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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Series DTM
Drivers Mike Rockenfeller
Author Jamie O'Leary
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