Paffett Dominates Istanbul Race

Gary Paffett seized the advantage in the DTM title chase at a wet Istanbul track on Sunday when he took a dominant victory as main rival Mattias Ekstrom suffered a nightmare following a controversial collision

Paffett Dominates Istanbul Race

Paffett made it look easy as he led from the start to eventually head home Mercedes-Benz teammates Mika Hakkinen and Bernd Schneider, but the talking point was a controversial collision between Ekstrom and eventual fourth placed finisher Jamie Green.

As Paffett and Schneider led the field on the opening lap, Ekstrom made a brilliant getaway to storm through from fifth on the grid to third - but he was immediately put under pressure by Green who was right behind him.

The pair nearly collided halfway around the lap in their fight for third, before they eventually did come together at the final corner.

Ekstrom had taken a defensive wide line into the turn as Green dived down the inside. But in his lunge across the kerbs, Green ran wide and pushed his Audi rival off the track - which allowed Hakkinen and Alesi to move past Ekstrom.

As Paffett roared on to maintain his advantage over Schneider at the front, Ekstrom was clearly struggling with a problem on his car as he began losing time despite initially holding onto sixth position.

As the race progressed, Ekstrom lost more and more pace and eventually slid down the order and outside the points. He eventually finished 12th.

That left Paffett to take a comfortable victory from Hakkinen, who managed to leapfrog Schneider at the second round of pit-stops. Schneider held on for third, ahead of Green and Audi's Tom Kristensen.

The result leaves Paffett with a comfortable nine points advantage heading into the final round of the series - so he only needs to finish in the points in the final round at Hockenheim to win the championship, even if Ekstrom wins.

Paffett will also be champion if Ekstrom fails to take victory.

CLASSIFIED: Pos  Driver Car Time 1. Gary Paffett AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 1:05:27.828 2. Mika Hakkinen AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 3.222 3. Bernd Schneider AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 3.551 4. Jamie Green AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 3.994 5. Tom Kristensen Audi A4 DTM + 30.889 6. Laurent Aiello Opel Vectra GTS V8 + 33.142 7. Jean Alesi AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 36.534 8. Bruno Spengler AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 37.541 9. Stefan Mucke AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 45.625 10. Marcel Fassler Opel Vectra GTS V8 + 52.481 11. A. Margaritis AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 54.606 12. Mattias Ekstrom Audi A4 DTM + 58.189 13. Frank Stippler Audi A4 DTM + 1:08.087 14. Manuel Reuter Opel Vectra GTS V8 + 1:08.697 15. Allan McNish Audi A4 DTM + 1:12.520 16. Martin Tomczyk Audi A4 DTM + 1 Lap NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS: Driver Car On Lap Pierre Kaffer Audi A4 DTM 22 Rinaldo Capello Audi A4 DTM 11 Christian Abt Audi A4 DTM 5 H.H. Frentzen Opel Vectra GTS V8 5 Fastest Lap: Mika Hakkinen, 2:00.130 on lap 6 
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