The new aerodynamic regulations introduced to the DTM in 2018 will put Audi at a “disadvantage”, according to its motorsport boss Dieter Gass.
The Ingolstadt marque picked up the drivers', teams' and manufacturers' titles in the German touring car series last year, its drivers locking out the top four in the individual standings in the process.
Its dominance was aided by the late-season removal of performance weights, but this came paired with an agreement between manufacturers to rework the technical regulations for 2018.
The changes for this year have prompted optimism from the Mercedes camp that Audi would be pegged back – and, speaking to Motorsport.com, Gass concurred with that assessment.
“New rules are no advantage for Audi at all,” Gass said. “You can say it’s a disadvantage.
“We do lose some of our potential, but we try to compensate on other aspects.”
The rule tweaks introduced for 2018 are aimed at cutting downforce “by about a third” by reducing the number and size of various aero appendages allowed on the car.
Asked to comment on suggestions that this would impact Audi more than BMW and Mercedes, Gass said: “I think, unfortunately, they are right.
“We proved last year, especially at the end of the season, that we had the best aerodynamic package. Obviously, [now] there's limited possibilities to work on the car.
“We want to win races, and I still think we can. We need to focus, work closely between the drivers.
“A very strong driver line-up and the people working together - that’s going to be very important this year.”
Audi would allow Duval DTM/WEC double
Audi has confirmed that it could permit Loic Duval to race in the DTM and WEC on the same weekend.
The Frenchman will be contesting his second DTM campaign with Audi this year, and is also slated to race in the World Endurance Championship for LMP2 outfit TDS Racing.
The first round of the DTM at Hockenheim takes place on the same May 5-6 weekend as the six-hour Spa Francorchamps opener for the 2018-19 WEC superseason.
But while Duval's Audi commitments are the priority, the manufacturer will consider allowing him to travel between the two venues and contest both events.
“We're currently talking about that,” Gass said. “At this stage I imagine he does a similar thing as Mattias [Ekstrom] did with [World] Rallycross when that clashed with [DTM at] Hockenheim.
“That was easier for him because it was very close but we’re looking at the situation. Could be that we allow [Duval] to do Spa.
“The priority still is DTM, we won’t release him from the race but if it’s possible for him to arrange, he could do Spa.
“What would happen is, he does Saturday morning in DTM and then goes over to Spa. That's more of a question for WEC.
“His priority is DTM with Audi. We try to accommodate him as much as possible with other programmes but they cannot interfere with his main programme.”