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DTM at the Hungaroring: Audi want to get their act together

Three manufacturers, one two-way battle. DTM hits the road to Hungary with a clear pecking order. While Mercedes-Benz won three of the four races contested to date and BMW’s Timo Glock holds the championship lead, Audi have to clearly up the ante. But the Ingolstadters are determined to get their act together in Hungary. This weekend in Central Southern Europe, DTM is going to race for the first time this year abroad. DTM made its debut at the 4.381-kilometre Hungaroring located not far from Budapest in 1988 and after a long break it returned for its second Hungary race weekend in 2014. But now, the popular touring car series is about to hold the third consecutive race meeting at the Hungaroring and the fifth overall.

With two race meetings contested, BMW’s Timo Glock holds the championship lead, with Mercedes-AMG driver Gary Paffett following just one point behind. The latter wants to make for a first, at Budapest. « We made an excellent start into the season: two wins in four races and one more podium represented a nearly perfect start into the season for me. Both the car and the team proved to be fantastic, to date. Now we have to try to again display this form at Budapest. I never made it to the podium, there. That’s something I’d love to correct, » said the 37-year old. But Timo Glock is determined to not give up his championship lead without a fight. « Last year, Audi were really strong in Hungary, » he said. « But our car currently is extremely competitive and allows us drivers to deliver on different circuits. Budapest always is a highlight. In the past the circuit suited me really well. »

The third man who won a race in the season to date is Paffett’s fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Edoardo Mortara. « In the off-season we analysed my first, difficult season with Mercedes-AMG – and we understood the mistakes we made, » revealed the Italian who currently holds fourth position in the championship with 27 points on his tally. « The Hungaroring has got a lot of corners and due to the new regulations the tyre wear is even higher. Therefore, going easy on the tyres will particularly important this year at the Hungaroring. »

Poor start into the season but the benchmark in Hungary At the Lausitzring, the six Audi drivers had to settle for scoring meagre 13 points. The poorest result since the 2015 Oschersleben weekend where the ‘Lords of the Rings’ had to cope with just six points for the manufacturers’ ranking. Currently, Mercedes-AMG hold the lead with 212 points, followed by BMW (164). While the reigning champions follow far behind with 52 points on their tally. In the past years, however, the Audi RS 5 proved to be the benchmark at the winding Hungaroring. In 2017, six of the top-seven positions on the Saturday grid were secured by the six Audi drivers in the Saturday qualifying and in the Sunday race that was won by René Rast, four Audis made it to the top five. Just two weeks after his bad crash at the Lausitzring, the champion will be back in action. The monocoque of his Audis RS 5 he crashed wit at the Lausitzring will be the same. It survived the accident unharmed. « But everything else is completely new. Every single cable tie was replaced. Even the steering wheel, the pedals, the safety harness – everything has been changed, and the engine too, » explained Rast.

Rookie Eriksson learns in the races The reigning champion has fond memories of Hungary. On Saturday, Rast clinched his first DTM pole and on Sunday his debut win and the championship lead. This weekend was the foundation for the title win in his rookie season. For Audi, the event in Hungary is a virtual home race as their plant in Győr is just a 90-minute drive away. Many of the 11,000 employees make the trip to the Hungaroring to cross their fingers for the Audi drivers on site. « The accident wasn’t helpful for my title-defence campaign, » admitted Rast. « But this year, we had to find out as early as in the kick-off at Hockenheim that the season will be extremely difficult for us. We currently are somewhat fishing in troubled waters. But I hope that we soon will be competitive again to then be able to make it to the podium by our own efforts, » stressed Rast who currently holds 10th position in the championship with 13 points on his tally.

Meanwhile, rookie Joel Eriksson gathered a lot of experiences, in the first two race meetings of the season. The rookie convinced in the Sunday race at Hockenheim by coming fourth, scored a total of 15 points so far and holds 11th position in the overall standings. « I learned an enormous lot, in the races so far. I advanced to DTM from single-seater racing and therefore, I’m not accustomed to races where the cars may touch one another. In single-seater racing, this kind of close encounters resulted right away in broken front wings or similar damages. In DTM, however, these kinds of slight contacts aren’t a problem. The battle between Gary and Timo was fair and entertaining, » said the Swede who is looking forward to Budapest. « I have only fond memories of the Hungaroring. It’s one of my absolute favourite circuits. And I also like the city. Last year in Formula 3, I made it to the pole and also celebrated a race win. »

Slow corners, demanding circuit The Hungaroring is regarded as a demanding racetrack. Due to its numerous slow corners, overtaking is really difficult. The turns one and two are cornered in second gear – and the same applies to the chicane. Particularly thrilling are the turns 4 and 11 – a left-hander and a right-hander that both are cornered at about 160kph. In these bends the drivers have to cope with the highest lateral forces. A mistake on the winding racetrack of the ‘Flat Plate’ costs you dearly. The circuit got this nickname due to its topography. While the circuit itself is located in a valley, the grandstands were built on the somewhat higher surroundings and therefore, the crowds have perfect view of about 80 percent of the Hungaroring. At the end of the home straight the drivers are offered the best overtaking opportunity. Here they decelerate their cars down from 250kph for a sharp right-hander.

Exciting support programme and live coverage In addition to DTM, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and the Audi Sport R8 Seyffarth LMS Cup also will make for enthralling race action. At the same time, the Red Bull Air Race pilots Martin Sonka and Péter Besenyei will stun the crowds with amazing air acrobatics. Both on Saturday and Sunday, right after the presentation ceremony, at 14:55hrs CEST (13:55hrs BST), one of the two will entertain the crowds with a spectacular 10-minute air show.

The races will be started at 13:30hrs. Meanwhile, all the practice sessions, qualifying sessions and races will be streamed live by and the DTM-App.

Press release DTM


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