Bruno Spengler has been a model of consistency in the 2010 DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) campaign, and he continued that streak with a perfect drive today to take victory at the Nurburgring and lead a 1-2-3 Mercedes sweep of the ...
Bruno Spengler has been a model of consistency in the 2010 DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) campaign, and he continued that streak with a perfect drive today to take victory at the Nurburgring and lead a 1-2-3 Mercedes sweep of the podium.
"First to third place, that is a great feeling," the Canadian said of the podium sweep. "This is our 100th victory since we have been racing against Audi."
Spengler had not been able to match the speed of Audi driver Mattias Ekstrom in yesterday's final qualifying shootout, so he started second alongside the Swede. However, he easily sprinted past Ekstrom to take the lead into the first corner, while Ekstrom locked his brakes and ran wide, dropping well back in the field.
"The start was absolutely awesome," Spengler recalled. "I really concentrated on the starting lights. Then I just pushed and tried to keep the other guys behind me."
'The other guys' were Mercedes stablemates Paul di Resta and Jamie Green, who started fourth and third, respectively. The first Audi was that of defending champion Timo Scheider, who moved up from eighth to fourth at the start.
Mercedes drivers Gary Paffett and Ralf Schumacher also made it past the hapless Ekstrom as the polesitter crashed down to seventh place.
Unusual for a DTM race, there was relatively little action after the first lap, apart from some minor bumping at the back of the field.
Scheider was able to mount an attack on Green for third place, and would eventually be able to overtake the Briton -- but not before Gary Paffett slipped past both of them to take third.
Heading the race, Spengler and di Resta were able to control the race easily. At the chequered flag, Spengler's lead was 2.843 seconds, and di Resta held a comfortable margin of 5.743 seconds to the third-placed Paffett.
Scheider had a lonely finish, seven seconds behind Paffett and six ahead of Green, who held off a charging Ralf Schumacher for fifth place and four points.
"The race wasn't bad: starting eighth and finishing fourth," Scheider grimaced. "That is okay and quite a decent result, but all in all, this certainly wasn't satisfying."
Ekstrom finished in the same seventh place where he found himself after the first corner, unable to make up any ground on the leaders. He finished just ahead of the Mercedes of Maro Engel, who fought off Audi's local hero Mike Rockenfeller to take the final championship point.
"As much fun as my car was for me yesterday, as boring it was for me today," the two-time DTM champion said. "We missed the mark on the set-up and were fighting with a dull weapon."
Miguel Molina, the Audi rookie who impressed in qualifying with a seventh position on the grid, was penalized twice during the race, once for failing to slow down for a yellow flag and once for cutting the chicane. He eventually finished fourteenth.
As the series approaches its midway point -- the next race at Zandvoort will be the sixth of eleven races -- Spengler has compiled a stunning record given the parity and weight penalties of DTM: two wins, two seconds and a third place from five races.
That adds up to 42 points and a 16-point lead over Green; Paffett and di Resta are another point behind at 25, followed by the first Audi driver, Ekstrom, at 23.
The DTM circus now heads out in a fortnight to the sand dunes of Zandvoort, where Spengler has yet to stand on the podium in five visits -- will the Canadian be able to extend his podium streak further?