Norisring, race one: Jo smokes 'em

Jo Winkelhock delivered Opel's third win of the season at the Norisring on Sunday when he overcame a strong challenge from Marcel Tiemann to take victory

Norisring, race one: Jo smokes 'em

The former BTCC champion, who started from pole position, led away at the start but was taken by Tiemann on the run into the first hairpin at the start of the third lap. But despite losing nearly a second to the leader, Winkelhock was soon back on the pace and in a daring move on lap eight he dived inside Tiemann on the run out of the last corner. The move forced Tiemann onto a damp patch of the track and, after skidding sideways and nearly losing control, he had to concede the position. As Winkelhock began extending his advantage by around three tenths of a second per lap, Tiemann then found himself under pressure from Mercedes team-mate Klaus Ludwig.

On lap 15, Ludwig sneaked through at the first hairpin and Tiemann slipped back into the clutches of Manuel Reuter, who was putting on an impressive charge and had moved past Schneider for fourth on lap 16. Reuter made his decisive move for third at the first hairpin on lap 19 and he was soon right on the back of Ludwig, who was struggling with his brakes.

On lap 25, Ludwig braked late at the chicane and lost momentum, which gave Reuter a run on him into the final hairpin. But as the pair braked late, it was Reuter who came off worse as he spun the car and dropped to fifth spot. That became fourth on lap 29 when Tiemann spun at the second hairpin under pressure from Opel's Eric Helary, who was trying to unlap himself.

As Winkelhock motored on untroubled to victory, Reuter was again intent on moving up the field. He closed the gap on third placed Bernd Schneider and when his championship rival ran wide at the hairpin on lap 39, Reuter was through to third.

Despite his best efforts, however, he could do nothing to get past Ludwig, who was putting in his best performance since coming out of retirement. Michael Bartels put in an impressive drive to claim fifth place, having started the race from 14th, while Tiemann eventually finished sixth.

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