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Long Overdue Ekstrom Win Lifts Audi in Valencia

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Mattias Ekstrom took his first victory in over a year in the second round of the 2010 DTM at Valencia. The Swede, champion in 2007, converted pole position into a win with a dominant performance at the blisteringly hot Circuit Ricardo Tormo, giving a much needed boost to his Audi team after their disastrous opening weekend at Hockenheim in April.

Ekstrom was followed across the line by Audi team-mate Martin Tomczyk who had optimised a late stopping strategy to surge through the field from ninth on the grid and looked to have completed a 1 – 2 for Audi, only to be disqualified after the race for using a tyre in the race which had not been registered for use in the race. Tomczyk's misfortune led to Bruno Spengler being g lifted into second place for Mercedes and Alexandre Premat taking the final podium spot as the best driver of an older spec 2008 car in his Audi.

A disastrous opening lap for championship leader Gary Paffett saw the Briton run wide at turn 1 and then make contact with Premat, dropping the Mercedes driver down to eighth after starting on row 2. After further heavy contact with home favourite Miguel Molina (Audi) later in the race, Paffett managed to pass the Spaniard for seventh place three corners from home after a brutal battle.

Audi didn't have the same tyre issues that they faced in Hockenheim, where they suffered several delaminations on their A4's, but reigning champion Timo Scheider seems to be struggling for pace and came home fourth, ahead of Paul di Resta (Mercedes) and Mike Rockenfeller's Audi.

A spate of late retirements claimed ex-F1 stars Ralf Schumacher and David Coulthard (both Mercedes), whilst Markus Winkelhock (Audi) retired with a suspension problem and the luckless Oliver Jarvis' Audi gave up the ghost seven laps from home with the Briton running third.

Spengler leads the championship heading to Lausitz in two weeks time after taking two second place finishes so far, with Ekstrom second and Paffett third.

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Dai McCann is a regular contributor of feature articles and opinion pieces to TCF, and can be found on Twitter: @daimccann and @ifitsgot4wheels
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