Brands Hatch DTM: Mike Rockenfeller takes commanding win

Mike Rockenfeller took his first DTM win for two years - and the championship lead - with a dominant display at Brands Hatch

Brands Hatch DTM: Mike Rockenfeller takes commanding win

The Phoenix Audi driver, who inherited pole position after Martin Tomczyk's car failed a post-qualifying weight check - led away at the start and was headed only as different strategies unfolded during the pitstop cycles.

He had pulled out a three-second lead over Hockenheim race winner Augusto Farfus by the time he made his second pitstop at just beyond two-thirds distance and looked comfortable.

But his advantage was then doubled when Farfus's car ground to a halt on the start/finish straight shortly after the Brazilian's own final stop.

Champion Bruno Spengler moved up from third to second as a result of Farfus's misfortune, the Schnitzer BMW driver having earlier avoided a penalty after chopping the nose of Gary Paffett's HWA Mercedes off on the run up to Druids.

Paffett, who had started 11th on the grid, was the highest-placed man on the grid to start on standard Hankook tyres, but switched to the softer option rubber after just four laps.

His tactic brought him up to third after Farfus's retirement, but left him having to fight off a rear-guard defence from team-mate Robert Wickens and the MTEK BMW of DTM rookie Marco Wittmann, both of whom were on tyres that had completed 20 laps less during the closing stages.

Paffett pulled away later in the race and finished third on the road. But the Briton was informed after the chequered flag that 5s had been added to his race time for failing to slow sufficiently under yellow flags.

Paffett's time penalty put Wickens on the podium for the first time in the DTM and also gave Wittmann a career-best fourth place.

Joey Hand, who slipped back from third to sixth at the start, was another to benefit from Paffett's penalty and finished fifth, one place ahead of the 2005 champion.

Mattias Ekstrom survived an elbow onto the grass at Graham Hill bend late in the race to take seventh.

Christian Vietoris survived immense late-race pressure from Timo Scheider to take eighth while teenager Pascal Wehrlein, who started on the penultimate row, put in a terrific drive to 10th.

Former champion Tomczyk climbed from 22nd to 16th within a handful of laps and by half-distance looked good for a points finish.

He was spun at Graham Hill bend by Roberto Merhi, for which the Spaniard was given a drive-through penalty.

His team-mate Andy Priaulx was also spun, the Brit the victim of a tap from Adrien Tambay at Druids. Tambay was also given a drive-through.

Both Tambay and Priaulx were also among a group of midfield finishers penalised for the same offence as Paffett, along with Timo Glock, Filipe Albuquerque, Daniel Juncadella and Timo Glock.

Results - 98 laps:

Pos Driver                Team/Car          Time/Gap
 1. Mike Rockenfeller     Phoenix Audi      1h11m28.719s
 2. Bruno Spengler        Schnitzer BMW     + 7.641s
 3. Robert Wickens        HWA Mercedes      + 24.368s
 4. Marco Wittmann        MTEK BMW          + 24.964s
 5. Joey Hand             RBM BMW           + 26.076s
 6. Gary Paffett          HWA Mercedes      + 25.071s
 7. Mattias Ekstrom       Abt Audi          + 36.523s
 8. Christian Vietoris    HWA Mercedes      + 38.940s
 9. Timo Scheider         Abt Audi          + 39.519s
10. Pascal Wehrlein       Mucke Mercedes    + 40.290s
11. Miguel Molina         Phoenix Audi      + 40.853s
12. Dirk Werner           Schnitzer BMW     + 1 lap
13. Martin Tomczyk        RMG BMW           + 1 lap
14. Timo Glock            MTEK BMW          + 1 lap
15. Jamie Green           Abt Audi          + 1 lap
16. Roberto Merhi         HWA Mercedes      + 1 lap
17. Filipe Albuquerque    Rosberg Audi      + 1 lap
18. Adrien Tambay         Abt Audi          + 1 lap
19. Andy Priaulx          RMG BMW           + 2 laps
20. Daniel Juncadella     Mucke Mercedes    + 2 laps

Retirements:

    Edoardo Mortara       Rosberg Audi      87 laps
    Augusto Farfus        RBM BMW           65 laps
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Brands Hatch DTM: Tomczyk stripped of pole, Rockenfeller promoted
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