Timo Scheider led and fought a defensive battle throughout the 80-lap DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) race at Norisring, but 78 laps were not enough, as Jamie Green slipped by on the penultimate lap to take the win.
"Starting seventh on the grid I hadn't expected to end up on the top spot of the podium; this is absolutely fantastic," said Green. "I wasn't sure as to what strategy I should take. I was in a new car for four years, and now, with a year-old car, it all went so well."
For Green, who has been driving in the DTM since 2005, it was the second win in a row at the only street circuit on the DTM calendar, having beaten teammate Bruno Spengler to victory by the slim margin of 0.467 seconds last year.
Green's victory is even more impressive when one considers that Green's 2008-spec car was the only one in the top eight in the race. This was only the second time in modern DTM history that a year-old car has won a race.
In a replay of last year, Spengler spent almost the entire race in second place, shadowing the leader -- this time Scheider, not Green -- as if his Mercedes front bumper had been connected to Scheider's Audi's rear one.
The Canadian first made his move on lap 76 of 80, slipping past at the Dutzendteich hairpin, but Scheider was not ready concede yet, and after the start-finish straight, Scheider retook the lead as Spengler overshot the corner at the Grundig hairpin, and Green moved past Spengler as well.
"It's a shame that I wasn't able to win," Spengler rued the finish. "After I had overtaken Scheider, I made a mistake under braking at the hairpin and that was it."
Green then tried a move on Scheider at the Grundig again, and got next to the German, but Scheider had the line into the next corner and was able to held the lead through the right-hand jink following the hairpin.
However, at the following Scholler-S right-left chicane, Scheider had nothing left to respond with, and, in fact, could not prevent other cars from taking advantage of the same open door, as Spengler and Audi's Mattias Ekstrom also streamed by.
Green took the chequered flag by a margin of 1.357 over Spengler, and 1.678 over Ekstrom, who had spent most of the race in fourth place.
The bitterly disappointed Scheider finished fourth, a second behind Ekstrom and just three tenths in front of Gary Paffett in the third Mercedes. The defending DTM champion had to take solace in having been able to retain his points lead, even if it is by the slimmest of margins.
"Of course I'd have wished surviving these last three laps at the front of the field," said the sombre Scheider after the race. "In the final third of the race, though, I had major problems with the handling at the rear. I'm glad the race is over and that I'm still at the top of the standings."
Ralf Schumacher scored a career-best DTM finish of sixth, with Paul di Resta in seventh -- all less than four seconds from the winner, and that without any help from safety cars.
In spite of Scheider's efforts, Mercedes was once again the dominant force at Norisring, taking not just a 1-2 victory but also five of the top seven positions.
When the DTM circus returns to action in three weeks time at the Dutch seaside resort of Zandvoort, Scheider will still hold the lead with 17 points, followed by Spengler at 16, and then the trio of Ekstrom, Green and Paffett all tied at 13 points.