The Red Bull Ring is not exactly a home race for ABT Sportsline. Although Kempten is not far from the Austrian border, it is over 500 kilometres to the race track in Styria. This means that the DTM team’s two trucks need a good eight hours to reach the paddock in Spielberg.
Nevertheless, the Red Bull Ring feels like a home race for ABT Sportsline. Maybe it’s because the Styrian landscape is beautiful and similar to that found in the Allgäu. Maybe it’s also because Red Bull and ABT Sportsline were partners in the DTM for more than a decade and there were many joint activities at the Red Bull Ring during that time.
“I always enjoyed being at the Red Bull Ring as a driver. And I know that our team also always enjoys coming to Spielberg,” says Martin Tomczyk, who competed for ABT Sportsline as a driver in the DTM from 2001 to 2010 and has been the ABT Motorsport Director since this year. “Unfortunately, our anticipation is somewhat clouded because our car concept doesn’t quite fit the Red Bull Ring. But that doesn’t mean we’re giving up, of course. We want to keep the championship open and fight for both titles at Hockenheim at the end of October. Anything is always possible in the DTM and the weather may well also play a decisive role next weekend.”
ABT Sportsline is in third place in the drivers’ and teams’ standings, 31 points behind in each, ahead of the final two DTM events at the Red Bull Ring (23/24 September) and at the Hockenheimring (21/22 October). In the drivers’ championship, 28 points are still up for grabs per race, in the teams’ championship, even 50 points are still to play for.
Martin Tomczyk invited his two drivers to his home for dinner on the way to the Red Bull Ring, to get them in the mood for the final push in the DTM season. “On Wednesday, we’ll then go hiking together in the mountains,” says the former DTM champion. “There’s no better way to relax before things get hectic at the Red Bull Ring.”
Ricardo Felller: “Maybe a miracle will happen”
In his second DTM season at just 23 years of age, Ricardo Feller already has the chance to follow in the footsteps of Laurent Aiello (DTM champion in 2002), Mattias Ekström (DTM champion in 2004 and 2007) and Timo Scheider (DTM champion in 2008 and 2009) at ABT Sportsline. “As a Swiss, I naturally feel very comfortable in the mountains at the Red Bull Ring,” says the third-placed driver in the standings. “I always enjoy going there, even though it’s quite a long way from my home in Switzerland. I also like the track. But I’ve always driven an Audi R8 LMS there so far and it’s not easy for this car with the long straights at the Red Bull Ring. Normally, we don’t stand a chance there, but maybe a miracle will happen this year.”
Kelvin van der Linde: “Important that we perform there”
“At the Red Bull Ring, you need top speed,” confirms his teammate Kelvin van der Linde. “In the past, unfortunately, it has not been an Audi track. I hope we have better chances this year. We will try to get the maximum out of our package. Ricardo is still fighting for the championship and we also want to win the teams’ title. So, it would be important for us to perform there.”
The two DTM races at the Red Bull Ring will both start at 1:30 PM CEST on Saturday and Sunday. As usual, ProSieben will be broadcasting live from Styria from 1 PM on both days.
ABT driver Kelvin van der Linde on ...
... the special requirements of the Red Bull Ring: “Top speed is crucial. But I also think that the tyres will behave completely differently in the expected cooler temperatures than they did last time in the heat. For us, it will be important to get the front axle up to temperature in qualifying. That is particularly important for us in the Audi. And of course, you have to find a free lap on this short track during qualifying.”
... the coolest section: “The third sector with the final two fast corners. If you have a car that’s well balanced there, it’s really fun.”
... the best overtaking opportunities: “the third turn, going up the hill, where the braking point is never easy. You have a lot of space there, also on the exit of the corner. There are always good overtaking manoeuvres and good fights. And if it rains, it’s even more exciting there.”
... the best place to watch: “The first corner. The grandstand there is always full and there is a cool atmosphere. And the braking point is always exciting.”
Download video: A lap on the Red Bull Ring with ABT driver Kelvin van der Linde
Did you know that ...
... ABT CEO Thomas Biermaier is once again celebrating his birthday during the DTM weekend at the Red Bull Ring on Saturday?
... Kelvin van der Linde spent a week on holiday in Croatia with his parents and his brother directly after the Sachsenring?
... Kelvin van der Linde’s father Shaun used to be a successful racing driver himself and celebrated his birthday at the Sachsenring?
... Ricardo Feller raced for Audi Sport in the GT World Challenge Europe at Valencia between the Sachsenring and Red Bull Ring?
... Kelvin van der Linde will have a sim racing duel with Marco Wittmann in the simulator of ABT partner Schaeffler on Friday and fans can then try to beat the times of the professionals?
... Head of ABT Sports Marketing Harry Unflath is always particularly busy at the Red Bull Ring and he is looking forward to numerous guests from Cupra Austria, Ötztal-Gurgl, Schaeffler and Südpack?
... the Austrian skiing hero Marcel Hirscher will be completing a few laps on the Red Bull Ring in the innovation taxi from ABT partner Schaeffler?
... the GT2 racing car supported by ABT Sportsline is equipped with the SpaceDrive steer-by-wire steering system and has been running on 100% e-fuel since the Lausitzring?
... the DTM tested for two days at the Red Bull Ring before the start of the 2023 season and another test day is scheduled for the Thursday before the event?