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Ekstrom Dominates Wet Race To Lead Another Audi 1-2-3

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Mattias Ekstrom crosses the line to take victory - Photo Credit: Audi Motorsport

Mattias Ekstrom crosses the line to take victory - Photo Credit: Audi Motorsport

Mattias Ekstrom scored a dominant DTM victory in wet conditions at Oschersleben, as Audi scored its second consecutive podium lockout. Martin Tomczyk finished second to extend his championship lead with Edoardo Mortara coming home third.

It was another Audi driver, Miguel Molina, who had taken a surprise pole position in qualifying on Saturday. He missed his braking point for the first corner at the start and ran wide, handing the lead to front row starter and championship contender Bruno Spengler.

As Molina rejoined the track at the apex of Turn 2 he made contact with teammate Timo Scheider (who had made a fast start from fifth on the grid into second), spinning the German around.

Ekstrom inherited second place and took the lead from Spengler on the eighth lap. The Swede took the checkered flag after 45 rain-soaked laps with a comfortable margin of 42 seconds.

“I had a fantastic race,” said a jubilant Ekstrom. “Crossing the finish line in the DTM as the winner with a more than 40-second advantage is definitely a world of difference. I didn't even know who came second behind me. I'm very happy that it was Martin.

“But I'm even happier that in the team and with Audi Sport we've come up with ways of working together even better and continuing our successful days. Knowing this, it's really fun going into the last two races, and then starting into the winter break.”

Spengler had been set for second but developed suspension problems which first dropped him down the order with a lengthy pitstop before eventually retiring three laps from the finish.

“It was just bad luck – nothing you can do,” said the Canadian. “Unfortunately, something suddenly went wrong with the front of the car, and then it wasn't as drivable as at the start. We don't yet know exactly what the problem was.

“I tried to keep going, because there still might have been a chance of securing some points, but I had to retire. It’s unfortunate, but it's not the end of the world. There are still two races to go and we're certainly not about to give up. There's still plenty to fight for.”

Tomczyk had started down in 14th after a disaster of a qualifying session, but sensationally moved up to sixth on the opening laps. Despite his front bonnet flying off after just 18 laps, the Bavarian inherited second when Spengler hit trouble. He then lost position to Mortara after locking up under breaking, but took the place back after the pitstops, extending his points lead to nine points over Spengler.

“For me, clearly, the story of the day is the one that happened on the first lap,” said Tomczyk. “Recovering eight positions in such difficult conditions and to then even advance to second place is anything but easy. A little luck was involved too. After the poor qualifying session my team and I had a perfect Sunday. We're now leading the championship with a nine-point advantage. That doesn't mean anything except that we'll be tackling the next races the same way we did the last ones: with determination and concentration.”

Rookie Mortara repeated his result from the last race at Brands Hatch by finishing third. Gary Paffett and Christian Vietoris came through from the last row of the grid, after engine problems in qualifying and a grid penalty respectively, to finish fourth and fifth as the top Mercedes.

“I'm very satisfied with fourth place considering that I started from 18th position,” said Paffett. “Before the race, I hadn't expected to be the best-placed C-Class driver. The conditions were very difficult, just like at Brands Hatch, and the race was very chaotic at times, which helped me to make good so many places. The car's performance was also excellent. If I hadn't spun on the first turn, I could possibly have come home before Martin Tomczyk.”

Gary Paffett - Photo Credit: Daimler AG

Gary Paffett stormed from the back row of the grid to finish fourth as the best Mercedes. Photo Credit: Daimler AG

Vietoris was delighted with his best ever result so far in his maiden DTM season, and maintains a strong run of form from the German who won two GP2 races from the final two race weekends.

“I've finally achieved my first points in the DTM,” he said. “My team did a super job – they were faultless. We've had the speed plenty of times before, but today we were able to convert that into points. The rain suited me, because I like driving in challenging conditions. Now I'm hoping to rack up some more points in the last couple of races.”

Mike Rockenfeller finished sixth, just ahead of Maro Engel. Molina recovered to pick up one point in eighth.

The ninth and penultimate round of the season takes place at Valencia's Ricardo Tormo Circuit on 2nd October.

Race results – 45 laps:

Pos. Driver / Entrant / Car Time/Gap
1. Mattias Ekstrom
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline
Red Bull Audi A4 DTM
2. Martin Tomczyk
Audi Sport Team Phoenix
Schaeffler Audi A4 DTM
3. Edoardo Mortara
Audi Sport Team Rosberg
Playboy Audi A4 DTM
4. Gary Paffett
Thomas Sabo AMG Mercedes
Thomas Sabo AMG Mercedes C-Klasse
5. Christian Vietoris
Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes
Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Klasse
6. Mike Rockenfeller
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline
7. Maro Engel
GQ AMG Mercedes
GQ AMG Mercedes C-Klasse
8. Miguel Molina
Audi Sport Team Abt Junior
Red Bull Audi A4 DTM
9. Oliver Jarvis
Audi Sport Team Abt
Audi Sport performance cars A4 DTM
10. David Coulthard
Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes
Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Klasse
11. Jamie Green
AMG Mercedes
AMG Mercedes C-Klasse
12. Rahel Frey
Audi Sport Team Phoenix
Glamour Audi A4 DTM
+ 1 lap
13. Bruno Spengler
Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG
Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Klasse
+ 3 laps
Ret Timo Scheider
Audi Sport Team Abt
25 laps
Ret Filipe Albuquerque
Audi Sport Team Rosberg
TV Movie Audi A4 DTM
11 laps
Ret Ralf Schumacher
Salzgitter AMG Mercedes
Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Klasse
9 laps
Ret Renger van der Zande
stern AMG Mercedes
stern AMG Mercedes C-Klasse
6 laps
Ret Susie Stoddart
TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes
TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Klasse
2 laps

Drivers' standings after 8 of 10 rounds:
1. Martin Tomczyk, 58 points
2. Bruno Spengler, 49
3. Mattias Ekstrom, 39
4. Timo Scheider, 29
5. Mike Rockenfeller, 26
6. Jamie Green, 25

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About author
Peter joined the TCF team in September 2010 and covers GP2 and GP3 along with WTCC and Formula Two. You can find him on twitter at @PeteAllen_
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