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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Rockenfeller splits with Audi, to step down from DTM

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Le Mans 24 Hours winner and 2013 DTM champion Mike Rockenfeller will half firm with Audi at season’s finish, bringing a 15-year DTM stint with the marque to a detailed.

Rockenfeller, who received set a brand new Le Mans distance file with the Audi R15-plus in 2010, has been a mainstay within the Ingolstadt producer’s DTM roster since 2007 and received the 2013 title in dominant trend from the BMW of Augusto Farfus.

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The 37-year-old introduced his impending exit after charging from seventeenth on the grid to 3rd at Hockenheim, his fourth podium end of the present DTM season.

The German veteran, who has received six occasions in 204 begins, was one among solely two Audi drivers to stay within the DTM following its transition to a customer-based GT3 components in 2021 and positioned immediately by Audi at its factory-supported Abt Sportsline group.

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Whereas Rockenfeller hasn’t been in a position to match the tempo of team-mate and GT3 specialist Kelvin van der Linde within the revamped DTM, he has repeatedly aided the South African’s bid for the title in opposition to main rival Liam Lawson.

“I want to take the chance additionally to announce that this 12 months will likely be my final DTM season along with Audi,” Rockenfeller mentioned after passing Lawson for third on the ultimate lap.

“Let’s examine what comes sooner or later, however I believe it is a good second after a great race.

“I’ll undoubtedly do another programmes, which I can not say but.

“It was a tremendous time for positive, 15 years. I actually loved it, particularly with [former Audi heads of motorsport] Dr [Wolfgang] Ullrich and Dieter Gass.

Rockenfeller claimed the 2013 DTM title with Workforce Phoenix

Picture by: Motorsport Images

“They actually supported me rather a lot and we had loads of success collectively.

“For positive ups and downs, it was a great time so I believe it is at all times a pleasant setting to make use of this chance and say some phrases, that is why.”

Rockenfeller was coy about his plans for subsequent 12 months, however strongly hinted that he might change to endurance racing forward of the introduction of the LMDh class in 2023.

He has contested a variety of enduros during the last a long time alongside his main dedication within the DTM, successful the Daytona 24 Hours with Motion Categorical Racing in 2010.

He was additionally part of Corvette’s manufacturing unit line-up at Daytona and Le Mans for a variety of years, however hasn’t contested a race with the American model for the reason that finish of 2019.

He completed second total at Daytona in an Motion Categorical Cadillac earlier this 12 months.

“It was a very long time [that I joined Audi], 15 years, not many drivers can say that,” Rockenfeller added.

“And I used to be 5 years earlier than that with Porsche, so in a method 20 years in a row related to 2 [Volkswagen Group] manufacturers.

Mike Rockenfeller, Abt Sportsline

Mike Rockenfeller, Abt Sportsline

Picture by: DTM

“For positive it is good on one hand. However loads of stuff modified in Audi, all of the folks modified and I do not actually see my future there and I am in search of some new challenges.

“I at all times did not make a secret that I like endurance racing and prototypes, so perhaps you will notice me someplace round there subsequent 12 months. Perhaps one thing else, I do not know.

“[DTM] is over after Norisring and there is a large ardour for DTM [in me]. However I’ve to consider it if there are good choices [outside of the DTM] the place it is sensible.”

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