Picture-perfect weather, a fantastic crowd and arguably the most gripping DTM race of all time: The fierce on-track battles made it difficult for most of the spectators that had traveled to Hockenheim on Sunday to stay in their seats during the 36 laps.
Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass was only able to agree: “That was a fantastic show today, a superb race for the DTM in general. Those were incredibly thrilling battles from the beginning to the end. Simply fascinating! You could tell how the people in the grandstands enjoyed this. For us, it was also great to finish in second place today after yesterday’s difficult opener. We didn’t expect this, so it’s even sweeter. I’d like to thank Mattias Ekström for all he did for Audi in 17 DTM years. I’m happy that we still have him as a driver in rallycross.”
The Swede enjoyed an emotional farewell from his DTM fans. After the checkered flag, it ended in donuts in front of the main grandstand and brought tears to the eyes of the two-time DTM Champion. Before the race started, his team had put on special jerseys in the Swedish national colors yellow and blue. Numerous fans and companions of the Swede, including Audi’s CEO Rupert Stadler, signed the hood of his Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM. On Sunday morning, Ekström gave away 1,219 caps of his partner Red Bull – the Audi driver had scored exactly the same number of points in his unique DTM career. Many DTM fans wore masks with the Swede’s face and in Turn 1 across from the Audi Race Lounge a huge banner saying #AdjöMattias was displayed. The result (position 16) was of secondary importance.
Following the awesome season opener, the DTM will continue in just 14 days’ time, visiting the Lausitzring on May 19 and 20. There the series will be racing on the more demanding long version of the track again for the first time since