Quotes after the race
Mattias Ekström, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline (1st place): "That was a tough race. The biggest pressure I was under was at the beginning – in the rain - against Bernd Schneider. At that time, he was a bit quicker than I was. But then I managed to overtake him on slicks. Later, my tyres began degrading, and that was the reason for the duel with Mika Häkkinen. He then made a braking mistake and spun. That was good for me. I’m happy that we’ve clinched a double victory for Audi.”
Tom Kristensen, Audi Sport Team Abt (2nd place): "I needed this result. It’s nice to be on the podium again for a change after two pole positions in the past two races. In these conditions, the race was very difficult, it was a good thing that the race directors decided to start behind the safety car. Of course there was a lack of grip at the beginning, but we changed to slicks at the right time and this enabled me join the front runners. The second stop helped me to move further to the front of the field as well. We were quick and had the right strategy – I hope that’s a good omen for the remainder of the season.”
Gary Paffett, DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes (3rd place): "It could have been a perfect result, because we have been fastest both in wet and dry conditions. For me and our team the third place is disappointing. Crossing the white line was my mistake and I apologize to everybody who worked hard for a better outcome."
RMika Häkkinen, Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes (4th place): "I am satisfied having finished a race after three retirements. However, the fourth place is quite disappointing after we were second in qualifying. We all had expected more, because we had the speed to achieve a better result."
Bernd Schneider, Vodafone AMG-Mercedes (5th place): "I started well and was able to put pressure on Ekström immediately. After my first pit stop I suffered from severe understeer. We will have to investigate the reason."
Allan McNish, Audi Sport Team Abt (6th place): "Our set-up for rain was a bit of a gamble. At the beginning of the race, this worked out quite well, I was directly behind Tom Kristensen and even managed to overtake him. But then, after the track had dried off, I was lacking grip.”
Jean Alesi, AMG-Mercedes (7th place): "Starting behind the Safety Car I got stuck behind Marcel Fässler who accelerated really late. Therefore I lost contact to the cars in front of us."
Jamie Green, Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes (8th place): "In the beginning I got stuck behind Christian Abt and lost valuable time. When I got past him, the gap behind the cars in front was too big to catch up."
Laurent Aiello, Team OPC (9th place): ”It’s truly disappointing to be fifth on the grid but fail to score points. Up to the beginning of the pit stop period I succeeded in defending my fifth place although my car was massively oversteering on the wets, in the opening stages of the race. During my second pit stop I lost a lot of time because of a failing air wrench. This cost me my chance of making it to the points.”
LChristian Abt, Audi Sport Team Joest Racing (10th place): "This race was fair to middling. Unfortunately, our team was unaware of the race being started behind the safety car, otherwise I wouldn’t have finished the first lap with a 31-second gap. The fact that I crossed the finish line with a gap of barely 29 seconds, shows that my speed in the race was okay.”
Martin Tomczyk, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline (11th place): "In the beginning, things went quite well in the rain, even though I wasn’t quick enough. After changing to slicks, Allan’s (McNish) speed was higher on the first lap. After my second pit stop, I made this inexcusable mistake of crossing the white line. I’m very angry at myself.”
Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Stern Team OPC (12th place): ”It would have been nice had I been informed on the way the race was supposed to be started. When the Safety-Car went in after the first lap, there was already a huge gap between the front runners and the chasers. It seems that I overstrained my tyres while trying to close the gap, in the first third of the race. Furthermore, I couldn’t gain positions as the balance of my car wasn’t alright.”
Marcel Fässler, GMAC Team OPC (13th place): ”Like most of the midfield drivers I lost contact to the front runners right at the start. A very annoying situation as my Vectra GTS V8 had what it needed to set very competitive lap times and was particularly competitive while braking. Hadn’t I lost so much time during the start, a point finish would have been most definitely within my reach.”
Frank Stippler, Audi Sport Team Joest (14th place): "Considering the fact that we probably made a mistake with the rear suspension set-up and that the resulting lack of stability probably made my car the slowest in the field, I’m satisfied. 14th place and the second-best 2004-spec car – under these circumstances, this is a respectable result.”
Pierre Kaffer, Audi Sport Team Joest Racing (18th place): "My ‘home game’ didn’t go the way I’d expected it to. At the start I was a bit confused. I braked in the last corner, was ready to go to my position on the grid, and suddenly there were almost no cars in sight any more . What’s more, we decided to take a risk starting on slicks, and that didn’t work out. The race, including the stops, really went well, but with the loss of time at the beginning, a better result was impossible.”
Rinaldo Capello, Audi Sport Team Joest (19th place): "Alright, hindsight is 20/20 vision. But – let’s face it - the decision to start on slicks, which I had taken together with my engineer, might just as well have worked. Yet as early as on the formation lap I knew this wasn’t the case. When the track dried off, I was as quick as the top three. The set-up for dry conditions worked perfectly. That consoles me a little.”
Manuel Reuter, Team OPC (20th place): ”In the third lap I had a close encounter with Stefan Mücke and went off into the gravel at the entrance of the pit straight. After the race, Stefan told me that he regrets having made this mistake. I lost two laps before I was pulled out of the gravel and could rejoin the race. Afterwards, I succeeded in setting competitive lap times, with my Vectra. But I don’t agree with the decisions of the race control: starting with the infelicitous information policy regarding the starting format and ending with the blue flags in the closing stages when three of us were involved in a great battle and didn’t hamper anybody. Hence, the blue flag was absolutely unnecessary.”
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "This victory is dedicated to Hans-Jürgen Abt, whom we’re wishing a speedy recovery. In the race we managed to re-gain the speed we’d had up to the qualifying practice. In the rain we had some difficulties at first, but in dry conditions things were balanced again. All in all, it was a good result for the Audi squad. We are pleased about our double victory and the fact that we’ve re-captured the lead in the drivers’ standings. It’s true that today we benefited from the mistake of a competitor. But if you want to win in the DTM, you mustn’t make any mistakes.”
Norbert Haug (Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport): "A small mistake of Gary Paffett with a big effect cost us the race win today. During the last third of the race, Gary crossed the white line at the pit lane exit after his second pit stop. This was no advantage for him but will be penalized as everybody knows. I am very satisfied with our speed, pit stops and strategy. Also Mika Häkkinen performed well; he was capable of winning, too. Our balance with five victories out of seven races is OK. The sixth win was possible but – see above. The fight for the championship is still exciting with Gary being one point behind the leader."
Volker Strycek (Opel Motorsport Director): ”The result reflects a disappointing race performance. At the end of the day, Laurent Aiello’s ninth place was our best position. Two of our cars had secured top ten positions on the grid, but we didn’t succeed in making the best use of these promising positions and have to leave the Nürburgring empty-handed. The crowd of 112,000 that travelled to the Nürburgring, this weekend, made for a great atmosphere.”