Following his victory in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, Mattias Ekström took his first DTM win of the season at the Nürburgring. He's in triumphant mood in his latest blog post...
When everything clicks, as it just did at the Nürburgring, it really does make you wonder: how it can be such a struggle the rest of the time?! We had a really good Sunday, which we owe to having had such a great build up. It started on Friday when we started to feel that the car and the rest of the package was ready to give us a strong weekend.
Practice went very well and every time we made a small change it just seemed to make the car go faster. Saturday was very positive too. We took pole position in qualifying and began to feel very confident. When the race finally came we had a good start, a good strategy and good pitstops. When you’re on pole and that happens, you have a rare opportunity to enjoy every second of the race. Last year I was on pole but struggled in the race; this year we were conservative with our changes and in the end it turned out we’d made the right choices.
The Nürburgring is a great place to stand on top of the podium. I think there were 86,000 spectators there on Sunday and you get a massive buzz from winning in that sort of atmosphere.
'Having everything go smoothly from first practice to chequered flag that you work towards as a racing team'
We’ve been waiting a long time for a weekend like that and putting in a lot of hard work was what made it happen. It's not so much winning the race, but having everything go smoothly from first practice to chequered flag that you work towards as a racing team. Motorsport suddenly becomes a wonderful experience then and seems very easy. We’ve had races this year where we’ve put in way more effort and got absolutely nothing out of it.
It’s been a busy week. After winning at Spa I made a short trip home, where I had confirmation that I'll be doing the Race of Champions at the end of the year. I did a little work around that and then went up to the Nürburgring. The last ten days have been pretty interesting!
We’ve been on a roll lately but I'm tired now, so I’m going to take a holiday with my girlfriend and our baby son. There've been nine races in the past 11 weeks with some testing thrown in. In my whole career, I don’t think racing has ever made me feel this mentally and physically tired.
Having said that, I know I’ll bounce back and be eager for Brands’ Hatch in a couple of weeks. We’ve got some momentum now and that’s an important part of being competitive. Thinking about the next race feels good because we have a good base set-up on the car and I think we’ll be strong in the final four races, regardless of the circuit. I like the car and the car seems to like what I’m doing with it, so we’ll be challenging for wins everywhere.
As for the DTM Championship, I’m still not interested in talking about it. More important is having a few more smooth race weekends, and retaining the spirit in our team that will motivate us to work hard and take more victories. That’s the target.