Brits Paffett And Green Score Mercedes 1-2 In DTM Opener

Gary Paffett - Photo Credit: DTM Media
Paffett won after failing to score a single podium in 2011 - Photo Credit: DTM Media

Gary Paffett and Jamie Green made it a British driver and a Mercedes 1-2 in the first race of the new DTM era at Hockenheim.

Polesitter Mattias Ekstrom retained the lead at the start, but the Audi man locked up into Turn 2 on lap five, running wide and letting Green through into the lead. Paffett, who started fifth, soon followed him through.

Meanwhile, after starting third on BMW's return, Dirk Werner was eased out at the start, leading to him fighting over sixth to fellow Beemer man Andy Priaulx. Timo Scheider spun his Audi at the hairpin on the opening lap after light contact from Ralf Schumacher.

Schumacher tried to take the BMW of Bruno Spengler for eighth at the same place on lap three, but braked too late and punted Werner into a spin, the German having been passed by Priaulx. The ex F1 driver was handed a drive-through penalty, while Spengler was forced into retirement after making contact with Schumacher as he tried to turn into the corner. A furious Spengler voiced his anger with Schumacher on the radio afterwards.

Paffett took the lead from Green just after they had made their first pitstops, and successfully maintained first place until the checkered flag, with Green crossing the line 4.7 seconds behind. Ekstrom was a quiet third, nearly 20 seconds down the road.

Christian Vietoris had started the race down in 15th in his first race for the crack HWA Mercedes squad, but worked his way up into fifth once all the pitstops had been completed. He then took fourth from Mike Rockenfeller to score his best DTM result to date.

Rockenfeller kept fifth place under late pressure from Priaulx, who finished as the best of the BMWs. Schumacher recovered from his drive-through penalty to finish seventh, getting by both Miguel Molina and David Coulthard in the final stint. Behind Coulthard and Molina, Filipe Albuquerque completed the top ten.

Edoardo Mortara had been third on the opening lap behind Ekstrom and Green, but was given a drive-through penalty after spinning around BMW newcomer Joey Hand at the hairpin after his first stop and crossed the finish line in 11th.

Susie Wolff was 12th ahead of Hand and Robert Wickens, the Formula Renault 3.5 champion receiving a drive-through after speeding in the pits as he made his first DTM pitstop. Augusto Farfus also had a difficult debut with BMW on his way to 15th, overshooting his pitbox at his second stop and having to come in again a lap later, and then being done for pitlane speeding.

Rahel Frey completed the finishers on the lead lap in 16th after a spin on lap 29. Werner finished a lap down, while Roberto Merhi parked his Mercedes in the pits a couple of laps from the end. Scheider only made it as far as lap 13 before retiring, joining defending champion Martin Tomczyk who stopped after four laps in his BMW, as well as Adrien Tambay and Spengler.

The DTM moves onto the Lausitzring next weekend.