Ekstrom_valencia Audi Motorsport

Mattias has been sampling some garden variety cars for the Golden Steering Wheel awards and testing for DTM ahead of the Hockenheim grand finale of the 2011 season...

It’s been an odd few days. I’ve been down in Italy, driving some normal road cars for Bild’s Golden Steering Wheel awards. All sorts of cars, actually. Nothing fancy, just normal road cars. I had a really good time, everything was nice and easy. Uncomplicated, you could say. I’m now up at the Lausitzring where we’re having another DTM test for the 2012 cars. That’s a little bit more… involved. We’re driving here in the run up to the weekend then I’ll have a couple of days off to recover before going to Hockenheim. It all seems like good fun. I’m really enjoying life at the moment, everything feels really good.

Some people think Hockenheim and the final round of the DTM season might be a bit of an anti-climax. I don’t mind so much. Yes, the Drivers’ Championship is over but I’ll still treat it like I would any other DTM race. We’ll prepare hard and go there planning to have as good a weekend as possible and once we’re there I’ll do the best job I can.

'I've never had a sequence this good in DTM before... now we have one more opportunity'

As I’ve mentioned before, the team and myself have been changing some stuff within the organisation and this will be our last chance to try a few things out. It’ll be good preparation for next year, and if for no other reason than that, it means we’ll be fully committed to the task. Though I don’t think we need a reason. Audi has already won the Championship so everyone can concentrate on having a really good, tough, competitive weekend without any distractions.

I’m not very bothered about finishing the Championship second or third. Either way it’s not brilliant or the end of the world. If I can’t win the title then it’s really not my thing to worry about being one place better or worse in the table, I’ll take it as it comes – the exception of course, being that I absolutely want to win the race, which would take care of finishing second. Of course doing well would also give us the team championship, and I’ll be doing all I can to make sure that happens. It would be nice to end the season on a high. We’ve been doing well recently, but every weekend resets to zero. Nothing can be taken for granted.

I’ve got a decent CV at Hockenheim with a couple of victories. I enjoy racing there but it also has the added bonus of only being a two-and-a-half hour drive from home. I’ve got a lot of friends coming to the race – and my parents are going to be there too. Some drivers really like to travel around with an entourage, others prefer to be alone. Me, I really don’t mind either way in terms of performance, but after the garage doors roll down in the evening it’s much nicer to have other people there with you. At this time of year, when the nights start to draw in, it’s good to have a social life outside the car.



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