•Mattias Ekström heads standings with one-point advantage, trailed by René Rast
•Ekström has won on the dune circuit near Amsterdam an amazing four times
•Dutchman Nyck de Vries in the Audi RS 5 DTM race taxi
The DTM is returning from its summer break with an absolute highlight this weekend. The touring cars delivering more than 500 hp are going to race at Circuit Zandvoort on August 19/20. The track in the dunes on the Dutch North Sea coast is regarded as the most challenging one on the DTM calendar. Audi has celebrated nine victories there to date.
“Zandvoort is an old-school track and for me, personally, the most beautiful one in the DTM,” says Audi campaigner Jamie Green. “Having won there for the first time in the DTM last year is still one of my highlights of the 2016 season. The fast turns are tremendous fun – particularly in qualifying with just a small amount of fuel in the tank.” The other Audi drivers have fond memories of Zandvoort as well. Mike Rockenfeller won his first DTM race there in 2011 and the DTM title in 2013. Loïc Duval in 2008 clinched a victory for the French national team in the A1 Grand Prix series in difficult conditions in the dunes. However, the absolute “king” on the 4.307-kilometer race track on the outskirts of Amsterdam is Mattias Ekström. The two-time DTM Champion and reigning Rallycross World Champion has been on the top step of the winners’ podium at Zandvoort an amazing four times, most recently in 2014.
“Zandvoort is absolutely cool, no doubt about it” says the Swede who, following a brief family vacation in Italy, is traveling to the North Sea as the leader of the standings – albeit with just a one-point advantage over fellow Audi campaigner René Rast. The driver who has been causing a sensation this season came by his unexpected DTM debut that paved his way into a regular cockpit in the touring car series as a stand-in at Zandvoort last year practically overnight. Twelve months later, Rast’s tally reflects two victories, three pole positions and two fastest race laps, plus good chances in the title race. Youngster Nico Müller is another great fan of the race track at Zandvoort. “I’m already excited about trying out the new tarmac there,” says the Swiss. “We’ll be driving the turns, which are fast to begin with, at even higher speed than before and seeing clearly faster lap times.”
“We’ll have to wait and see if and how the new tarmac will impact the performance of the tires,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “Zandvoort has always been a tire-killing track, but in the past we coped well with that. The track should suit us. But the DTM is unpredictable. I expect that we’ll be seeing two very spectacular races.”
ARD will be airing live coverage from Zandvoort on Saturday (August 19) starting at 2:30 PM (CEST) and on Sunday (August 20) starting at 3:00 PM. Tickets and fan packages are available online at www.audi.com/dtm.
The Dutchman Nyck de Vries will be driving guests around his home track at Zandvoort in the Audi RS 5 DTM race taxi.