Motorsports Mondial

Photo: dtmmedia

Mortara on top in Austria – maiden DTM race win

Spielberg. Picture-postcard weather, a thrilling race with numerous overtaking manoeuvres and two premieres on the winners’ podium: in front of 48,500 spectators, the DTM enjoyed a successful race weekend at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. With the first DTM race win of the year for Audi, Italian Edoardo Mortara became the overjoyed winner of the fourth season round. After a faultless race with great duels, the 25-year old made his dream come true and, after 203.322 kilometres, crossed the finish line as the winner for the first time in the DTM. “This is a great day for myself and for Audi. Pole position yesterday and victory today. It is almost unbelievable. I have already had some nice moments in motorsport, but this one is very special”, said the best DTM rookie of the year 2011 after his success in the longest DTM race in history to date.

Only one second later, Martin Tomczyk crossed the finish line. With his BMW M3 DTM, the reigning DTM champion started from fourth place on the grid, made his way up to finish second and scored 18 points in the battle for the title. After the race, the 30-year old said: “The timing of the second stop was perfect. I re-joined the field right behind the race leader. Today is a great day for the DTM. All three brands in the top three and a highly exciting race.”

British Mercedes-Benz driver Gary Paffett completed the podium. The points’ leader started from second place, battled for the lead and still had to let Tomczyk past after the latter’s pit stop. Paffett said: “We came to Spielberg to score as many points as possible for the championship. Finishing on the podium is great, even though, of course, I would rather have won. Fortunately, I was still able to extend my points’ lead.”

In the drivers’ standings, Paffett is now leading with 83 points from Mattias Ekström from Sweden (Audi), who finished fourth in Styria and now has 47 points to his tally. Brit Jamie Green (Mercedes-Benz) with 44 points and BMW driver Bruno Spengler from Canada with 43 points are also within striking distance. Green finished the race in fifth place, Spengler had to park his car and retire on lap 33.

With his Audi A5 DTM, Timo Scheider had a topsy-turvy race. Having started 16th, the 33-year old was able to make up positions, but lost ground again after tangling with BMW driver Augusto Farfus. Scheider battled and finished sixth after 47 laps. His fellow Audi drivers Mike Rockenfeller and Filipe Albuquerque as well as Joey Hand and Augusto Farfus (both BMW) rounded out the top ten. The next round takes place at the Norisring in Nuremberg, July 1st.

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, head of motorsport Audi: “Winning such a thrilling race is a particular joy. This was first-class promotion for the DTM, for the Red Bull Ring and for Audi. Here, our A5 DTM was the benchmark. We were on top in every practice session and Edo did a perfect job turning his maiden pole position into his first-ever race win. He had to work hard for this success, which was very important for all of us. The entire crew has been working in the last couple of weeks to be back on top again in the DTM.”

Jens Marquardt, BMW motorsport director: “A big compliment to Audi for their performance of today, but also to the great fans on the stands. Martin Tomczyk has shown a great performance, his crew an ideal strategy. Today, we had overtaking manoevres on the track and in the pit lane: everything that a great race needs. I reckon that this was one of the best DTM races of the last couple of years.”

Norbert Haug, head of motorsport Mercedes-Benz: “What we have seen today was a DTM gala. The stands were packed, the race was incredibly exciting. The battle for the lead was just fantastic. When two people quarrel, a third is often rejoicing. A duel costs time, so that Martin Tomczyk could benefit. Victory was within reach, but Gary was able to extend his points’ lead. Competition in the DTM is immensely close. Five of the first six-placed drivers did lap times of 1:27.00 minutes.”

F1Weekly podcast # 580

F1weekly podcast number 580

Interview with Jungle Boy Antonio Pizzonia.

From 1991 to 1996 he competed in various karting series. In 1997 he moved to Britain and competed in Formula Vauxhall Junior; Pizzonia placed second, and won the Winter Festival. In 1998, in addition to taking the Championship in F-Vauxhall Junior, he won the Formula Renault Winter Festival. His 1999 season was even more successful, winning the British F-Renault series and finishing second in its European counterpart. In 2000, Pizzonia took 5 wins on his way to winning the British Formula Three Championship.

For 2001, Pizzonia switched to the Formula 3000 series, winning one race and finishing sixth in the championship.

In 2002, Pizzonia was hired as test driver for Williams, but also continued in F3000, placing 8th. After impressive testing performances, he was signed by the Jaguar team to partner Mark Webber for 2003. However, following a string of poor results, he was dropped midway through the season and replaced by Minardi’s Justin Wilson.

Whilst driving for Jaguar F1 he was driving Steve Sutcliffe, a journalist for Autocar magazine, around the Jerez racing circuit in a Jaguar S-Type R when he lost control into the first corner, rolling the car and hitting the tyre barrier. Apparently he accidentally braked at the braking point he had been using in his F1 car and just went off. The video is readily available on Youtube.

In 2004 he returned to Williams as test driver. Before the German Grand Prix, it was announced that Pizzonia would take over from Marc Gené, who had been filling in for the injured Ralf Schumacher. At the German Grand Prix, he finished 7th to take his first 2 career points; he repeated the feat at the Hungarian Grand Prix. In Belgium, he briefly led an F1 race for the first time, but failed to finish the race due to mechanical problems. He claimed a further 2 points in Italy (during which he achieved the fastest ever recorded top speed in a F1 race at the time, 369.9 km/h, until Juan Pablo Montoya eclipsed this record the following year), but with the announcement of Ralf Schumacher’s return for the Chinese Grand Prix, Pizzonia’s racing was over for the year.

Prior to the 2005 season, Pizzonia was in a virtual shoot-out with German Nick Heidfeld for the second race seat at Williams alongside Webber. Despite Pizzonia’s experience with the team and financial support from Petrobras, Heidfeld was given the seat.

Pizzonia was still employed at Williams as a test driver, and when Heidfeld complained of headaches after being concussed in a crash during the Friday Practice Session at Monza, Pizzonia gained the chance to race. Having not entered an F1 race since the 2004 Italian Grand Prix, the Brazilian qualified 16th, coming through the field to emulate his 2004 race result — picking up 7th place and 2 points. He then raced in the Belgian Grand Prix. where he incurred a fine for taking out 2nd placed Juan Pablo Montoya just a few laps from the end. Pizzonia also took the drive in the Brazilian Grand Prix, but his race was over before the first corner after taking out his own teammate Mark Webber resulting from a collision with David Coulthard.

Despite some speculation that GP2 champion Nico Rosberg would be given an opportunity in the last two races of the season, Pizzonia completed the season for Williams. He retired from the Japanese Grand Prix early after spinning off, and retired from (but was classified as a finisher in) the Chinese Grand Prix after a puncture. Having been replaced by Nico Rosberg for 2006, Pizzonia’s Formula One career was over.

In 2006, he drove for Paul Gentilozzi’s Rocketsports team in the Champ Car World Series’ Long Beach Grand Prix and returned to the team towards the end of the season for races where Tõnis Kasemets did not have sponsorship to race.

In 2007, Pizzonia was racing for Fisichella Motor Sport in the GP2 series. In May, he was dropped in favour of Adam Carroll after only scoring 1 point in 5 races. After that, he returned to Brazil and entered into competition in Stock Car Brasil, a Brazilian national championship, from July. He has remained in Stock Car Brasil for 2008, and is also set to race in the new Superleague Formula championship after missing the first round.