Rockenfeller takes first DTM victory
|By Jamie O'Leary||Sunday, May 15th 2011, 13:18 GMT|
Mike Rockenfeller took his maiden DTM victory with a fabulous drive in the second round of the championship at Zandvoort.
The Abt Audi driver took advantage of a slow getaway by Jamie Green to move into second by the time the pack reached the first corner, and vaulted ahead of early leader Bruno Spengler at the opening round of pitstops.
With a number of different strategies being employed by various teams, it was not until lap 30 when Rockenfeller was handed the lead, but by that stage he had established a 2.5-second lead over Spengler and the Canadian's HWA Mercedes team-mate Green.
Green spent the middle third of the race glued to Spengler's bootlid, but could not keep up with him during the final stint. Spengler therefore finished second and increased his championship lead to eight points over Rockenfeller.
Spengler, in fact, had his hands full defending from Martin Tomczyk during the final few laps as the Phoenix Audi driver finished just 0.4s behind him.
Tomczyk had earlier overtaken Green for third when the Mercedes man ran wide at the Gerlachbocht after running side by side with his rival for two corners.
Timo Scheider finished fifth in his Abt A4, ahead of the excellent Edoardo Mortara, who took his older Rosberg machine to a career-best sixth spot.
Maro Engel drove a superb race, the German especially impressive during the middle stint as he moved up from an early 11th spot to seventh in his Persson Mercedes.
He resisted late pressure from Mattias Ekstrom (Abt), who moved up from his 16th place on the grid by virtue of a novel strategy that included running 15 laps longer than some drivers on his first set of tyres.
Gary Paffett (HWA) was a disappointing ninth after running in the top six early on while Oliver Jarvis (Abt) nabbed 10th from Ralf Schmacher (HWA) at the final round of pitstops.
An entertaining battle between the older Mercedes of Susie Stoddart (Persson) and David Coulthard (Mucke) was ruined when the latter was handed a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane, while Filipe Albuquerque locked up and ran into the gravel at Tarzan on the opening lap, and later retired due to overheating.
Results - 41 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Mike Rockenfeller Abt Audi 1h05m28.514s 2. Bruno Spengler HWA Mercedes + 1.423s 3. Martin Tomczyk Phoenix Audi + 1.865s 4. Jamie Green HWA Mercedes + 6.957s 5. Timo Scheider Abt Audi + 11.478s 6. Edoardo Mortara Rosberg Audi + 14.160s 7. Maro Engel Mucke Mercedes + 15.064s 8. Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi + 15.439s 9. Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes + 19.482s 10. Oliver Jarvis Abt Audi + 21.859s 11. Ralf Schumacher HWA Mercedes + 28.435s 12. Susie Stoddart Persson Mercedes + 28.855s 13. Renger van der Zande Persson Mercedes + 35.870s 14. Miguel Molina Abt Audi + 37.268s 15. Christian Vietoris Persson Mercedes + 38.901s 16. David Coulthard Mucke Mercedes + 49.548s 17. Rahel Frey Phoenix Audi + 1 lap Retirements: Filipe Albuquerque Rosberg Audi 13 laps