They had to wait six races. At the Nürburgring the time had come: Laurent Aiello managed the first season victory for the Audi Team in the DTM. The defending DTM champion drove 41 laps on the Nürburgring’s sprint course leading by 1.387 seconds as he crossed the finish line, leaving the others without a chance to catch him. “It’s been a while since we have achieved such a result. It feels a little like the first victory of my career,” explained a champagne soaked Aiello. “From outside, it looked simple, but it wasn’t. My car was very steady, and what’s more is that my pit crew were great. We had a perfect strategy. I am very happy. In the last couple of races, I had already had the chance to get such good results, but a lot went wrong. Everything worked out today.” This triumph has pulled Aiello up from seventh place to fourth in the drivers’ points standings.
Mattias Ekström completed Audi’s success with his fourth place. Though there could have been more in it for the Swede, because he was in good form for the whole racing weekend. The climax: Ekström won the Super Pole qualifying, the first time in DTM history that it had taken place after dark. “My car was perfect the whole weekend. Unfortunately, after my first pit stop, I couldn’t match the pace of the leaders and lost a few positions,” explained Ekström. “After my second stop, I was able to catch up and even gained on Bernd Schneider. If I had had a couple of more laps, I would have been able to make a move.” Karl Wendlinger finished eleventh.
The other three Abt-Audi drivers retired early. Martin Tomczyk, who began the race in fourth place, lost his chance to finish in the points because of gearbox problems, as did Christian Abt. “I was right up there with the leaders. It’s a shame,” said the aggravated Junior Tomczyk. Also Peter Terting, Tomczyk’s teammate in the S line Audi Junior Team, did not get to see the chequered flag after a competitor damaged his left rear suspension on the second lap and thus forced him to pull out of the race later on.
Team Director Hans-Jürgen Abt summarised how the team was feeling: “A large burden has been lifted from our shoulders. The team never gave up and put up an excellent fight to make this victory possible.”
1 Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi TT-R) 41 laps in 1h 10.575s
2 Christijan Albers (Mercedes) + 1.387s
3 Bernd Schneider (Mercedes) + 6.238s
4 Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R) + 7.562s
5 Marcel Fässler (Mercedes) + 15.239s