. Both are also competing for the Belgian private WRT team in the Audi R8 LMS ultra. As Jarvis’ team partner in the FIA GT1 World Championship, Frank Stippler was nominated on Thursday. Marco Bonanomi was announced in Belgium as the race driver for the Blancpain Endurance Series. He will be sharing the cockpit with Laurens Vanthoor (B) and Edward Sandström (S).

A word from … Miguel Molina

This year, you are competing in the DTM in a team that is new for you. How was your first meeting?
At Valencia, I just made a nice step forward with Audi Sport Team Phoenix. We’ve only been working together since this winter but we’ve already got a pleasant and productive atmosphere.  I think we’ve put all the ingredients together to attract attention this year.”

Ernst Moser’s team clinched the DTM title last year. Can this spirit be felt?
Absolutely! It’s a compact squad that wants to continue at the same level as last year. You can feel that the team is giving everything for this – from my engineer and team director Ernst Moser through to every single team member. That’s a good feeling and gives me a lot of confidence.

You’ve just tested the Audi A5 DTM at Valencia. What’s your personal assessment?
We had one test day in rainy and one day in dry weather in Spain, and completed all our programs as planned. The feeling of driving the new A5 DTM compared with the old A4 DTM is a difference like night and day. There’s much more mechanical grip, more aerodynamics, larger body dimensions: everything is new and completely different. I like the A5 DTM better than its predecessor. And I’m happy that not only Audi but also my partner Red Bull continue to be committed to me. I’m already excited about the first race at Hockenheim on April 29.

Coming up next week

March 31 Birmingham (USA), round 02, GRAND-AM
April 01 Okayama (J), Super GT, round 01
April 01 Oschersleben (D), ADAC GT Masters, round 01

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