The Norisring circuit is a difficult, technical circuit, but it suits Jamie Green well: the Persson Motorsport Mercedes pilot won the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) race there today, adding to his 2008 and 2009 victories on the same track.
The margin of victory over Mattias Ekstrom was a small one, just under six-tenths of a second, but was doubly sweet as the Englishman was able to achieve it with a 2008-spec Mercedes.
"Mattias was right behind me all the time, that wasn't easy," said Green. "At this track, making a mistake is easy. I am happy that I have managed to stay in front. We are unable to win football matches, but we can win races!"
Green took second place from fellow AMG Mercedes driver Bruno Spengler into the first corner, behind surprise polesitter Ralf Schumacher.
Schumacher held his position through the first lap, but his first DTM race lead turned out to be a brief one as the race stewards determined that he had jumped the start. Six laps later, he came in for a drive-through penalty. Schumacher would eventually finish 11th, 32 seconds off Green's pace.
Ekstrom had taken fourth at the start from Audi teammate Martin Tomczyk as the latter had stalled his car at the start, dropping back to 14th. The Swede was then promoted into third once Schumacher pulled into the pits for his penalty.
However, Ekstrom wasn't ready to challenge for the lead yet, with championship points leader Spengler separating him from race leader Green. It was Spengler's early stop, on lap 25, though, that gave him the opportunity, as the Mercedes pit crew was not able to get the Canadian back on track as quickly as usual.
Ekstrom stayed out another 13 laps on his first stint, and the series of fast laps was enough to easily move past Spengler, and start making up ground to Green. However, when Green made his first stop, four laps later, he was able to exit still easily ahead of the Swede, and the the two held position through the second round of stops as well.
In the final stint, the gap dropped to below half a second at times, and the two crossed the finish line for the final time just 0.591 seconds apart.
"Of course, I am not overjoyed with my second place," said Ekstrom. "I had the feeling that I was fastest. The car was so good, I could have raced for another hour. The tyres remained in a very good condition."
Still, the result was a career-best at Norisring for Ekstrom, the 2004 and 2007 series champion: the best that he has been able to do in 10 tries on the 2.3-km street circuit has been a series of third places.
"My opponent drove without making any mistakes and was clever enough to drive victory home," Ekstrom conceded. "This track suits Jamie, we have already seen that in previous years."
Spengler stayed in tough with the leaders, but not close enough to be able to apply pressure to Ekstrom, finishing 1.9 seconds behind Green and 1.3 seconds off Ekstrom's pace.
Oliver Jarvis, in a 2008-spec Audi, drove a solid race, converting his fifth-place grid position to a fourth-place finish, though he was just about 10 seconds off the pace of the leaders at the finish.
Timo Scheider, the 2008 and 2009 DTM champion, climbed up from his disastrous 10th place on the grid to take a decent points haul with a fifth place in the race for Audi.
The German veteran had moved up to seventh on the first lap, and was promoted to sixth with Schumacher's penalty. After harassing Gary Paffett (Mercedes) for much of the second stint, he was able to move ahead during the second round of mandatory pit stops.
Paffett took sixth, then, ahead of fellow Briton and Mercedes driver Paul di Resta, who claimed the final championship point.
With the series approaching the midway point of the season, Spengler continues to lead the points standings, now by a full 10 points over Green. Ekstrom's performance in today's race moves him up to third place, one point behind Green and 11 behind Spengler.
Scheider's hopes of a championship triple are looking increasingly remote, as the German veteran has just 12 points from the season's first four races, 20 behind Spengler's total of 32.
The DTM's V8 engines will rumble back on August 6th at the Nuburgring, after an extended mid-summer break.