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Adenau, June 12, 2004

With grid positions three and five, the Infineon Team Abt Sportsline has claimed an ideal situation to start into for what will probably be the most exciting 24 Hour race ever at the Nürburgring. In the second qualifying session late on Friday evening, Patrick Huisman set the fastest time of all the Audi drivers, bringing the Abt-Audi TT-R with starting number eight from 16th to third. Mattias Ekström, who is leading the championship standings in the DTM after two wins, qualified the sister car with starting number seven for the fifth grid position.

The race will be started for the 32nd time on Saturday at 15.00hrs. Next to the close competition at the 24.358 km long track, the weather looks set to provide some additional excitement: on the entire qualifying day, sunshine alternated with heavy rainfalls.

German sports TV-channel DSF is broadcasting the starting period live from 14.45 till 15.45hrs and then continues its coverage on Saturday from 17.30 till 20.00hrs, from 21.00 till 21.30hrs and from 22.30 till 23.00hrs and on Sunday from 9.00 till 11.00hrs and during the finish from 13.30 till 15.45hrs.

The Audi drivers with the fans on the Nordschleife (from left: Christian Abt, Fredrik Ekblom, Mattias Ekström, Patrick Huisman, Karl Wendlinger and Frank Stippler)
The Audi drivers at the Adenauer Race Day (from left: Fredrik Ekblom, Mattias Ekström and Christian Abt)
The Audi drivers on the Nordschleife (from left: Fredrik Ekblom and Mattias Ekström)
The Audi drivers on the Nordschleife (from left: Frank Stippler, Christian Abt and Patrick Huisman)
Abt-Audi TT-R #7 (Christian Abt, Fredrik Ekblom, Mattias Ekström)
Abt-Audi TT-R #8 (Patrick Huisman, Frank Stippler, Karl Wendlinger)
Abt-Audi TT-R #8 (Patrick Huisman, Frank Stippler, Karl Wendlinger)

Christian Abt (Abt-Audi TT-R #7)
“Today, I have mainly been occupied with set-up and not that much with fast lap times. I am impressed with our Audi: at every metre of this demanding track, it is safe, quick and comfortable to drive. In the race, we will take it easy in the opening stages and then see what the pace of the front runners will be like.”

Fredrik Ekblom (Abt-Audi TT-R #7)
“I am looking forward to the race. We have a great team, a fast car and strong drivers, so we have the best conditions. Tomorrow in the race, we will be playing it safely. In a 24-hour race, any predictions are impossible. But in any case, we have what it takes to be right among the front runners.”

Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi TT-R #7)
“Driving in the dark tonight was really fun, this is what the fascination Nordschleife is all about. The TT-R is good in every situation, we have dealt with all the issues we wanted to. Tomorrow, we will just go for it, and I am sure that we will be doing well.”

Patrick Huisman (Abt-Audi TT-R #8)
“My first lap was quite fast already. Then, we saw: it could be done. After that, we really went for it and got another set of fresh tyres on. The intermediate time made clear to me, that it could even have been enough for the front row, but unfortunately, I had to avoid a very slow car at Karussell. A place on the front row would have been good for the start photo, but for the race, it is not that important.”

Frank Stippler (Abt-Audi TT-R #8)
“Everything goes as planned. I had a long break from racing and first of all, I had to get used again to all the activities at the race track. I soon found a good rhythm and got used to the cockpit of the Audi with its many switches. As far as I am concerned, the race can start.”

Karl Wendlinger (Abt-Audi TT-R #8)
“The car is prepared very well, which is the most important thing. With 220 cars out on the track, we have to be absolutely constant and faultless tomorrow. I immediately felt at ease again in the Abt-Audi TT-R.”

Hans-Jürgen Abt (Head of Infineon Team Abt Sportsline)
“I am highly satisfied with the performance of my team. Today, we have achieved everything that we wanted: achieving an optimal starting position for both cars, qualifying all drivers and to top all that, two grid positions within the top five. We are within striking distance to the works-teams. As far as I am concerned, the weekend can continue like this.”