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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