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Engel: Spielberg penalty unfair

Maro Engel believes that his drive-through penalty at the Spielberg DTM round was unfairly awarded

The German was penalised after race officials adjudged him to have caused an avoidable accident by spinning Edoardo Mortara out of third place at the first corner of the race.

Engel, who had started from a season's best sixth place in his 2008-spec Mucke Mercedes, finished 14th, but would have been at least sixth if the time lost to the penalty had not been a factor. He laid the blame firmly with Mortara.

"I can't agree with the stewards decision," he told AUTOSPORT. "Mortara pulled to the left quite aggressively to cover [Mike] Rockenfeller, and the moment I went on the inside, he pulled aggressively to the right.

"He provoked the contact while we were going straight. I hit the brakes as hard as I could and went as far to the right as I could. But he kept coming. The contact never ended - it was one long hit and once it started, we stayed together until he spun.

"If you squeeze someone onto the grass like that then sorry mate, but you're going to get spun. He needed to leave me some room. I'd already pulled back and did all I could to avoid spinning him - it certainly wasn't like it was an opportunistic lunge."

Mortara, by contrast, said that it was the correct decision to penalise Engel and that the Mercedes man was entirely at fault for the collision.

"The stewards don't just give penalties for no reason," he countered. "I was just making sure I knew where I was on the track, and if I moved aggressively, it was to stop hitting Rockenfeller or [Ralf] Schumacher, who were on either side of me.

"It's the job of the driver behind not to run into you, not the job of the guy ahead to keep looking at his mirrors all the time. It was a hard hit."

The spin dropped Mortara's Rosberg Audi - which he had qualified a career-best fourth - to the back of the field. He eventually finished 16th after overshooting his pit stall at his first stop.

"We need a little bit more luck," he added. "From being quickest in Q3 and then having the worst rain on my Q4 lap, to the first corner and the pitstops. Next time perhaps."

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