Ekstrom Inherits Nurburgring Win

Gary Paffett should have won the seventh round of the DTM for Mercedes at the Nurburgring in Germany, but instead it was his main title rival, Mattias Ekstrom of Audi, who grabbed the glory from under his nose

Ekstrom Inherits Nurburgring Win

Race dominator Paffett was given a drive-through penalty for crossing the white line at the exit of the pitlane after his second mandatory stop, dropping him to an eventual third position.

After leading from the start, which was taken behind the safety car due to a pre-race rain shower, Paffett appeared to be cruising to a routine victory on a drying track until his mistake exiting the pits on lap 26. Five laps later he accepted his drive-through penalty for touching the white line, dropping him behind Ekstrom, Tom Kristensen (Audi) and Mika Hakkinen (Mercedes).

Hakkinen had earlier looked on course to finish ahead of Ekstrom, but he exited the pits after his second stop just behind him. Hakkinen's attempt to regain the place almost ended in disaster as he overshot his braking point at Turn One, sailed past Ekstrom but ran wide. The Finn had to spin the car to avoid ending his race in the gravel, but he lost a place to Kristensen in the process.

After the Mercedes front-runners suffered their dramas, Ekstrom reeled off the final laps to win by one second ahead of Kristensen, Paffett, Hakkinen and Bernd Schneider (Mercedes). Former F1 racers Allan McNish (Audi) and Jean Alesi (Mercedes) were next up.

Ekstrom retakes the lead of the Championship by one point from Paffett, whose dark mood as he climbed from his car after the race was reflected by the angry skies that unloaded their contents on the slowing down lap.

Pos  Driver           Team              Time
 1.  Mattias Ekstrom  Audi Sport Team   1h 05:09.223
 2.  Tom Kristensen   Audi Sport Team   +      1.088
 3.  Gary Paffett     AMG-Mercedes      +      4.585
 4.  Mika Hakkinen    AMG-Mercedes      +      5.245
 5.  Bernd Schneider  AMG-Mercedes      +     10.527
 6.  Allan McNish     Audi Sport Team   +     17.706
 7.  Jean Alesi       AMG-Mercedes      +     20.934
 8.  Jamie Green      AMG-Mercedes      +     24.652
 9.  Laurent Aiello   Team OPC          +     27.758
10.  Christian Abt    Audi Sport Team   +     28.673
11.  Martin Tomczyk   Audi Sport Team   +     32.883
12.  H.H. Frentzen    Stern Team OPC    +     33.790
13.  Marcel Fassler   GMAC Team OPC     +     34.148
14.  Frank Stippler   Audi Sport Team   +     56.317
15.  Bruno Spengler   Mercedes          +     57.098
16.  A. Margaritis    Mucke Motorsport  +     57.808
17.  Stefan Mucke     Mucke Motorsport  +   1:22.357
18.  Pierre Kaffer    Audi Sport Team   +   1:22.787
19.  Rinaldo Capello  Audi Sport Team   +   1 Lap
20.  Manuel Reuter    Team OPC          +   2 Laps
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