While all over Germany people are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the 'Oktoberfeste', Scotsman Paul di Resta celebrated his second consecutive win of the season for AMG Mercedes on the highest step of the podium at the Motorsport Arena ...
While all over Germany people are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the 'Oktoberfeste', Scotsman Paul di Resta celebrated his second consecutive win of the season for AMG Mercedes on the highest step of the podium at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, near Magdeburg in eastern Germany. The eighth round of the DTM Championship was dominated by Mercedes, Bruno Spengler took second position and Mattias Ekstrom took third position for Audi. Gary Paffett took fourth position for Mercedes, and Audi took fifth and sixth place with Mike Rockenfeller and Alexandre Premat.
"My second win within two weeks - fantastic," smiled di Resta. "Thank you to my team -- you gave me a perfect C-Class which I realised already in this morning's warm-up. When I lost time during my first pit stop I felt my heart beat, but I managed to move up to the front again. Me first and Bruno second -- if we continue like this, the championship battle will be really exciting. I am very confident."
It was expected that the 3.7 km long circuit would be favoring Audi, Timo Scheider won the race at Oschersleben in 2008 and 2009, but this year he ran out of luck 16 laps before the end of the race, when a punctured tyre robbed him of a possible win, he was forced to limp back to the pits for new tyres. Race winner di Resta on Saturday already showed he is in excellent shape and started from pole position, his second successive pole position and third of the season. With a temperature of only 14 C it was difficult to get enough heat in the Dunlop tyres, especially in the front tyres, and because the first two corners are difficult under braking, drivers expected the race would be decided at the very first corner.
Their prediction proved to be wrong, when the lights turned to green the top four made a clean start and emerged from the first corner unscathed in the same order as they had started. Spaniard Miguel Molina ran wide in Turn 3 and ended his race in the gravel without completing his first lap. Markus Winkelhock did the same in Turn 4 where he hit the curbs very hard, but he was able to continue his race until he had to park his damaged Audi in the Team Rosberg garage during lap four. Winkelhock, "It was my fault, when I drove through the chicane I hit the first curbs very hard. My car then hit the curbs at the outside of the chicane very hard again and I flew off." Not much later CongFu Chang ended his race in the gravel as well.
At the end of the first lap Scheider passed Rockenfeller and took third place behind di Resta and Spengler. On lap six the race became interesting, Scheider started to put pressure on Spengler ahead of him, while at the same time Gary Paffett closed in on Martin Tomczyk's Audi. Paffett attacked him for sixth place, but he came too close to Tomczyk, hit the Audi in the back, and both cars went side-by-side into the next corner. Paffett ran wide and pushed Tomczyk into the gravel and took sixth place, but race control had their doubts about Paffett's action and one lap later they deemed the overtaking maneuver was illegal, and summoned Paffett to give his sixth place back to Tomczyk.
Paffett reported over the radio to his team this 'was crazy' and made it clear he was anything but happy about the decision of race control. Paffett again attacked Tomczyk after letting him past again, but Tomczyk's team decided to pull him out of the fight with Paffett and called him in for his first pit stop. But the strategy didn't work, two laps later Paffett made his pit stop and he rejoined the race again just behind Tomczyk, and the cat-and-mouse game between the Mercedes and the Audi continued. Bodywork flew around as the two again went side-by-side through the corners, but on lap 16 Paffett finally passed Tomczyk in Turn Two.
Bruno Spengler made his first stop on lap 10, but di Resta, Scheider, Ekstrom, Jamie Green and Oliver Jarvis were on a different strategy and waited until lap 19 to make their first pit stop. di Resta had a bad pit stop, there was a slight problem with the right rear tyre, and he rejoined the race behind Spengler. By lap 23 all drivers had made their pit stop, Spengler was now leading the race, followed by di Resta, Scheider, Ekstrom, Rockenfeller, Paffett, Green and Premat.
Two laps later the top three was again only a few car lengths apart, and not much later Scheider was the first who decided to make his final pit stop, he rejoined the race in tenth position. On lap 26 Spengler made his last pit stop, but his stop was not flawless and he lost a position to Scheider. On lap 33 all drivers bar di Resta had made their second and last pit stop, di Resta was still in the lead, followed by Scheider, Spengler, Paffett and Rockenfeller. The Audi team on the pit wall told Scheider to give it all he had, as they knew the only chance they had to overtake Di Resta and win the race was when di Resta had to make his final stop.
But one lap later the race at Oschersleben turned into a drama for Scheider. He made a small mistake and ran a little wide at Turn One. A part of his rear bodywork, which had been slightly damaged during the first lap, fell off when he ran over the curbs and punctured his right rear tyre. Scheider had to slow down and was immediately overtaken by Spengler who took over his second position. Scheider's Audi limped back to the pits for new tyres, but when he rejoined the race the damage was already done.
On lap 34 di Resta made his final pit stop, his pit crew made no mistakes and he rejoined the race without losing his first position. He was followed by Spengler, Ekstrom, Paffett, Rockenfeller, Premat, Green and Tomczyk, the unfortunate Scheider was in 12th position. With only 16 laps to go, Ekstrom and Paffett were now dicing for third position, Scheider had moved up one place and was now in 11th position, behind him Jarvis and Mauro Engel battled for 12th position. On lap 42 Spengler was 3.7 seconds behind Di Resta, while Scheider was now almost one minute behind the leader of the race.
On lap 44 Engel braked late for Turn One, too late, and he bumped into Jarvis in front of him, but no damage was done and Engel even managed to overtake him. Paffett was still trying to overtake Ekstrom, but he ran out of time, and when the chequered flag was waved after 50 laps on the Oschersleben circuit, the Mercedes of di Resta crosses the finish line first and was followed by the Mercedes of Spengler. Ekstrom's disastrous 2010 season did not continue at Oschersleben, he finished in third position, followed by Paffett, Rockenfeller and Premat. Follow the link at the bottom of this page for the complete race result.
As said, the race became a drama for Scheider, he lost the race at his favorite circuit, he already won the race in 2008 and 2009, but he is now no longer in contention to win this year's title. di Resta is now together with Spengler the favorite for the title, but the Scot knows there is still a long way to go. "Although I'm in good shape now [after this win], there are still 30 points to win during the last three races," the Scot said after the race.
Mercedes motor sport director Norbert Haug also was cautious about the chances for Mercedes. "There is still a mathematical chance Ekstrom can win the title," the German said. Scheider was of course very disappointed about his race. "We risked everything, and we lost everything," the 31-year old 2009 DTM champion said after the race. Audi sport director Wolfgang Ulrich about the unfortunate race, "We did all the right things in terms of strategy and put him [Scheider] in a position from which he was able to win. But apparently it just wasn't meant to be. Unfortunately Timo, of all drivers, was the one to get something in his tire ..."
With only three more races to go, Spengler is now leading the championship with 60 points, followed by di Resta with 53 points, and Paffett is third with 44 points. Ekstrom is fourth with 34 points, but as Ulrich said after the race, "There's no doubt in my mind that 'Eki' will give everything until the very end and we'll give him all the help in the world."