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DTM Hockenheim: Mercedes' Gary Paffett seals win from pole

Mercedes' Gary Paffett converted pole position into victory in the opening race of the 2018 DTM season at Hockenheim, while second-placed Lucas Auer received a fine for a pre-race incident

Paffett made a deft move through the high-speed Turn 5 on Mercedes stablemate Auer, after the Austrian reacted to the early race leader's mandatory stop on lap 15 of 36 by pitting one tour later.

Auer had lifted himself into contention after a rapid start in which he deposed of BMW pairing Marco Wittmann and Timo Glock in the opening two laps.

Following the stops, and running off-sequence as half the field had yet to pit, Paffett chased Auer through Turn 5's gradual curve and edged his Mercedes ahead under braking for the hairpin.

That meant the pair cycled back into the top two positions in the final third of the race and Paffett grew his lead to a final gap of 1.4s.

Auer's charge had come under threat from former Formula 1 driver Glock but after one half-hearted attempt into the hairpin at the halfway distance, Glock faded to a lonely third.

Auer also received a 1,000 Euro fine after breaking the rules of post-qualification parc ferme for having a cooling fan on the grid.

Mercedes' Edoardo Mortara was a late climber to fourth having spent most of the race in a four-car train in the lower rungs of the top 10.

He was helped by his rivals, most notably Mike Rockenfeller after the Audi driver ran wide at Sachs and allowed a succession of cars through before finishing 14th.

A similar decline removed Wittmann as a challenger as he dropped from a likely fifth all the way down to 11th.

That meant it was Mortara, the returning Pascal Wehrlein and Bruno Spengler left to compete for fourth and it was decided by Mortara's dive down the inside at the hairpin.

Wehrlein put up little defence but was able to comfortably hold on to fifth ahead of Spengler.

Paul Di Resta finished eighth ahead of a contentious battle between defending champion Rene Rast and Daniel Juncadella.

Rast endured a chaotic race as he went long on his first stint that involved an illegal pass on Rockenfeller and forced him to cede a position.

He briefly went airborne after clipping the kerb in the Turn 14/15 kink and fell outside the top 10 before his stint of 21 laps cycled him to the lead briefly.

Juncadella had run the same distance and he followed Rast into the pits, with a similar stop time meaning the Mercedes and Audi driver ran side-by-side out of the pitlane.

Juncadella would have the final say, taking eighth ahead of Rast, with the latter receiving a warning for accelerating in the 'working lane' leaving the pits.

Last year's European Formula 3 championship runner-up Joel Eriksson came close to a point on his DTM debut but lost out in battles with Rast and Wittmann.

Audi's struggles continued as Mattias Ekstrom's penultimate race ended in 17th ahead of DTM rookie Robin Frijns and Jamie Green.

Race one results

Pos Driver Car Laps Gap
1 Gary Paffett Mercedes 36 58m03.639s
2 Lucas Auer Mercedes 36 1.449s
3 Timo Glock BMW 36 6.514s
4 Edoardo Mortara Mercedes 36 8.198s
5 Pascal Wehrlein Mercedes 36 11.391s
6 Bruno Spengler BMW 36 15.758s
7 Paul Di Resta Mercedes 36 16.600s
8 Daniel Juncadella Mercedes 36 16.969s
9 Rene Rast Audi 36 18.268s
10 Loic Duval Audi 36 19.646s
11 Marco Wittmann BMW 36 20.740s
12 Joel Eriksson BMW 36 21.294s
13 Nico Muller Audi 36 22.421s
14 Mike Rockenfeller Audi 36 23.987s
15 Augusto Farfus BMW 36 28.724s
16 Philipp Eng BMW 36 29.486s
17 Mattias Ekstrom Audi 36 30.649s
18 Robin Frijns Audi 36 31.660s
19 Jamie Green Audi 36 44.973s


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