First Win of the Year for Ekstrom

Audi and reigning Champion Mattias Ekstrom finally broke the Mercedes stranglehold on the DTM in round four at Brno, the Swede scoring a fine victory after overcoming the unexpectedly strong early challenge of former F1 star Heinz-Harald Frentzen in his Opel

First Win of the Year for Ekstrom

Frentzen took the lead at the start when pole sitter Gary Paffett (Mercedes) lurched forwards at the red lights, stopping just as they went out to give him the double-whammy of both a bad start and a jump start, for which he received a drive-through pit penalty.

Frentzen led for the opening 11 laps until his first pitstop, after which he came under attack from the Audi of Tom Kristensen. This battle allowed Ekstrom, who stopped a couple of laps later, enough of a breathing space to rejoin just in front of Frentzen, but it was very close.

Kristensen soon pulled a smart move at Turn 3 to demote Frentzen to third, and the Opel faded after that, allowing Ekstrom and Kristensen to pull away to take a dominant one-two.

Frentzen finished almost 25 seconds behind in third and had a charging Paffett, despite his drive-through, just 3.8s behind in fourth. It was Frentzen's first podium of his DTM career and Opel's first of the season.

Mercedes teammate Jamie Green scored his best finish to date in fifth, ahead of Christian Abt (Audi) and Allan McNish (Audi), who was another to fall foul of the stewards for speeding in the pits and lost a probable third or fourth position.

Frank Stippler scored his first DTM point in eighth in another Audi, just ahead of another ex-F1 star, Jean Alesi (Mercedes).

Spa victor Mika Hakkinen suffered a left-front puncture early on and could only finish 13th.

CLASSIFIED:

Pos  Driver                  Team                            Time
 1.  Mattias Ekstrom         Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline   58:52.558
 2.  Tom Kristensen          Audi Sport Team Abt             +    0.288
 3.  Heinz-Harald Frentzen   Stern Team OPC                  +   24.694
 4.  Gary Paffett            DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG        +   28.503
 5.  Jamie Green Salzgitter  AMG-Mercedes                    +   30.997
 6.  Christian Abt           Audi Sport Team Joest Racing    +   34.555
 7.  Allan McNish            Audi Sport Team Abt             +   34.815
 8.  Frank Stippler          Audi Sport Team Joest           +   36.102
 9.  Jean Alesi              AMG-Mercedes                    +   43.286
10.  Rinaldo Capello         Audi Sport Team Joest           +   43.652
11.  Bruno Spengler          Junge Gebrauchte von Mercedes   +   55.041
12.  Pierre Kaffer           Audi Sport Team Joest Racing    +   55.934
13.  Mika Hakkinen           Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes      + 1:10.527
14.  Martin Tomczyk          Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline  + 1:36.170
15.  Marcel Fassler          GMAC Team OPC                   + 1:37.321
16.  Laurent Aiello          Team OPC                        +   1 lap
17.  Alexandros Margaritis   Mucke Motorsport                +   3 laps

NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS:

Driver           Team                   On Lap
Manuel Reuter    Team OPC                 15
Stefan Mucke     Mucke Motorsport         10
Bernd Schneider  Vodafone AMG-Mercedes     1
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