Hockenheim DTM: Bruno Spengler wins title in BMW's comeback year

Bruno Spengler and BMW snatched the DTM title out of Gary Paffett's hands by winning an ultra-tense season finale at Hockenheim

Hockenheim DTM: Bruno Spengler wins title in BMW's comeback year

Spengler's title success capped an incredible season for BMW and Schnitzer, both of whom returned to the championship in 2012 after a 20-year absence.

The key to the Canadian's race was a great getaway from third on the grid as he passed the slow-starting Paffett to slot in behind polesitter Augusto Farfus.

While Paffett dropped from second to fourth, Spengler was gifted the lead by fellow BMW man Farfus at the Mercedes Arena on the opening lap.

HWA driver Paffett climbed to third when Mattias Ekstrom - who had already hit Joey Hand at Turn 1 - pushed the American and himself wide at the Spitzkehre.

The Briton then passed Farfus during the first round of pitstops to climb to second, escaping censure from the race officials despite being initially investigated for an unsafe release from his pit stall that resulted in him and his rival running side-by-side momentarily.

Paffett put Spengler under immense pressure following the second stops, trimming his deficit from 4.1 seconds to 2.0s within just five laps and then continuing to close until he was within 1.1s of the black BMW.

He could get no closer though and was unable to prevent Spengler from taking his fourth win of 2012 and securing the championship by just four points.

Farfus was a comfortable third in his RBM-run M3 while Jamie Green, the third driver to start the race with a chance of the title, drove superbly to climb from ninth to fourth during the race. His highlight was an excellent move on Hand's RMG BMW at the Spitzkehre during the opening stint.

Dirk Werner made it two Schnitzer cars inside the top five. He passed Edoardo Mortara and Hand at the first round of stops and gained a further spot when Ekstrom retired with a loose right-front wheel.

Mortara was sixth, less than a second ahead of the BMW of the impressive Andy Priaulx, Hand, Ralf Schumacher and Christian Vietoris.

David Coulthard retired from his final DTM race after being spun by Timo Scheider at the Mercedes Arena. The Audi man was given a drive-through penalty for causing the collision.

Adrien Tambay and Mike Rockenfeller both retired early on, each Audi driver a victim of contact, while Miguel Molina's race ended when he slid into the Sachs Kurve gravel at mid-distance.

Results - 42 laps:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car              Time/Gap
 1.  Bruno Spengler      Schnitzer BMW     1h07m59.069s
 2.  Gary Paffett        HWA Mercedes          + 2.214s
 3.  Augusto Farfus      RBM BMW              + 11.954s
 4.  Jamie Green         HWA Mercedes         + 23.479s
 5.  Dirk Werner         Schnitzer BMW        + 25.384s
 6.  Edoardo Mortara     Rosberg Audi         + 41.701s
 7.  Andy Priaulx        RBM BMW              + 42.265s
 8.  Joey Hand           RMG BMW              + 42.843s
 9.  Ralf Schumacher     HWA Mercedes         + 43.878s
10.  Christian Vietoris  HWA Mercedes         + 45.138s
11.  Filipe Albuquerque  Rosberg Audi         + 58.232s
12.  Timo Scheider       Abt Audi           + 1m14.020s
13.  Susie Wolff         Persson Mercedes   + 1m35.931s
14.  Martin Tomczyk      RMG BMW                + 1 lap
15.  Roberto Merhi       Persson Mercedes       + 1 lap
16.  Rahel Frey          Abt Audi               + 1 lap

Retirements:

     Miguel Molina       Phoenix Audi           25 laps
     David Coulthard     Mucke Mercedes         23 laps
     Robert Wickens      Mucke Mercedes         20 laps
     Mattias Ekstrom     Abt Audi               11 laps
     Mike Rockenfeller   Phoenix Audi            2 laps
     Adrien Tambay       Abt Audi                 1 lap
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