Nancy Knapp Schilke, DTM Correspondent
Non-championship points special event in Germany was a showdown between Ekström and Green
The head-to-head relays showcased the heated competition that is normal between the rival manufacturers and their teams during the DTM championship races during the season. At the Olympia Stadium in Munich, the drivers were competing more for fun and bragging rights in the non-championship points special event.
The final two challengers came down to Audi driver Mattias Ekström versus Mercedes’ Jamie Green. The two DTM past champions took to the twin 614 metres parallel tracks with the goal of victory, along with the risk of hitting the walls on the narrow tracks. By the time the quarter-finals were to start, the DTM drivers had a slick track due to rain – adding an extra bit of excitement for competition.
Ekström came out the winner with Green placing second.
"It was a nice weekend. The set-up superbly fit. The car was perfect throughout the weekend. The final against Jamie was tough; I was running behind after the first laps. But I managed to improve and win. There are no points awarded for this victory. But we showed that we’re able to win races and it was a fantastic reward for the team. Now we’re going into the five-week break with a good feeling,” Ekström said.
The Swede just celebrated his birthday yesterday, and today stood on the top step of the podium this season. Ekström also added to his stadium event wins; he has earned the “Race of Champions” title three times.
Green gave it his best shot in the two six laps heats but came up short to the “stadium king”. The Briton said, “Too bad that we didn’t achieve an outright win in the final, but I'm satisfied with second place and winning the team competition on Saturday. My first final run was good, but conditions were tough on the second run and I lost some time during the pit stop into the bargain. It was an exciting race, and the crowds braved the rain and cheered us in the stands – they deserve a special mention.”
In the semi-final heat, the two who lost their chance for the overall win were BMW’s Bruno Spengler and Gary Paffett in his Mercedes placed third.
Spengler was the best of the BMWs over the weekend. After losing taking the loss in the semi-finals to Green, the Canadian remarked: “It is a real shame I did not make it into the final. The conditions were not easy, as the track was gradually drying out as we were racing. Our team did a great job in the pit stop and I was leading the race. Then I braked a little bit too hard and lost time, allowing Jamie to come through and win.”
Paffett lost his heat races to Ekström and after two days of a good showing, the Briton was not too disappointed. He commented, “Third place twice, in the team competition and then in the individual contest. Of course, I would really have loved to have won, but the track on my side was slightly wetter than on Mattias Ekström’s. Even after the rain, the track afforded a surprising amount of grip and we had plenty of speed – it was a whole lot of fun!”