• Sep 25th 2007 at 7:33PM
  • 18

For those unfamiliar with the DTM, it's a European touring car series that sees major carmakers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Opel compete against each other using race cars based on their regular production models. At the series' most recent event in Barcelona, Audi motorsport boss Wolfgang Ullrich instructed all his drivers to park their cars midway though the race.

The reason behind the controversial decision was because of what Audi claims was rough treatment by several Mercedes-Benz drivers. During the race, a number of Audi drivers were bumped off the track by their Mercedes rivals. In one incident, Audi's Martin Tomczyk took the lead before he was bumped off the track by two-time Formula 1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen. After attempting to restart, Tomczyk was forced to retire because of damage to his radiator. All remaining Audi drivers were then ordered to retire because of fears of further damage at the hands of Mercedes' unscrupulous tactics.

The two Mercedes drivers involved were penalized for the incidents after the race with fines as well as a ten-place grid penalty at the championship finale in Hockenheim next month.

[Source: Speed TV]


Audi favours a sporting decision of the title
  • Excessively rough driving at the DTM race at Barcelona
  • Audi withdraws all vehicles as a consequence
  • Audi driver Mattias Ekström continues to lead the table

The title decision in the 2007 DTM will only be made in the finale at Hockenheim on 14 October. 42,000 spectators at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona (Spain) witnessed an excessively rough race in which one Audi driver after the other was bumped off the track by Mercedes drivers – among them all four drivers of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline including the two candidates for the title, Mattias Ekström (Sweden) and Martin Tomczyk (Germany). When the situation threatened to escalate, Audi decided to withdraw all seven Audi A4 DTM cars that were still in the race.

From the start, the quickest in qualifying, Martin Tomczyk, had taken the lead before being bumped off the track on lap seven by the two-time Formula World Champion Mika Häkkinen. After the incident, Tomczyk was at first able to continue the race in eleventh place but later had to retire because the radiator of his Audi A4 DTM was damaged in the collision.

Leader of the standings Mattias Ekström had advanced from tenth to sixth place after the start and was very quick after an early first tyre change. While overtaking Daniel la Rosa, who had not pitted yet, he was hit hard by the Mercedes driver. This meant the end of the race for the Swede as well.

Previously, on the starting lap, Tom Kristensen had been turned around by Mercedes driver Gary Paffett. When Timo Scheider and Mike Rockenfeller, who was running in third position, also were pushed off the track by Mercedes drivers, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich – after consultation with the Chairman of the Board of AUDI AG, Rupert Stadler – decided to withdraw all seven Audi cars remaining in the race to send a clear message in favour of fair racing.

"What happened on the race track today was simply unacceptable," stated Rupert Stadler, who witnessed the race live at the team garage of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. "We're proceeding from the assumption that emotions will cool down again before the Hockenheim race and that spectators will see a finale with fair sport. It's also clear that we continue to be committed to the DTM. But a few things will probably have to change."

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "We wanted to see a tough, but fair touring car race today. But we had to get the impression that the Mercedes drivers used every opportunity to eliminate our cars. This is not the style in which we want to conduct motorsport. We want to see tough and fair duels but nothing of the kind we had today. That's why we took the decision to withdraw all of our vehicles. That was not an easy decision, and it cost us points, and maybe even the title. But we wanted to send a clear message for fair motorsport."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      hmm, only M-B and Audi compete in DTM. Opel left and BMW was never in it.
        • 8 Years Ago
        BMW has won 48 DTM races and is on the second place behind Mercedes in the all time record sheet. They have won the DTM championship 3 times but left it many years ago and went to WTCC
      • 8 Years Ago
      Actually only Mercedes Benz and Audi compete in the DTM. The DTM cars are pure racing cars with skins looking like production cars.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I was in Frankfurt this weekend and I got to see some DTM at the hotel. I haven't watched DTM since Opel left the scene but it was quite clear that a few MB cars used pretty thug-like tactics to get pass the Audis infront of them.
      • 8 Years Ago
      HAHAHA...if you want to talk about comparing motorsports use anything but NASCAR...god if you tell yourself you know enought about NASCAR to say they are more stock than DTM then...maby you dont know nothing about DTM, or NASCAR, or both! DTM cars share some parts with the stock cars and even in the little parts they do share are not enough, at least the structures, where all that aero parts are bolted on, are close to what the original models are. In nascar even the shape is all the same, the only change is to choose what decal of headlamp is going to be used on the body! go to a carousel or something, but dont talk down on DTM using NASCAR as an argument.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Please don't stop writing articles about auto racing. Even if you can't get every detail correct, it's still great to read about.

      I'm gonna take a guess on the timeframe from memory and say Opel isn't in DTM this year, wasn't last year either, and the year before, they were actually just year-old cars still being run, meaning Opel hasn't spent any money on DTM development in 3 years.

      Kudos to them, despite the high-powered drivers in the DTM, I'd rather see real late-model racing than this series of highly chopped chassis with CF shells and all-custom motors.

      Please please, someone pick up the gauntlet laid down by the Aussie V8 supercars and try to bring (nearly) late-model vehicles running on road courses to the masses.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Just once comment about this, there are only two manufacturers on the track now. If an M-B driver is to run into another driver, there's a 50% chance it'd be an Audi anyway.

      Also, it's amazing DTM still calls these touring cars. Touring cars are generally production-based. This is sedan racing, but these cars are in no way production. They make NASCAR cars look stock.
        • 8 Years Ago
        I think DTM is way more stock than NASCAR. At least in the way they look.
        • 8 Years Ago
        I agree with you, DTM cars are nothing like touring race cars. In fact, they get away with aerodynamics that make the LM GT1 class pale. The whole body work, splitters, diffusers, side louvers and dive planes ensure that they get downforce close to that of LMP cars. If you remove the 4 door body nonsense you can see the typical LMP chassis and solutions. And BTW, Audi uses a 12,000 rpm V8 engine with RWD. Indeed, NASCAR looks stock compared to this.
      • 8 Years Ago
      yes, actually opel does not run from the last 2 seasons...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sounds like JPM would be a good fit on the M-B team! Either that, or Mercedes will go into NASCAR. Maybe the Audis were just gettin' "aero loose."
      • 8 Years Ago
      Audi should have just hit them back and not have picked their ball up and went home. Its a cowardly act and now if Mercedes wants to get under Audis skin they can just have a couple of their drivers rough up the Audis and they'll quit, paving the way for a Mercedes win.

      Whats the best way to stand up to a bully? Pop him in the face!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Good call by Audi, I saw this race and Mercedes' tactics were blatant to say the least. This doesn't bode well for DTM though; the series died in the 90's because skyrocketing expenses and too much emphasis on technology resulted in all the manufacturers (bar Mercedes) pulling out, and in just over a decade they've managed to revive the series and repeat the exact same mistakes to kill it off again.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Would you people please stop writing articles about auto racing? You haven't got a clue, and this isn't the first article that proves it either.

        OK, quiz time. Its now 2007. When did Opel last compete in this series? Oh, and, HINT, they don't now.

      • 8 Years Ago
      "it's a European" German to be precise.
      "touring car" those aren't touring cars by any stretch of the imagination

      "series that sees major carmakers such as Mercedes-Benz,"
      "and Opel"
      Not for a couple of years.
      "compete against each other using race cars based on their regular production models." No, just somewhat based on the looks (loosely). Apart from that they don't share a single screw with the production models.

      • 8 Years Ago
      well, unmentioned in this article is, that audi drivers were pretty aggressive in many races this year, maybe the MB drivers simply felt like they can counter as well :/

      i really like the DTM, but i hardly watched any race because i never know when they are xD
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