Last weekend, Audi became the first ever car manufacturer to achieve a title hat-trick in the international touring car racing series. Audi has clinched the coveted trophy for the third consecutive time.
In the finale at the Hockenheimring in front of a turnout of 155,000 spectators, Audi driver Timo Scheider stayed on the heels of his only remaining rival for the title, Gary Paffett, during the entire 39 laps to successfully defended his title from last year by finishing in second place.
For Audi, after 1990 (Hans-Joachim Stuck), 1991 (Frank Biela), 2002 (Laurent Aiello), 2004 (Mattias Ekström), 2007 (Mattias Ekström) and 2008 (Timo Scheider), this marks the seventh DTM title and the fourth since the brand returned to the series with a manufacturer’s commitment in 2004. No car manufacturer has ever consecutively won three titles in the DTM.
Scheider won twice in the ‘09 season and mounted the podium at six of the ten races. He was the most consistent driver and in the end had an advantage of five points over Mercedes driver Gary Paffett.
In the finale at Hockenheim, the first two laps in particular were a thriller when Mattias Ekström, who had started from the pole position, and Gary Paffett fought an extremely tough duel and touched each other several times. The radiator of Ekström’s Audi A4 DTM was damaged in the process. After four laps the Swede, who was leading the race at the time, was forced to retire and thus lost third place in the standings to Paul Di Resta. After making a lightning start, Timo Scheider watched the duel between Paffett and Ekström from a choice position and only drove his conservatively set up A4 as fast as necessary to stay close to Paffett and keep Paul Di Resta at bay in third place. Scheider managed this again when, shortly before race end, the safety car was deployed and unexpectedly closed the field together once more. When the race was re-started, Scheider got everything right and crossed the finish line after 39 laps just 1.043 seconds behind Gary Paffett in second place. By finishing fourth, Alexandre Prémat achieved his best result of the season in a strong race and was also the best driver of a year-old car. With Britain's Oliver Jarvis and Markus Winkelhock in places six and eight, two other Audi drivers, who had been fighting a captivating duel throughout the race, finished in the points. Mike Rockenfeller in ninth position just missed scoring a point. In his 60th and last DTM race, Tom Kristensen was struck by misfortune not just once but twice: The Dane was hit in the rear right on the first lap in the hairpin and dropped to the back of the field.
After a remarkable recovery Kristensen was turned around once more after a safety car period. Martin Tomczyk, as well, became the victim of a collision on the opening lap which forced him to retire. As a result, Timo Scheider was the only driver of a ‘09 Audi A4 DTM to score a points finish at Hockenheim.