Thanks to a clever strategy of Audi Sport Team Phoenix and keeping a cool head Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller was able to extend his lead in the overall standings to 35 points at the Nürburgring. Following a turbulent starting lap with numerous slips, spins and contacts in the starting rain, the safety car was deployed – and at that point in time Mike Rockenfeller in the Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM was running at the end of the field after having to evade a rival in turn one. Audi Sport Team Phoenix based in Meuspath in immediate proximity to the Nürburgring opted for a risky strategy. The team called Rockenfeller to the pits for switching to rain tires while the safety car was still deployed. On optimal tires, ‘Rocky’ managed to battle his way forward from 20th place to the front of the field within just five laps and to commandingly achieve an advantage of nearly half a minute. Despite having to make an additional pit stop on account of the strategy, it was ultimately enough for him to take fourth place and another twelve points on a drying track.
|Circuit length||3.629 km|
|Lap record (race)||Bruno Spengler, Mercedes-Benz (1m 24.372s, 154.843 km/h)|
|Pole position 2013||Augusto Farfus, BMW (1m 23.296s, 156.8 km/h)|
|Winner 2013||Robert Wickens, Mercedes-Benz|
|Fastest race lap 2013||Pascal Wehrlein, Mercedes-Benz (1m 23.835s, 155.835 km/h)|
Since the beginning of the season, Miguel Molina has had a second residence near the Nürburgring. Round seven of the DTM is thus something like a home race for the Spaniard – and the 24-year-old will be tackling it from grid position three as the best Audi driver on Sunday. The Spaniard missed a position on the front row by only 0.006 seconds. Alongside Molina, Edoardo Mortara will be tackling the race from the second row of the grid as well. As is often the case in the DTM, thousandths of a second made the crucial difference in deciding who would move on to the next segment in the four-part qualifying session. This truth was brought home as well to leader of the standings Mike Rockenfeller, who set the best time in the first segment but then missed the leap into the top ten by a razor-thin margin of 0.007 seconds. Thus, ‘Rocky’ is starting from position eleven, one place behind his fiercest rival in the battle for the title, BMW driver Bruno Spengler.
Mike Rockenfeller grew up in a place not far from the Nürburgring. Audi Sport Team Phoenix, which fields the Audi RS 5 DTM of the current leader of the DTM standings, is practically based right across from the entrance to the paddock of the tradition-steeped race track in the Eifel. No wonder that ‘Rocky’ is looking forward to the seventh round of the DTM season with feverish anticipation, particularly as he has not been able to win his home race to date. “The Nürburgring is the home round for my team and me and thus a small highlight of the season. Naturally, my big wish is for the car, the set-up and the strategy to work as perfectly again as they last did when we took victory at Moscow.” Audi’s track record in the Eifel puts him in a confident mood as well. Six races have been won here by Audi drivers since the series’ comeback in 2000.
Who says Nurburgring, certainly thinks first of the famous Nordschleife, which was built in the 1920s German tradition racetrack. The DTM, however, runs on the short ‘sprint’ version of the Grand Prix circuit opened in 1984. Improved view over the circuit, modern infrastructure and also more race action due to the shorter lap times are the advantages for motorsport fans. Audi DTM driver Adrien Tambay in particular is looking forward to the race. “I like this circuit a lot. In 2007 I finished on the podium for the first time in a single-seater series for young talent that supported the Formula 1 race here“.