Audi’s Edoardo Mortara took his second-ever victory in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters at Zandvoort in the Netherlands, in an eventful race that saw several title contenders in trouble.
Pole man Timo Scheider had a disastrous start to the race after stalling on the line and ending up in the middle of the pack. This allowed Mike Rockenfeller and Mortara to take up the lead at the front, with the duo remaining closely matched through the first half of the race.
Scheider’s race went from bad to worse when he made contact with the rear of David Coulthard’s Mercedes, forcing his bonnet to fly up in his windshield a few laps later. Despite pitting for a new bonnet this also refused to remain on the car and Scheider retired from the race whilst the safety car was deployed to clear the debris from the circuit.
A mid-race rain shower gave Italian Mortara the opportunity that he needed to challenge for the lead and on the 32nd lap he made a move on Rockenfeller at Tarzan after having wiped out the German’s four second lead in the tricky conditions.
Rockenfeller remained close to Mortara in the final corner of the race but had no answer to the Audi Sport Team Rosberg driver, finishing 1.5 seconds behind at the chequered flag.
Swede Mattias Ekström equalled his best result of 2012 with third, ensuring that it was an all-Audi podium for the first time of the year.
By finishing in fourth and as the top Mercedes pilot, Jamie Green moved up to second in the championship and closed the overall gap to leader Gary Paffett to 16 points.
Frenchman Adrien Tambay scored his first ever DTM point with a best-ever fifth placed finish, ahead of BMW’s Bruno Spengler in sixth who had a strong race, after a disappoint qualifying session left him down in 18th on the grid.
Brit Paffett scoted his worst result of the season so far with seventh, having battled fiercely with Ekström at the mid point of the race. This allowed BMW’s Martin Tomczyk to close up on the pair and contact between Tomczyk and Paffett on lap 28 saw the Mercedes driver spun around and Tomczyk out of the race with accident damage.
German Dirk Werner scored his best-ever DTM result in eighth, ahead of Augusto Farfus and Ralf Schumacher, who completed the top ten.
A number of drivers failed to make it around the first lap, with Robert Wickens making contact with Christian Vietoris at Hugenholtz, forcing both into retirement. The Canadian also collected Andy Priaulx, who went on to finish 13th, and Rahel Frey, who retired on the same lap. Miguel Molina also crashed out on the opening tour after contact from Wickens, causing the first safety car period.
Mortara’s win elevates him to fourth in the driver’s championship, 35 points adrift of current leader Gary Paffett.