Mercedes 1-2-3-4 in Opening DTM Race at Zandvoort

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Paul di Resta, Gary Paffett and Lucas Auer: 2018 DTM Series - Zandvoort
Credit: DTM Media

It was victory once again for Gary Paffett in the 2018 DTM Series for the third time this season, and his fourth at Circuit Park Zandvoort.

The Briton capitalised on pole position to take the race victory, with team-mates Paul di Resta and Lucas Auer joining him on the podium.

Pascal Wehrlein finished fourth to make it an all Mercedes 1-2-3-4.

At the start, Paffett managed to hold on to his lead as they entered Turn 1 as Auer lost ground to his team-mates ahead of him.

Further back, BMW‘s Marco Wittmann found himself passed by Audi-man, and home favourite Robin Frijns.

Jamie Green, Edoardo Mortara and Loïc Duval all opted to pit at the end of the first lap.

Back at the front, Frijns was on a charge as he overtook Glock for fifth place.

Dani Juncadella was next to pit coming in at the end of lap two.

At the back, Duval was in the gravel after serving his pitstop – the effect of cold tyres.

Wittmann was the first of the front runners to take to the pitlane for fresh rubber, his BMW team-mates Glock and Spengler followed him in the next time round.

Glock exited the pitlane still ahead of Wittmann.

Out front, Wehrlein was on the tail of Paffett trying to find a way past the Briton for the race lead.

Frijns and Farfus were next to serve their mandatory pitstops, the BMW driver emerged with team-mates Glock and Wittmann but they easily got passed as the Brazilian held of Green.

Of the leading pack di Resta was the first to pit, with Philipp Eng also coming in on lap six.

Nico Müller came in for his mandatory pitstop at the end of lap seven, and in the process jumped the BMWs of Glock and Wittmann to be running with team-mate Frijns.

Having still not passed Farfus, Green tagged the rear of the BMW but to no great effect – the incident was investigated but the stewards deemed no action was warranted.

Wehrlein pitted from second place but it was a slow stop which cost the German, theoretical, second place to di Resta.

As Paffett pitted from the lead Auer took over at the helm of the race.

Returning to the track, Paffett maintained the theoretical lead from di Resta.

The Audi of Rockenfeller pitted and joined behind the BMW of Wittmann.

Out front, di Resta was hunting down Paffett and wanting to capitalise on his team-mate being on colder tyres.

Joel Eriksson pitted and came out behind Farfus to make it four BMWs running together on track.

Having pitted, Auer came out behind Wehrlein.

Although on colder tyres, Auer was vulnerable and was passed by Müller.

Green managed to get ahead of Eriksson to break up the group of BMWs.

Out front, Wehrlein was bringing the gap down to di Resta and Paffett, lapping much quicker than his team-mates ahead with Müller trying to keep with him to take advantage.

However, Müller was not able to challenge the front runners after crashing into the barrier as a result of a front left puncture.

The safety car was deployed as a result on lap nineteen to recover the damaged Audi.

Having not yet come in for his mandatory pitstop reigning champion René Rast found himself in the lead of the race, this was the last thing the German would have wanted as any stops under the safety car do not count as their mandatory stop.

Further back, having already pitted Duval and Eng took advantage of the situation to pit again.

Things got even worse for Müller who was under investigation for crossing the track on foot to return to the pitlane which is to be investigated after the race.

With just under eleven minutes remaining on the clock, the safety car came in to allow action to be resumed.

Auer took advantage of the Indy style restart that the DTM uses to pass Wehrlein and drop the German to fourth place.

At the back Eng passes Rockenfeller, as Eriksson managed to retake the position from Green.

Still needing to pit, there was just twelve seconds between Rast in the lead and Juncadella in last place resigning the German to the fact that whenever he pitted he would be last.

Eventually Rast came in to pit at the end of lap 33, which ended up being the penultimate lap of the race.

Paffett won from di Resta with Auer completing the podium. Wehrlein would have been disappointed to come home in fourth after challenging for the win early on and having a pace advantage over those in front.

Frijns would be happy with fifth in his home race as Glock headed a BMW quartet of himself Wittmann, Farfus and Eriksson.

The top ten was completed by Green.

After his late pitstop Rast ended up in seventeenth.

Free Practice 3 takes place at 9.15 local time tomorrow morning, ahead of Qualifying 2 at 11.20 with Race 2 starting at 13.30.

2018 DTM Series Results: Zandvoort – Race 1

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