Ekström Claims First Victory of 2017 to Extend DTM Championship Lead


Credit: DTM Media

DTM Series points leader Mattias Ekström claimed his first victory of 2017 at the Red Bull Ring to extend his title advantage.

The Swede had been running in second place, after starting from third, behind Jamie Green but easily got the move done on the Briton into Turn 3 with five laps remaining.

Joining the Audi duo on the podium was stable-mate Nico Muller in a race dominated by the Ingolstadt marque.

The leading trio demolished their opposition taking the flag by over 21 seconds to their nearest rival – the Mercedes of Robert Wickens.

Marco Wittmann was fifth as the best placed BMW driver.

At the start Ekström managed to overtake Muller, behind Wittmann lost a position dropping down to fifth place.

Wittmann fell to fifth after a stunning first lap by Wickens who jumped from seventh to fourth.

The Canadian spent the first stint fending off Wittmann and Rene Rast, when the Mercedes and BMW driver pitted Wickens remained in front.

Rast pitted later than the pair and as a result leapfrogged them both, but was defenceless on cold tyres – as the German battled with Wickens, the latter of the two picking up damage to his trim on the left hand side of the car.

Subsequently, Rast has potentially lost his outsider chance of the title after colliding with Maxime Martin whilst battling the BMW.

For much of the second stint Wickens had Wittmann, Martin, Mike RockenfellerLucas AuerEdoardo Mortara and Timo Glock bottled up behind him – crossing the line in formation.

Paul di RestaBruno SpenglerRene RastLoic DuvalMaro EngelTom Blomqvist and Gary Paffett completed the finishers.

Augusto Farfus was the only retirement from the race, the Brazilian had to avoid a collision right at the start and took a trip through the gravel damaging the car, as a result the BMW was forced to retire in the pits despite being originally able to continue going.

Following the 23rd victory of his career, Ekström consolidates his position on top of the championship on 162 points ahead of Green who leapfrogged home favourite Auer. Wittmann and Rast are separated by just one point in fourth and fifth.

Qualifying for tomorrow’s race gets underway 12.00 local time followed by 15.15 which will last 55 minutes plus one lap.