Mattias Ekstrom says Brands Hatch form critical for Audi's 2012 DTM title hopes
|By Jamie O'Leary||Tuesday, May 15th 2012, 15:31 GMT|
Mattias Ekstrom believes that Audi must raise its game at Brands Hatch this weekend if he is to avoid losing touch with Mercedes drivers Gary Paffett and Jamie Green in the championship.
Paffett leads the standings with 43 points with his HWA team-mate Green 13 behind and Abt Sportsline man Ekstrom five further back and level with BMW driver Bruno Spengler.
And after finishing around 20 seconds behind the winner at each of the first two rounds, the two-time series champion is adamant that Audi must bounce back at the British circuit this weekend.
"We analysed the first two races and now we've got to try and find the thread again that we lost somewhere along the way," said Ekstrom. "But you can find something again as quickly as you can lose it. So finding it is the task now."
Audi won at Brands Hatch last year thanks to eventual champion Martin Tomczyk triumphing in the wet in his Phoenix Racing A4, but none of its cars has finished higher than third so far this year.
Head of Audi Sport Wolfgang Ullrich said at Lausitz that the main problem encountered by the new A5 DTM has been a result of the Abt, Phoenix and Rosberg teams "not finding the real window for our set-up to get the tyres working as they should".
He said that getting back into contention to add to Audi's three previous DTM wins at Brands was the minimum requirement from the Brands Hatch weekend.
"Our aim is to get back - preferably as early as at Brands Hatch - to where we were in all the years, which is being in contention for victory," he said.
"That's why between the Lausitz and Brands Hatch we've had two intensive weeks of hard work that we've made optimum use of."