Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline‘s Mattias Ekström won race 2 of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season opener at Hockenheim yesterday, after usurping Mike Rockenfeller‘s lead off the line.
With Rockenfeller starting from pole but getting a poor start, Ekström was easily able to overtake him into turn 1, and stay ahead for the first few corners.
Reigning champion Marco Wittmann also overtook Rockenfeller for 2nd position at turn 3, with Edoardo Mortara and Martin Tomczyk now in 4th and 5th respectively.
At the hairpin halfway through the opening lap, Wittman slipped past Ekström for lead, and it took the Swede until lap 4 to re-take 1st position.
A few laps later, battles for 2nd position between Wittmann, Mortara, Tomczyk and Rockenfeller helped Ekström to extend his lead to over 2.2 seconds.
As predicted, the rain started on lap 11, and despite what their team radios were telling them, a handful of drivers pitted immediately for some wet tyres. The leader pitted on the following lap, but it turned out that the early stops were beneficial, with Mortara taking the lead, despite Ekström’s quick stop. It took Ekström a few laps to re-take his lead, and he did so at the hairpin on lap 17.
As the rain got heavier, there were many battles throughout the field, and Gary Paffett had a fantastic performance, starting at the back of the field but taking advantage of the wet conditions and eventually moving up to 3rd, by overtaking Tomczyk with 10 minutes remaining.
Tomczyk finished in 4th, ahead of Wittmann, and was the top BMW M4 DTM in the race. Pole sitter Rockenfeller came home in 7th.
|1||Mattias Ekström||SWE||Abt||Audi||35 laps|
|20||Antonio Felix da Costa||POR||Schnitzer||BMW||+1:21.578|
|22||Paul di Resta||GBR||HWA||Mercedes||+1:34.157|
|23||Adrien Tambay||FRA||Abt||Audi||RET 23 laps|