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Audi Pulls Out Of Race

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  Audi, DTM

Audi Pulls Out Of Race

Anthony Fontanelle
September 24, 2007

Most of us would certainly think that Audi is one company that can dominate a motorsport. For two years in a row, the automaker has competed at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans with a diesel race car and won. The automaker's winning streak now stands at four straight victories at the said endurance race. And one will count the win by Team Bentley in 2003 when Audi supplied the team with its engine - the automaker's streak will extend to eight straight wins. At the American 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, the result is pretty much the same. Audi Sport North America fields the diesel Audi R10 and has won all events in the LM P1 class.

But in the most recent event of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, the Audi team was forced to withdraw all of its cars from the track after the team management decided that the race was getting rough between Audi and Mercedes drivers.

The race was marred by incidents early on as Mika Hakkinen of Mercedes and Martin Tomczyk collided in the first corner. The former Formula One champion was out on the spot and Tomczyk retired later on in the race. The toughness of the battle between Audi and Mercedes drivers can be attributed to the fact that the latest race is the penultimate event of the season.

As can be expected, Audi's decision to withdraw all of its drivers with ten laps remaining was met with disgust from spectators. But Audi was quick to defend the decision saying that it is necessary for things to change. Audi is calling for fair racing especially that the last race will decide who will win the championship. Audi's Martin Tomczyk and Mattias Ekstrom are expected to battle it out with Mercedes' Bruno Spengler at the last event of the season with the help racing parts as reliable as Audi OEM parts.

Audi's chairman Rupert Stadler said: "What happened on the race track today was simply unacceptable. We're proceeding from the assumption that emotions will cool down again before the Hockenheim race and that spectators will see a finale with fair sport. It's also clear that we continue to be committed to the DTM. But a few things will probably have to change."

Dr. Wolfgang Ulrich, the head of Audi Motorsport, was also infuriated by the actions of Mercedes drivers La Rosa, Hakkinen, Matthias Lauda, and Bruno Spengler. He said that the decision of withdrawing the remaining Audi drivers from the race is necessary. "We wanted to see a tough, but fair touring car race today," said Ulrich. "But we had to get the impression that the Mercedes drivers used every opportunity to eliminate our cars. This is not the style in which we want to conduct motorsport. We want to see tough and fair duels but nothing of the kind we had today."

"That's why we took the decision to withdraw all of our vehicles. That was not an easy decision, and it cost us points, and maybe even the title. But we wanted to send a clear message for fair motorsport," added Ulrich.

Source:  Amazines.com



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