British driver Gary Paffett has taken victory in the ‘new-look’ Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters opener at Hockenheim, beating Mercedes-Benz stablemate and fellow Brit Jamie Green to victory.
Paffett started from sixth on the grid and made a strong start to end the opening lap in fourth. Passing Audi’s Edoardo Mortara on the following lap, the Brit set about chasing the leading duo of Mattias Ekström and Jamie Green. When Swede Ekström made a mistake on lap five to allow Green past, Paffett followed suit. On lap 14 Paffett made his mandatory pit-stop and Green did so one lap later. As Green exited the pits the duo ran wheel-to-wheel before Paffett emerged in the lead he would retain for the rest of the race.
Green held on to take second, 4.7 seconds down on Paffett. Finishing third was Audi’s Ekström – his lock-up into turn two in the early stages of the race proving costly.
The only major incidents of the race came in the opening few laps, with Timo Scheider spinning on the opening lap following contact with Ralf Schumacher. Scheider would later retire after 13 laps. Mercedes’ Ralf Schumacher made contact with Dirk Werner on the third lap, pitching the BMW driver into a spin. Schumacher would later receive a drive-through penalty for his role in the incident. There were also troubles for BMW’s Bruno Spengler and Audi’s Adrien Tambay – both drivers lost their bonnets in the chaos and retired from the race.
Christian Vietoris had a particularly strong race, coming from 15th on the grid to finish fourth for Mercedes. It is the young German’s best-ever DTM finish in only his second season in the series. Behind him, Mike Rockenfeller finished as the second-best Audi pilot, and was running in fourth before losing out to a hard-charging Vietoris later in the race.
Andy Priaulx was the best-placed BMW driver in sixth on his début in the championship. The former British triple World Touring Car champion ran in sixth for the majority of the race, but came close to fifth with just 0.6 seconds seperating him from the position after a late-race charge.
Finishing in seventh was Ralf Schumacher despite his earlier penalty. The German former Formula One racer dropped as low as 13th as a result, but a strong second half of the race elevated him into the points. David Coulthard finished in eighth to ensure there were four British drivers in the top eight positions.
Audi drivers filled the next three positions, with Miguel Molina ninth, ahead of Filipe Albuquerque and Edoardo Mortara. The latter received a drive-through penalty for causing an avoidable collision after contact with BMW’s Joey Hand and had been running in fourth.
Susie Wolff finished in 12th, ahead of the second-best placed BMW driver Hand. Robert Wickens finished in 15th but was given a drive-through penalty for not obeying the pit lane speed limit. Brazilian Augusto Farfus, who finished 15th, also received a drive-through penalty for the same reason.
Martin Tomczyk retired his BMW M3 after just four laps.