Martin Wins Chaotic DTM Race at the Norisring

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Credit: DTM Media

Maxime Martin claimed the third victory of his DTM Series career at the Norisring, in a race overshadowed by a horrific crash between Gary Paffett and Mike Rockenfeller.

The crash between Paffett and Rockenfeller brought out the red flag to allow for their cars to be recovered and for repairs to be made to the barriers.

Paffett had been attempting to overtake Jamie Green when, it is unclear whether the pair touched, the former’s rear became unstable and his car was thrown into the inside wall.

Now a passenger, the Mercedes driver slid along the inside line of the hairpin and collected the Audi of Rockenfeller, slamming into the driver-side door.

The pair were able to get out of their cars with Paffett complaining about pain in his arm and Rockenfeller avoiding putting any weight on his left foot.

Audi have since confirmed that Rockenfeller sustained a small fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot.

It had already been a pretty chaotic race prior to the red flag period.

Tom Blomqvist had started from pole position, but a poor start saw him tumble down the field handing the lead of the race to Robert Wickens.

Blomqvist recovered from this to finish in ninth place after serving his mandatory pitstop on the opening lap.

As the pitstops played out Martin was in third place, behind eventual second place man Lucas Auer when the safety car was deployed because Wickens and Rene Rast had collided as they exited the Turn 1 hairpin.

This meant Loic Duval headed the order by virtue of being the only driver to have not pitted.

The Frenchman initially made a strong getaway at the restart but as he focused on defending from Auer he allowed just enough room for Martin to pass the pair up the inside and into the lead.

Auer was then overtaken by Bruno Spengler as well.

Unfortunately for Spengler, his race quickly went downhill from there as a puncture that had occurred whilst overtaking Duval meant he had to come in for another pit stop which relegated him to the back of the field.

Saturday’s race winner eventually came home in 12th place.

Two laps after the restart came the collision between Paffett and Rockenfeller that resulted in the half an hour stoppage of the race.

Racing got back underway after a sighting lap under the safety car, with Auer making the best getaway from the restart to overtake Martin into the first corner.

Making sure he remained within the DRS range which allowed him to steal the place back with a risky move up Auer’s inside.

The Austrian soon started to fall off the back of the BMW driver, which after the race he said was due to having cramp in his leg, meaning he spent much of the final stages of the race fending off Marco WittmannMattias Ekström and Edoardo Mortara. 

Wittmann had got a better run out of the hairpin on the penultimate lap, trying to take the outside line but was forced to back off.

This allowed Ekström to sneak by into third.

Home-boy Wittmann tried to hit back on the last lap and attempted an ambitious move that resulted in pushing Ekström wide – the pair had already had a brief coming together earlier in the race.

As the Audi and BMW drivers battled ahead of him, Mortara was brought back into the equation to sweep past the pair who fought it out three abreast to the line.

Mortara claimed third place by 0.002 seconds over Ekström with Wittmann left languishing in fifth.

It was a far lonelier race for Paul di Resta in his run to sixth place ahead of Augusto Farfus and Green – despite running out of DRS with 20 minutes of the race still to run.

Blomqvist was ninth with his BMW Team RMR team-mate Timo Glock completing the points paying positions.

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