During the first three races of the 2012 DTM series, Audi has been outpaced by the competition of Mercedes-Benz AMG and BMW. Replacing the successful A4 (a car that carried Audi drivers to 7 of the 10 points-scoring DTM races in 2011), the A5 coupe-based race car did enter the 2012 season with some big tire tracks to fill. For the one and only visit to the country of Austria, Audi entered determined to mount a concentrated effort to mount a podium-topping DTM effort at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. To the delight of Audi boosters, the Austrian spectacle was the event where the A5 DTM race car would reign supreme.
The successful weekend for Audi started on Saturday when the A5 claimed its second series pole of DTM. For the first time since the debut race at the Hockenheimring where Mattias Ekström’s Red Bull-sponsored A5 scored a qualifying victory, the Audi Sport Team Rosberg car of Edoardo Mortara garnered the top spot at the 10-turn, 2.688-mile Red Bull Ring. “It’s simply incredible: my first pole position in the DTM! What can I say? Thank you to my guys from Team Rosberg, thank you to Audi Sport!” said the 25-year old driver Mortara after collecting the pole position.
On race day, the Playboy-sponsored Audi A5 DTM car of Edoardo Mortara only needed to preserve his position from the start in order to set up an ideal course over 47 laps. Placed on his first pole, the launch to begin Sunday’s main event was a challenge for second-year Italian driver Mortara. Contending with DTM points leader Gary Paffett and his Mercedes-AMG C-Coupe at the start, the Team Rosberg Audi A5 had an eventful entrance into the first corner but successfully fought off Paffett.
Fending off Gary Paffett early, the latter part of the DTM race at the Red Bull Ring, Edoardo Mortara and Audi’s plans for victory were put in danger by a former pilot of the four-ring badge products. Winning the 2011 championship with the Audi A4, Martin Tomczyk had jumped ship to the new BMW effort for 2012. Tomczyk’s BMW M3 hounded the rear of the Montara’s Audi A5 looking to exploit any mishap of the Team Rosberg race machine. Undaunted, Edoardo Montara flew to the checkered flag first holding off Tomczyk by a 1.068-second gap.
For what was a series of firsts, Edoardo Mortara celebrated at the top of the podium for what is a first official DTM win (Mortara won a round in the Munich Olympic Stadium last year but the race was not classified as part of the points-paying 2011 DTM tour). “After a few difficult weekends I wouldn’t have necessarily expected to win. You always try and give your best and today we achieved the maximum.” said Mortara. The first win for the Audi A5 is also the first DTM series victory for Team Rosberg since joining Audi in 2006.
Mattias Ekström brought the Audi A5 sponsored by the owner of the Austria track to a 4th place finish. Ekström commented in post-race about his 4th top-5 in the opening 4 DTM events saying, “I had a very good start in the race but then unfortunately lost a few places on lap one. In the end, I finished in fourth place. It’s definitely a bit disappointing that I didn’t finish on podium and manage to score big points.“
Finishing sixth, Timo Scheider with the ABT Sportsline Audi A5 was actually having a better race until taking a trip through the gravel trap. Finishing more than 35 seconds behind the leader, Scheider’s race was still a strong outing that included posting the fastest lap time around the Red Bull Ring during the 47-lap event.
Phoenix Racing’s Mike Rockenfeller (two weeks away from joining the Audi Sport Team Joest squad at the Le Mans 24 hour race) finished 7th and Filipe Albuquerque in the second Team Rosberg Audi A5 finished 8th.
Audi’s first win comes ahead of a nearly one month lay-off for the 2012 DTM series. The next race will take place at the Norisring where Audi hasn’t since 2002.
Information source: Audi AG, DTM
Photo source: Audi AG