Audi's appeal against Mattias Ekstrom's disqualification from victory at the recent Norisring DTM round will be heard on July 30.
Abt Sportsline driver Ekstrom won the race on the road, but was thrown out later the same day for breaching Article 44.1 of the DTM Sporting Regulations. Race officials decided that Ekstrom had broken the rules in parc ferme when his father Bengt squirted the contents of a water bottle into his pocket before a post-race weigh-in.
Abt served notice of its intention to contest the decision shortly afterward and then officially lodged an appeal with German motorsport federation, the DMSB, two days later. A spokesperson for the DMSB confirmed that the appeal hearing will commence next Tuesday afternoon in Frankfurt.
The verdict is expected to be made public later that evening.
OPINION: Message in a bottle:
Jamie O'Leary, DTM correspondent
"Car #11 under investigation" was the message that flashed up on the media centre timing screens at the Norisring.
"Hang on. That's Ekstrom," said one media colleague.
It was. Cue a chain of confusing events that would lead to the race winner's exclusion once most attendees had long since departed the circuit (I was handing my boarding card to a flight attendant as my phone rang with the news).
The details of Bengt Ekstrom pouring water into his son's pocket have been debated since that Sunday. Did it give Mattias an advantage? No. His car weighed in a good 7kg above the minimum limit, and he'd have to have had a fishtank dumped down his overalls to get anything like that kind of weight of moisture absorbtion.
So why do it at all? Was it a family tradition or something more sinister? I have no idea.
The DMSB said, amid much confusion as to what part of Article 44 had actually been breached, that the driver is considered part of his or her car in parc ferme and that any stepping out of line, such as went on, warrants one penalty: elimination.
Trouble is, the word "driver" is nowhere to be seen within that particular sub-article, and it is on this technicality that Audi Sport and Abt Sportsline will undoubtedly base their case.
I'm just glad the appeal is being heard before the next round at Moscow Raceway. Nobody would have thanked the powers-that-be for hanging on until later in the year.