BMW’s Bruno Spengler has taken the 2012 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters title in emphatic style, beating long-time series leader Gary Paffett in the final race to secure his first German crown.
Going into the race Mercedes’ Paffett held a slender three point advantage over the Canadian and after qualifying a position ahead of his rival in second knew that he would need to keep him behind in order to take the title. However a poor start by the Brit allowed Spengler to slot into second, which became first when he effortlessly passed fellow BMW driver Augusto Farfus on the opening lap.
Paffett had dropped down to fourth on the opening tour, although moved up to third when Mattias Ekström attempted to put a pass on Joey Hand into the hairpin. Paffett moved up to second at the first round of pit stops on lap 11, jumping Farfus, but was not able to catch Spengler and prevent him from taking the championship.
Brazilian Farfus held on to finish in third, taking his third podium result of the season. The only other title contender going into the race, Jamie Green, came through from ninth on the grid to finish in fourth.
Swede Ekström had looked likely to challenge the top three until disaster struck at his first pit stop. When the Audi driver returned to the circuit he lost his right-front wheel, forcing him out of the race.
Spengler’s team-mate Dirk Werner finished in fifth, which allowed BMW Team Schnitzer to secure the Team’s championship at the same time. Indeed BMW’s return to the DTM could not have been better for the manufacturer, who took all three titles in their first year.
Edoardo Mortara was the top Audi driver in sixth, ahead of the BMW’s of Andy Priaulx and Joey Hand.
The Mercedes of Ralf Schumacher and Christian Vietoris completed the top ten, despite the latter being involved in an incident with David Coulthard earlier in the race whilst battling for position.
Frenchman Adrien Tambay failed to finish the race, retiring after just one lap with damaged right-rear suspension. A lap later another Audi, this time driven by Mike Rockenfeller, was also out of the race.
David Coulthard ended his racing career with a retirement from the race after contact with Timo Scheider. The German was later penalised for the contact, which meant he finished down in 12th position. A disastrous race also befell spaniard Miguel Molina, who retired after 25 laps when he spun out into the gravel at the Sachs Kurve.
Spengler’s win saw him take the title from Paffett by just four points – and it is the only time he has been at the top of the standings.