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Friends for life

Norbert Haug and Daniel Abt having a good time at the DTM-hospitality by Abt and Audi.

Norbert Haug already followed Daniel Abt’s first steps at karting with big interest. The 65 year old always helped in word and deed – they are close friends until the present day and Haug is a welcome guest at Abt. Not only because he played a significant role when Abt entered the DTM back in the year 2000. The former head of motorsport at Mercedes-Benz functioned as a door-opener, when ABT had the idea to join the competition with the Audi TT. But ITR-board members didn’t cut capers; personal animosities were not the reason. They had difficulties fitting the TT into the regulations. In the end it worked – thanks to Haug. The first victory wasn’t long in coming and followed a year later at Nurburgring. Haug congratulated in his own humorous way: “You gorge our food at first, outpace us on the racetrack and eventually finish our beer. Thanks, it was a pleasure to meet you.”

His open mindset is highly appreciated in Kempten. Acrimonious rivals on track, good friends off track. Haug’s Monday phone calls with Hans Jürgen Abt and ABT head of sports marketing Harry Unflath after every race weekend is mandatory by now. They are not just analyzing the race during conversation, but also make plans concerning the next skiing-trip. Even today, Haug loves to tell the story about how the three men cultivated mass start on the slope. “Hans-Jürgen cut me, Harry, to the split second, crossed from behind. But I managed to defend the third position until the end of the race”, Haug jokingly tells. Abt always knew how to keep their competitors in check.