19 Mike Rockenfeller (D), Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM

Masterpiece on the North Sea coast: Mike Rockenfeller wins early 2013 DTM championship title—

Zandvoort. Mike Rockenfeller is the 2013 DTM champion. Second place at Zandvoort in The Netherlands was enough for the Audi driver to win an early drivers’ title in the most popular international touring car series for the first time in his career. Although his only remaining rival, Augusto Farfus (BMW) won the race at the dune circuit, the Brazilian was beaten in the battle for the title.

“I can hardly believe it. This is an incredibly heavy load coming off my shoulders. In such a moment, it is all coming back again: the early years in the DTM, how difficult it was and how hard I worked. Many thanks to all those who have made this happen,” said Rockenfeller, who is leading in the drivers’ standings prior to the season finale at Hockenheim (October 18 till 20) with 142 points and has an unbeatable margin of 26 points. This year, Rockenfeller’s consistency was the key to success: with his Audi RS 5 DTM, the 29-year old scored points in every race and won at Brands Hatch (GB) and the DTM premier at Moscow Raceway (RUS).

Rockenfeller’s fellow Audi driver Timo Scheider finished third at Zandvoort, scoring his first podium finish of the season. In ninth position, Gary Paffett was the best-placed driver of a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. In total 41,000 fans attended the penultimate race weekend.

Farfus, who overtook fellow BMW driver Marco Wittmann in the opening stages of the race, scored his third win of the season. “I did my utmost and that was my goal. Hats off to Mike, he has done a great job. He has deserved the title,” Farfus said. At the start of the race, the 30-year old was attacked by Rockenfeller, but eventually clearly had the edge with his BMW M3 DTM and thus secured second place in the drivers’ standings early.

Swede Mattias Ekström (Audi) scored an impressive recovery. The two times’ DTM champion had started eleventh and finished fourth. Marco Wittmann (BMW), who had claimed his maiden pole position in the most popular international touring car series on the day before, finished fifth.

Gary Paffett, runner-up after the 2012 season, moved up into the point-scoring positions from twelfth on the grid and congratulated the new champion afterwards. “Congratulations to Mike, he has had a tremendous season. For me, it was rather disappointing, although our performance wasn’t bad,” the Brit commented.

The race at the dune circuit of Zandvoort was interrupted by a safety car phase after Dirk Werner (BMW) and Jamie Green (Audi) had collided on lap 38. The restart followed in the final lap of the race, allowing Rockenfeller to cross the finish line at racing speed.

Dieter Gass, head of DTM, Audi: “Congratulations to Mike, the Audi Sport Team Phoenix and the entire Audi team! Mike has wrapped up the drivers’ title early. Now, we are also on top in the manufacturers’ and teams’ standings. One really can’t hope for more. Mike is a worthy champion who didn’t make any mistakes under pressures today either. Timo Scheider covered his back and deserved his maiden podium finish of the season. Mattias Ekström’s recovery was sensational, too. Tonight, there are so many reasons to celebrate, and we will definitely do so.” 

Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport director: “Congratulations to Audi and to Mike Rockenfeller. Personally, I am proud of Augusto, because he has done what he could. He has dominated today’s race, he couldn’t have done any more. In his second season, he is doing well and he is already so strong. There will be many championship titles coming our way and we count on Augusto. There are two titles still to be won, and that is what we will be aiming at in Hockenheim.”

Wolfgang Schattling, head of DTM management, Mercedes-Benz:“Congratulations to the entire Audi team and to BMW for winning this race. Unfortunately, for us, it was a weekend to forghet. Too bad, because we didn’t have a chance to interfere in the battle for the championship. Now, the focus is on the finale, where we want to bow out from this season with good results.”



Motorsports / DTM: german touring cars championship 2013, Race at Moskau, Moskau Raceway

Mike Rockenfeller wins successful DTM premiere in Russia – 

Moscow. A great debut for the DTM in Russia. The first event of the most popular international touring car series attracted 45,000 fans to Moscow Raceway over the weekend. On Sunday, spectators cheered for a dominant victory by German driver Mike Rockenfeller with his Audi RS 5 DTM. After 74 laps, the Audi driver, who had started from pole position, crossed the finish line with a margin of 1.3 seconds from his fellow Audi driver Mattias Ekström, who finished second, and thus secured the historic maiden DTM race win in Russia. Augusto Farfus also stepped on the podium for finishing third with his BMW M3 DTM. Driving a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, Gary Paffett was classified fifth behind Audi driver Adrien Tambay.

With his second victory of the season, Rockenfeller extended his championship lead from defending champion Bruno Spengler (BMW), who remained without points for the first time this year after his 19th place finish. Now, 29-year old Rockenfeller has 94 points, 27 more than Spengler (67). Gary Paffett (57) is third. “When you want to become champion, you have to score many points. That is what we did today. At Norisring, I was too slow, but today, everything was spot-on. A weekend couldn’t be better. First pole, then the race win,” ’Rocky’ said about the third victory of his DTM career. 

For many laps, Rockenfeller and Ekström were involved in a duel for the lead. However, Rockenfeller didn’t make any mistakes and eventually came out on top. Moreover, he had lapped his main rival Spengler twice during the race. In the closing stages, third-placed Farfus defenfed his position from a charging Tambay. “My third place isn’t bad at all. We have had some difficult weekends, but here in Russia, things went well,” was the Brazilian’s verdict about the premiere in the outskirts of Moscow.

Fifth-placed Paffett wasn’t unhappy with his result. “We had to make the best of our seventh place on the starting grid and we have succeeded. The duel with Jamie Green was clean and fair. For the first event in Russia, this was really good. Everyone involved has done a fantastic job. The grandstands were full and the track was great,” Paffett said. 

Audi’s new signing Jamie Green scored points by finishing sixth, just like Joey Hand and Dirk Werner (both BMW), Timo Scheider (Audi) and Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz) in seventh to tenth place.

Defending champion Spengler had a rather unfortunate race. “Miguel Molina ran into my car at the beginning and thus, my chances in the race were gone. I have tried everything, but the car was too much damaged. Sometimes, races end in a different way than one had expected,” the Canadian said.

The seventh season round will take place on the Nürburgring, August 18th.

Dieter Gass, head of DTM, Audi: “For Audi, the DTM premiere in Russia couldn’t have been any better. First and second place, five of our cars in the race and now a clear points’ lead for Mike Rockenfeller, who, just like Mattias Ekström, has driven an absolutely perfect race, although the two got caught up in traffic time and time again. The race was held in front of a great crowd and the Audi RS 5 DTM clearly was the strongest car here at Moscow Raceway.”

Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director: “This first race here was a great success with a great echo from the spectators. I am very happy for Augusto and with Joey and Dirk, we had two more drivers in the top ten. Of course, Bruno had a tough time. I hope that this doesn’t affect his chances in the championship too much. We really have to push hard at the Nürburgring.” 

Wolfgang Schattling, head of DTM Management Mercedes-Benz: “Today certainly wasn’t our day. It already showed in qualifying that we didn’t do as well as our competitors at this track. However, Gary has shown a great performance and achieved the best possible result for us.”