Gary Paffett won the final DTM race of 2010 around the streets of Shanghai, but it was Paul di Resta who took the title after finishing second.
In an attempt to reduce the number of accidents following yesterday's interrupted qualifying session, the race started with three laps behind the safety car, with the first three corners of the fourth lap being run under yellow flag conditions.
Polesitter di Resta maintained his lead over second-place starter Paffett until the first round of stops, when Paffett was able to rejoin ahead of his Scottish Mercedes teammate. Paffett made his second mandatory stop a few laps later and regained the lead when di Resta made his second stop.
The race ended early when Mike Rockenfeller and Susie Stoddart collided and spun with six minutes of the race remaining, bringing out the red flags. This handed Paffett the victory, with di Resta holding on to second, despite late pressure from the Audis of Timo Scheider and Martin Tomczyk.
Bruno Spengler entered the Shanghai weekend as the championship leader with a three point advantage over di Resta. However, the Canadian Mercedes driver endured a miserable weekend. He started the race at the back after crashing in qualifying, and attempted an alternative strategy in which he made both his pitstops early on. However, this didn't work out and he finished down in 13th, meaning he dropped behind di Resta and Paffett in the overall standings.
Miguel Molina finished the race fifth after leaving both his pitstops until later in the race. Jamie Green dropped down to sixth after running in third earlier in the race, while Markus Winkelhock finished in seventh. David Coulthard picked up his first points of his DTM career in eighth.
After the race, di Resta said: “I am really happy about my DTM title win – a dream came true. I thank my entire team and everybody at Mercedes-Benz for this great season.”
Race winner Paffett said: “It was a tough race and with my win I achieved everything possible. However, I had lost a few points during the season; otherwise the fight with Paul today would have been more exciting. Congratulations to him, he had a great season and deserves the championship.”
Scheider said: “Standing on the podium after the turbulent qualifying and the scrap I left behind is almost a bit unexpected. The guys did an incredible job. Everyone from Audi and every Abt mechanic put all their energy into my car last night. It wasn't just my mechanics but also those of the other drivers. This is what makes it all so special, to feel how much of a team and family spirit we've got. It makes me feel proud to be a part of that. I'm very happy that by taking third place today I'm able to pay back a little of it.”
Spengler was disappointed with the way his season had ended. “I look back to a good season; however, in the last event I made a mistake in qualifying which almost decided the championship already before the race. I suffered from understeer today which was probably a consequence of my accidents on Friday and Saturday. Congratulations to Paul on his title win.”
Norbert Haug, Vice President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport said: “A difficult final of a great 2010 DTM season with Paul as the deserved Champion and Gary as the Shanghai winner – for the second time after he had won also the so far only race here in 2004. This season, Paul did the best job of all – Bruno Spengler who arrived here as the overall leader would have deserved as well as Gary Paffett – but in the end Paul achieved the well-deserved title win.”
Haug's Audi counterpart Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich commented: “The team did a truly fantastic job and completely repaired Timo Scheider's car that had been very heavily damaged in the qualifying accident from scratch again overnight. Everyone was helping each other in this effort. It's a remarkable feat to drive such a strong race and to clinch third place in this car. I think that despite all the initial difficulties this has been a worthy and interesting DTM finale. Congratulations to Paul Di Resta on winning the title. He was very strong this year.”