Jamie Green ended a two-year victory drought to start the 2015 DTM season at Hockenheim with his first win for Audi.
Green dominated from pole position and was never challenged during the 40-minute race, despite two safety-car restarts.
Green asserted his authority early, establishing a 3.3-second lead by lap three and then controlling the margin to be 3.6s clear approaching the halfway mark.
Daniel Juncadella then triggered a safety-car period when he crashed at Sachs Kurve and, while another quickly followed, Green remained in command.
He eventually crossed the line 2.1s clear of Mercedes driver Pascal Wehrlein, with Paul di Resta completing the podium.
Wehrlein led the pursuit of Green early, but was passed by di Resta mid-race.
But as the Scot struggled with his brakes in the closing laps, Wehrlein was able to retake the position.
The Audis of Edoardo Mortara, Mike Rockenfeller and Nico Muller were next, ahead of Maxime Martin in the best of the BMWs.
Reigning champion Marco Wittmann was ninth, and Augusto Farfus 10th from the rear of the grid, having lost his third position in qualifying due to ending the session with insufficient fuel.
The DTM's first Saturday race since 2002 featured plenty of incidents, with a third of the field retiring due to damage.
It started with Timo Scheider and Robert Wickens after opening-lap contact.
Antonio Felix da Costa hit the rear of rookie Tom Blomqvist's BMW at the hairpin, pushing him into Scheider while Wickens was also caught up.
Blomqvist persevered for several laps but soon retired and Miguel Molina followed them with damage of his own, after clashes with di Resta and Maximilian Gotz.
The final group came in one hit, when Martin Tomczyk lost the rear of his BMW under brakes at the hairpin.
He spun into Gary Paffett and was then hit by Lucas Auer - who had nowhere to go - capping a tough DTM debut for single-seater giants ART, as Paffett slammed Tomczyk's move as "stupid".
Paffett had, like Farfus, been fighting from the back, having been excluded from his original 15th due to a parc ferme infringement when a sensor had to be changed after qualifying.
RESULTS - 26 LAPS:
|3||Paul Di Resta||HWA||Mercedes||3.221s|
|13||Antonio Felix da Costa||Schnitzer||BMW||18.233s|