Ekstrom’s Rain Dance Pays Off as Controversy Hits Audi

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Mattias Ekstrom made the most of a wet track at the Red Bull Ring to take race two victory from pole position, with Gary Paffett second after a strong battle.

After a twenty minute delay due to heavy rain the second race for DTM at the Red Bull Ring got underway under Safety Car conditions, staying out for four laps, with the race going green with 49 minutes left on the race clock.

When the green flags waved Ekstrom got a strong restart to keep the race lead over Mike Rockenfeller, although they were helped after one lap after the Mercedes of Daniel Juncadella and BMW’s Marco Wittmann, Augusto Farfus and Timo Glock  all came in for tyre changes after picking up debris.

On lap nine proper racing began, with Gary Paffett seeing a gap to go pass Rockenfeller to take second place, with Robert Wickens also going pass race one winner Edoardo Mortara, although he recovered to go pass Wickens a lap later.  

As the round of pit stops commenced Paffett initiated his charge, although his two team mates, Paul di Resta and Pascal Wehrlien, had a few off track excursions, dropping Di Resta out the points and Wehrlien to eighth.

With five minutes left on the clock Wickens was fighting with Timo Scheider, a battle that ran to the last lap when the controversial aspect started, with the Canadian going wide, with Wehrlien then surprising Scheider, who got pass both of them. Wickens tried to defend from his team mate, but Scheider pushed him, with Wickens then sliding into Wehrlien, with them both going off.

This was after Dr. Wolfgang Ulrich, head of Audi Sport, appeared to give the command to ‘push him off.’

At the flag Ekstrom won, with Paffett finishing 4.3 seconds back. Completing the podium was Mortara. Then it was Rockenfeller, Muller, Auer, Gotz, Vietoris and Di Resta to complete the top nine. Schieder finished sixth on the road, although he was later disqualified for the contact, with Audi being referred to the DMSB to be further investigated.

“That was obviously not a nice ending of an otherwise tremendous race,” said Dr. Ullrich. “What was done with Timo was not the proper way to go about things. But it was most definitely not my intention that Robert (Wickens) and Pascal (Wehrlein) end up in the gravel trap.

“ I’m sorry that I shouted, ‘Timo push him out’ in my initial emotion at the command post. I do not communicate with the drivers by radio during the race and did not know that the radio was open. This was not an instruction for Timo by any means. I can only apologize to Mercedes for this remark.

“An expression like that does not reflect my idea of motorsport, but was strictly due to the adrenaline at that moment. I’m a racer and was fuming about the way Timo was dealt with. It’s a shame that due to this incident a shadow has been cast on the impeccable performance delivered by Mattias and the entire Audi squad. Our Audi RS 5 DTM was the strongest car here, both in dry and wet conditions.”

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