- First “matchball” for Audi driver Timo Scheider
- Mattias Ekström and Martin Tomczyk still in title race too
- Eagerly awaited DTM debut at Dijon-Prenois
Ingolstadt/Dijon – The motorsport world will be focusing on France on October 11 with eager anticipation: For the first time, the DTM will visit the legendary French circuit of Dijon-Prenois at which one of the most spectacular Formula 1 races of all time took place exactly 30 years ago. And for the first time an automobile manufacturer could be securing a third consecutive DTM title – because Audi driver Timo Scheider will have the first “matchball” in France.
The reigning DTM champion will travel to the DTM’s debut at Dijon-Prenois with an advantage of 12 points over his team colleague Mattias Ekström, 14 over Mercedes driver Gary Paffett and 20 over Martin Tomczyk. Consequently, Scheider will also lead the standings after the ninth race of the season. If the 30-year-old German has a perfect race weekend, he will arrive at the DTM finale at Hockenheim 14 days later as the new and old champion.
Scheider can win the championship early at Dijon-Prenois on his own power – irrespective of the results of his closest rivals. To do so, he would have to win the race or finish as the runner-up. On the other hand, his three remaining rivals in the title fight have to hope for a poor result of the leader of the standings and score a lot of points themselves: Martin Tomczyk has to win in order to stay in the title race. Gary Paffett needs at least a fifth- and Mattias Ekström a sixth-place finish.
However, Timo Scheider & company are in for what may be their trickiest task of the year. The 3.801-kilometre circuit of Dijon-Prenois, with an average speed of almost 200 km/h, is by far the fastest track on the DTM calendar and the race, with a distance of 197.652 km, the longest of the season.
In addition, the extremely fast turns put a severe strain on the tires. Particularly the left front tire is considered highly vulnerable. Therefore, an optimum set-up, the right strategy and a sensible driving style are of paramount importance at Dijon-Prenois. Because the high-speed circuit hardly offers any overtaking opportunities, qualifying on Saturday will be even more important than at the previous seven races of the season.
That the circuit of Dijon-Prenois suits Timo Scheider as well as the Audi A4 DTM was obvious as early as during the official tests held prior to the start of the season at which the reigning champion posted the fastest time. In addition, the aerodynamically refined A4 handles fast turns particularly well. The start-finish straight covering a distance of more than one kilometre does not give Audi much reason to worry either: In most of the top speed measurements the A4 has been the front runner this year.
Although Audi travels to France with two racers heading the standings and three of the remaining four title candidates are Audi drivers, the squad at Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm is perfectly aware of the fact that the coveted title is not yet in its pocket. Too much can happen in the DTM – and the strong competition from Stuttgart will leave no stone unturned to postpone the decision to the finale at Hockenheim.
Still, should the champion be determined as early as at Dijon-Prenois, Audi would be the first automobile manufacturer in the history of the DTM that has been held since 1984 to win the title for the third consecutive time – and Timo Scheider the second DTM driver after Bernd Schneider (2000/2001) to manage a successful title defence.
So there are reasons galore to travel to the DTM race in Burgundy or to turn on the TV. ARD will broadcast live from Dijon-Prenois, qualifying on Saturday starting at 1:25 pm (German time) and the race on Sunday starting at 1:45 pm.