Ekstrom Reclaims Points Lead

Reigning DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom won the ninth round of the DTM at EuroSpeedway Lausitz to retake the championship lead by a solitary point from Mercedes star Gary Paffett

Ekstrom Reclaims Points Lead

Ekstrom and Paffett were embroiled in a thrilling battle for the lead, which lasted for most of the race, but Paffett just couldn't find a way past the Audi ace's stoic defence.

Opel held sway at the start, with Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Manuel Reuter both jumping past pole position man Jamie Green's Mercedes on the run to the first corner. Ekstrom jumped up to third from fifth on the grid, but Paffett, who started seventh, was soon on his tail.

With Opel opting for a long first stint strategy, this compromised its track position, allowing the Ekstrom/Paffett fight to take over at the head of the field after the first round of pitstops. Following the second mandatory stops, the lead duo were never more than half-a-second apart, with Paffett constantly looking to find a way past.

Ekstrom held on, however, to reverse the standings at the top of the title race and retake the series lead by one point. Behind Paffett, Audi's Tom Kristensen took the final place on the podium, ahead of Opel's Laurent Aiello, Reuter and Bruno Spengler (Mercedes).

Ex-F1 stars Frentzen and Jean Alesi (Mercedes) were seventh and eighth respectively, with their positions reversed late on after Alesi punted Frentzen into a spin, for which he received a drive-though penalty. Mika Hakkinen finished 12th in a badly damaged car after a hefty collision with Christian Abt's Audi.

CLASSIFIED: Pos Driver Car Time 1. Mattias Ekstrom Audi A4 DTM 1h 3:44.903 2. Gary Paffett AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 0.401 3. Tom Kristensen Audi A4 DTM + 3.062 4. Laurent Aiello Opel Vectra GTS V8 + 4.756 5. Manuel Reuter Opel Vectra GTS V8 + 6.082 6. Bruno Spengler AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 18.762 7. H.H. Frentzen Opel Vectra GTS V8 + 21.368 8. Jean Alesi AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 23.299 9. Allan McNish Audi A4 DTM + 29.766 10. Martin Tomczyk Audi A4 DTM + 30.198 11. Rinaldo Capello Audi A4 DTM + 30.553 12. Mika Hakkinen AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 34.762 13. Frank Stippler Audi A4 DTM + 36.747 14. A. Margaritis AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 39.608 NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS: Driver Car On Lap Jamie Green AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 29 Bernd Schneider AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 19 Stefan Mucke AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 15 Christian Abt Audi A4 DTM 14 Pierre Kaffer Audi A4 DTM 10 Marcel Fassler Opel Vectra GTS V8 0 Fastest lap: Gary Paffett, 1:17.938 on lap 9 
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