Robert Wickens scored his first DTM win of the season after his Mercedes teammate Christian Vietoris’s hopes of victory were dashed by a tardy pitstop at the legendary Norisring street circuit.
From pole position, BMW’s Bruno Spengler led into Turn 1 ahead of Wickens, Vietoris, Lucas Auer and the leading Audi of Mattias Ekstrom. Yesterday’s winner Pascal Wehrlein attacked Ekstrom hard for fifth, ahead of Gary Paffett and Paul di Resta, as points leader Jamie Green made a poor start.
Timo Glock lost the bonnet of his BMW after Maxi Gotz ran into the back of his car at Turn 1 and pushed him into another BMW. The debris from this caused an early safety car.
Other early casualties were Mike Rockenfeller and Augusto Farfus. Frontrunner Auer’s race was compromised due to being lined up incorrectly at the start, and he was given a 5s time penalty.
At the restart on lap eight, Wickens attacked Spengler, but the Canadian clung tenaciously to his lead.
But he was powerless to resist when Wickens used his DRS to pass into Turn 1 on lap 14. Getting offline in an attempt to repass, Spengler tumbled backwards, with Vietoris demoting him with a bold move at the Schoeller Esses, which served to wrong-foot Spengler even more, and he lost further places to Auer and Ekstrom.
Ekstrom lunged past Auer for third at the final corner on lap 17, but was now well adrift of the lead battle between Wickens and Vietoris.
Wickens had a scare in traffic, getting perilously close to Marco Wittmann as he lapped the reigning champion’s BMW.
Wehrlein was the first of the leaders to take their mandatory pitstop, with Ekstrom and Spengler pitting and rejoining together soon after.
Wickens pitted from the lead on lap 34, with a 2.5s stop that got him out well clear of Ekstrom. Vietoris stopped a lap later, but a slow left-rear change cost him two seconds, putting him briefly in Ekstrom’s range.
Wickens was gifted a 2.5s lead, which he maintained until the end. Ekstrom dropped away in third, but had Spengler snapping at his heels in the late stages.
Spengler made it past him with a robust move at Turn 1, during which he clanged into the side of the Swede's retro-liveried Audi to scoop a podium finish.
Di Resta jumped ahead of Wehrlein during the pitstop cycle to run fifth, and was ordered to let him past – but the positions were reversed again in the final moments, and then changed back again to ensure Wehrlein finished fifth to maximise his points score.
Paffett was seventh, ahead of Dani Juncadella. Auer dropped back to 11th after taking his 5s stop/go penalty during his pit visit. He would finish ninth.
Points leader Green suffered his worst race of the season, and only cracked the top ten after 20 laps. He pitted early, but a slow stop cost him the position he’d gained on Dani Juncadella on track.
He was punted by Maxime Martin at Turn 1 in the closing stages which cost him his top-10 spot, giving him a puncture and demoting him to last.
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