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Date 07/08/2011 Hits74,473

Category Motorsports

Mattias Ekstrom with strong nerves at the 'Ring'

Mattias Ekstrom with strong nerves at the 'Ring'

- Audi driver claims pole positions in difficult conditions

- Unpredictable Eifel weather takes centre stage at the Nurburgring

- Hankook slicks provided the necessary grip in spite of wet track

Nurburg/Germany, August 6th, 2011. - A turbulent start into the second half of the DTM season at the Nurburgring. In qualifying on Saturday, the unpredictable weather in the Eifel took centre stage. Changeable weather conditions with rainy spells confronted all drivers with major problems. In these difficult conditions, two times’ DTM champion (2004/2007) Mattias Ekstrom (Audi) had the strongest nerves and claimed pole position with an advantage of 3.180 seconds. Thus, an Audi driver will be starting from first place at the circuit with its long history for the fifth year in a row.

With his AMG Mercedes C-Class, Jamie Green ended up second in qualifying while Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller secured himself third place. Points’ leader Bruno Spengler had bad luck. In the final qualifying heat, the Mercedes-Benz driver had to go out on the wet track first while the circuit dried out more and more as his three opponents were driving after him. This left the 27-year old without a chance, he ended up fourth. The battle for the title remains thrilling, because Martin Tomczyk (Audi), second in the drivers’ standings, will be starting from seventh place within striking distance behind Spengler on Sunday.

The biggest challenge for all drivers was the fact that they had to go out onto the partly damp track with Hankook slick tyres, because the asphalt was still too dry for rain tyres. In spite of the wet, the Ventus F200 still generated a lot of grip with the high asphalt temperatures.

Mattias Ekstrom: “My advantage as the last one to start was that rain got less. But I had already been fastest in the third qualifying heat and I don’t have to be ashamed to be on pole. The Hankook slicks also worked very well on the damp track, but their rain tyres are doing very well in these mixed conditions. My opponents were using slicks, so that was what we did, too, and it was the right decision.”

Hankook’s race engineer Michael Eckert: “Slick tyres were the right option, because the track was still damp, but there was no standing water and no spray. Actually, we didn’t get to the point to use rain tyres. Between the penultimate and the final session, teams heated the tyres, so that they had a high temperature and worked well. That was also thanks to the asphalt that, at 25 degrees, wasn’t cooled down so much by the rain. Bruno Spengler simply had bad luck, because he had more rain on his lap than the others.”


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