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Zeltweg, 7 September, 2003

In the ninth DTM race of the 2003 season, Mattias Ekström impressively fought his way up to third place with several excellent overtaking manoeuvres and collected six points. The Swede actually started from fourth place on the grid, but lost nine places at the start when he was forced to wait behind his team colleague Martin Tomczyk who had stalled the engine of his Abt-Audi TT-R. Audi Junior Tomczyk fell from his front row starting position back to 14th place, and was forced to retire due to a loose flat-bottom after a collision. Karl Wendlinger collected his first point of the season. The Austrian inherited eighth place from his team colleague Christian Abt, who, after being held up by a puncture on his Abt-Audi TT-R during the final lap, still finished eleventh. DTM Champion Laurent Aiello was ninth, and the second Audi Junior Peter Terting crossed the finish line fourteenth. Going into the last race of the 2003 DTM season, Mattias Ekström is the best placed Audi driver in the drivers’ championship with 38 points in fourth place. Laurent Aiello is fifth with 37 points.

The race at a glance

clear blue sky, 26 degrees Celsius

Spectators: 62,000

#14 Tomczyk stalls on the line, as a result also holds up #5 Ekström, #2 Abt lies in eleventh position after the start,
following behind are #1 Aiello and #5 Ekström, #6 Wendlinger is 13th, #15 Terting 18th

5th lap
The Abt-Audi quintet lies in the order
#2 Abt
#1 Aiello
#5 Ekström
#6 Wendlinger
#14 Tomczyk between tenth and 14th position

7th lap
#2 Abt in the pits, #6 Wendlinger also come in to the pits

8th lap
#14 Tomczyk makes first compulsory pit stop, but collides with Dumbreck who is just about to leave his pit

9th lap
#15 Terting is eighth, #5 Ekström second

10th lap
#5 Ekström makes first compulsory pit stop, #1 Aiello leads briefly, but comes in at the end of the lap. The stop, at 21.5 seconds, is very long

12th lap
#15 Terting still hasn’t made his first pit stop, as a result he is in third place, #5 Ekström is eighth, #2 Abt lies in eleventh position, #6 Wendlinger is 12th, #1 Aiello 17th

13th lap
#14 Tomczyk visits pits for second time, does not rejoin the race. Menu spins after being touched by #15 Terting in hotly contested battle

16th lap
#15 Terting spins, but can continue

19th lap
#5 Ekström overtakes Alesi, he is now fifth

21st lap
#2 Abt and #5 Ekström make second compulsory pit stops

22nd lap
#6 Wendlinger and #1 Aiello in the pits, the Frenchman collides with Jäger when pulling away

25th lap
#5 Ekström lies in fourth place, #2 Abt is eighth, #6 Wendlinger is ninth, and #1 Aiello is eleventh. #5 Ekström catches up with the third placed Reuter

31st lap
#5 Ekström attacks Reuter, gets past, and is now third

#5 Ekström is third,
#6 Wendlinger collects one point for eighth position
#1 Aiello is ninth
#2 Abt eleventh and
#15 Terting 14th


Christijan Albers Mercedes 36 laps


Bernd Schneider Mercedes + 5.337


Mattias Ekström Abt-Audi TT-R + 14.478


Manuel Reuter Opel + 14.975


Jean Alesi Mercedes + 15.368


Marcel Fässler Mercedes + 24.230


Jeroen Bleekemolen Opel + 27.899


Karl Wendlinger Abt-Audi TT-R + 32.329


Laurent Aiello Abt-Audi TT-R + 39.878


Christian Abt Abt-Audi TT-R + 45.005


Peter Terting Abt-Audi TT-R + 1.6.075

Mattias Ekström (Team PlayStation2 Red Bull Abt-Audi TT-R #5)
“The start-finish straight is very narrow, that’s why I lost so many places behind Martin’s stationary car. Obviously, after that I didn’t think about a place on the podium, but thanks to perfect strategy and excellent pit stops it worked out. I really fought hard for it and gave everything. It was a great way to finish after such a bad start.”

Peter Terting (S line Audi Junior Team Abt-Audi TT-R #15)
“A hectic race. At the beginning everything was running well, at the first round of pit stops I briefly held third place. Closely fought battles and light touches are often the result of racing at this circuit. I spun once, when I wanted to let Mattias (Ekström) past and ended up in the dirt, at least I could continue. Later I settled into my rhythm and was even able to overtake Joachim Winkelhock.”

Martin Tomczyk (S line Audi Junior Team Abt-Audi TT-R #14)
“The botched up start was my mistake. I stalled the engine and had to fire up my TT-R again. The bonnet was loose on my car after the collision in the pit lane, and had to be taped down. However, when I noticed that the flat-bottom was loose I headed for the pits. That was it.”

Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director)
“I’m proud of Matthias’ performance. He drove a fantastic race and really earned his place on the winners’ rostrum. That also applies to his team, who, despite his delay at the start, made the best of it with a great strategy. A huge compliment goes to the team. Our car was up with the best, the lap times showed this. We’ll now focus on the forthcoming final and will attack there as well.”

Mattias Ekström (second from right) celebrates third place
Mattias Ekström celebrates third place
Mattias Ekström in the Abt-Audi TT-R #5
Audi junior Peter Terting in the Abt-Audi TT-R #15
DTM-Champion Laurent Aiello in the Abt-Audi TT-R #1
Mattias Ekström in the Abt-Audi TT-R #5
Karl Wendlinger in the Abt-Audi TT-R #6
Karl Wendlinger in the Abt-Audi TT-R #6 during pit stop
Audi junior Martin Tomczyk in the Abt-Audi TT-R #14
Mattias Ekström (#5), Laurent Aiello (#1) and Christian Abt (#2) (from left)
Karl Wendlinger (#6), Mattias Ekström (#5) and Laurent Aiello (#1)
Mattias Ekström celebrates third place