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Ofterschwang, March 30, 2003

For one week, at the team fitness training in South Germany, the Audi drivers prepared themselves for the forthcoming 2003 motorsport season.

Marco Werner, Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro (from left to right) together with Head of Audi Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich
Marco Werner & Frank Biela
The Audi drivers during cross country skiing
DTM team director Hans-Jürgen Abt, Emanuele Pirro, Mattias Ekström, Christian Abt, Frank Biela, Marco Werner, Karl Wendlinger, Martin Tomczyk, Peter Terting and Head of Audi Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (from left to right)
The Abt-Audi TT-R of the S line Audi Junior Team

“It’s something Audi Sport has organized for many years and it’s especially good because it gives all of the drivers the opportunity to compare fitness exercises and for our doctors to give you a thorough check over,” remarked Emanuele.

“I work out everyday and have a comprehensive gym. I run, row, ski, do kayaking in the summer and cycle. When you get older you realize just how important it is to stay fit – concerning stamina and strength for top performance when racing but also for safety – if you’re unfortunate enough to have an accident then it’s much better to have a fit body to aid recovery time.”

Pirro, JJ Lehto and Stefan Johansson will drive the ADT Champion Audi R8 in warm-up trials at Le Mans on 4 May. The trio led most of the 12 Hours of Sebring race in March before ultimately finishing second.

Emanuele added: “I noticed that the press at Sebring made our Champion Audi the favorite to win before the race started. After what happened, I hope we start as an outsider at Le Mans!”

The “Red Bull Driver Fitness Week” could hardly have been a more varied bunch: The three time Le Mans winners, Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro, trained together with the youngsters Peter Terting and Martin Tomczyk, who form the new “S line Audi Junior Team” in the 2003 DTM. Marco Werner, Biela’s ALMS partner, broke sweat just as DTM drivers Christian Abt, Mattias Ekström and Karl Wendlinger at the Fitness Resort “Sonnenalp” in Ofterschwang, Bavaria.

“The team spirit encouraged during such an event is equally important as the physical exercise,” said Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. The Head of Audi Sport is personally convinced that this spirit exists between the Audi drivers: “There were many captivating conversations between the touring car and sports car drivers, tips and personal experiences were swapped between bouts of laughter.” DTM team director Hans-Jürgen Abt added: “A perfect preparation. Everybody now knows exactly where they stand and where they must improve themselves. It was a pleasant but hard weeks work for a big family.”

In spite of the fun, the trainers had developed an extensive programme for the whole week. Every day began with water gymnastics before breakfast, followed by some tough kilometres along the cross-country trail to improve stamina. In the afternoon the drivers tested their concentration and accuracy with archery, played football, jogged through the Allgäu mountains and sweated in the weight room. Conquering Ofterschwang’s Alpine Ski World Cup slope going uphill with snowshoes closed the fitness week.

“It was a fabulous week, being able to train with so many experienced racing drivers,” said Peter Terting the rookie, who recently turned 19 years old. “What particularly pleased me was how everybody has welcomed me with open arms.” Frank Biela, Audi’s “senior” driver and Le Mans winner, particularly enjoyed the varied sports disciplines: “That really was an eventful fitness week.”

As at the beginning of the 2002 season, the Audi sports car drivers, who aim to continue the run of success they had last year with the Audi R8 in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and at Le Mans, again met their colleagues from the DTM (German Touring Car Masters), Abt Sportsline, who start as defending champions with the Abt-Audi TT-R.

Emanuele Pirro