Ekstrom Clinches Dtm Title

By: Anthony Fontanelle

The Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters recently concluded its season and Swedish Mattias Ekstrom captured his fifth title in the final race of the season. The Swede has won the DTM championship for Audi AG in 1990, 1991, 2002, and 2004. Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline also clinched the title for the team class.

This year, Audi has been very successful in motorsports. The marque's diesel racecar has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second consecutive year. At the American Le Mans, the R10 TDI dominated the LM P1 class winning all the races so far. And the recent coronation at the DTM gave Audi the reputation of being a heavyweight in motorsports.

Rupert Stadler, the Chairman of the Board of Audi AG, commented: "All Audi employees and Audi customers can be proud of this triumph, which is the crowning of our successful 2007 motorsport season. Winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the American Le Mans Series and the DTM in the same year is a fantastic team achievement."

Going into the final race of the season, the Swede needed only to place third to clinch the title. His nearest rival is Mercedes-Benz' Bruno Spengler. With that in mind, the team went into the race with a strategy focused on the Mercedes-Benz driver. Ekstrom only need to finish ahead of Spengler to clinch the championship which he eventually did.

The Swede took the lead on the first lap of the race starting from the second row. The driver knowing that he does not need to win to clinch the championship drove conservatively. When Mercedes-Benz' Jamie Green attacked his lead, Ekstrom cleverly allowed him to pass. The Swede also had the support of his pit crew and when he entered the pit lane, the team did an efficient job giving him more time to catch up with the field. In contrast, Spengler pitted in early thus making it tough for him to catch up with the rest of the field.

The Swede finished third in the end beating Spengler who finished fourth. Ekstrom admitted that the race was not an easy one for him. "My race was very difficult from the beginning," said Ekstrom.

"When the situation had calmed down a little bit I was able to drive very fast and the car was good. But after six, seven laps it started oversteering. It got worse and worse. I fought and fought - and, still, the situation got really close in the end. That I managed to see the chequered flag in front of Bruno (Spengler) was simply nice. So far I haven't even really relished the feeling because the race was so exciting. I'll only be able to truly fathom this exploit a few hours from now," commented the champion after the race.

Dr. Wolfgang Ulrich, the head of Audi motorsport, said: "It was a great finale for the spectators with thrilling touring car racing at its best from the beginning to the end. Mattias (Ekstrom) took the decision into his own hands and managed to bring home the title. I think we deserve the championship and are a worthy champion. We did a great job. I want to thank all the members of the teams who had a part in this."

Audi is a part of Volkswagen AG, the largest European automaker, and the manufacturer of reliable .

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