Norisring DTM: Mattias Ekstrom wins for Audi amid wild finish
|By Jamie O'Leary||Sunday, July 14th 2013, 13:10 GMT|
Mattias Ekstrom ended Audi's 11-year wait for a Norisring DTM victory while Gary Paffett and Edoardo Mortara ended the race in the wall following an acrimonious scrap for third.
Ekstrom lay fourth when the safety car pulled in on lap 16; its appearance a legacy of Martin Tomczyk and Daniel Juncadella banging doors exiting Turn 1 and putting the RMG BMW in the wall.
Abt driver Ekstrom quickly dispatched champion Bruno Spengler's Schnitzer BMW and the HWA Mercedes of polesitter and early leader Robert Wickens to take second and close in on Mortara.
Both Mortara and Ekstrom owed their strong track positions to having pitted before the safety car came out, with the strategies of Wickens and Spengler having been compromised.
The pair ran long on option rubber, each pitting for the final time inside the final 10 laps. Birthday boy Ekstrom then had a big enough gap to coast home and take his first victory since the end of the 2011 season.
Mortara moved across on Paffett firmly as he exited the pits following that stop; the HWA Mercedes driver - who had made both his mandatory stops during the early safety-car period - being forced to move outside the track limits to complete a pass.
A lap later, with Mortara attempting to reverse the order, the Rosberg Audi driver hit his rival up the rear, causing his own car front-end damage and forcing Paffett off the track at a cost of three places.
Wickens passed both for second swiftly and as the advancing Christian Vietoris tried to do likewise, Paffett and Mortara found themselves side-by-side at Turn 4 with a lap to go.
The inevitable collision happened; Paffett spinning out and Mortara ending up in the wall.
That collision promoted Juncadella to a career-best fourth place and Mike Rockenfeller and Spengler to fifth and sixth. The result gives Rockenfeller a two-point lead over Spengler in the championship.
Andy Priaulx ran strongly inside the top six for the first half of the race, but he spent too long on standard tyres during his middle stint and faded to ninth by the finish.
After qualifying badly, Jamie Green's bid for a fifth Norisring win in sixth years was never likely to come to fruition. A right-rear puncture with 20 laps to go compounded a poor race.
Results - 83 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi 1h12m14.698s 2. Robert Wickens HWA Mercedes +2.646s 3. Christian Vietoris HWA Mercedes +6.282s 4. Daniel Juncadella Mucke Mercedes +7.039s 5. Mike Rockenfeller Phoenix Audi +8.411s 6. Bruno Spengler Schnitzer BMW +17.083s 7. Roberto Merhi HWA Mercedes +18.594s 8. Joey Hand RBM BMW +31.198s 9. Andy Priaulx RMG BMW +34.909s 10. Marco Wittmann MTEK BMW +35.595s 11. Dirk Werner Schnitzer BMW +40.426s 12. Filipe Albuquerque Rosberg Audi +42.675s 13. Timo Glock MTEK BMW +42.867s 14. Miguel Molina Phoenix Audi +44.568s 15. Adrien Tambay Abt Audi +54.091s 16. Augusto Farfus RBM BMW +1 lap Retirements: Edoardo Mortara Rosberg Audi 81 laps Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes 81 laps Jamie Green Abt Audi 65 laps Pascal Wehrlein Mucke Mercedes 65 laps Martin Tomczyk RMG BMW 11 laps Timo Scheider Abt Audi 0 laps