Moscow DTM: Wehrlein passes Wittmann to win, Ekstrom crashes

Four weeks after losing the championship lead in the highly controversial Spielberg round, Pascal Wehrlein returned to the top spot in the DTM standings after winning the first race in Russia.

Wehrlein held second after the start and passed poleman Marco Wittmann in the late stages, recording his third win in the DTM.

The first 15 minutes of the race were spent almost entirely under the safety car, which came out after first-lap contact between Miguel Molina and Christian Vietoris.

Audi's Molina was sent into a spin in a mid-pack tussle through Turn 1 and was collected by Vietoris, who then bounced into the barriers, his Mercedes briefly catching fire.

Having kept the lead off the line, Wittmann then headed the restart after a lengthy clean-up yet Wehrlein did not let the BMW driver pull away.

As Wittmann started to come under pressure, the battle was then interrupted for another crash - and this one involved championship frontrunner Mattias Ekstrom.

The Swede tried a late lunge on Timo Glock through the left-hander Turn 7 for fourth place and the duo made contact at high speed, both strolling into the barriers through the gravel, their respective races having come to a premature end.

After a further three laps under safety car, the race was green once again, set for a 15-minute shootout for victory.

Wehrlein soon closed right in on Wittmann and went for his first major overtaking attempt with seven minutes to go, using DRS to go round the outside in the final corner - but the reigning champion held on.

The Mercedes driver desperately tried to find a way past for a couple more laps, before surprising Wittmann with a move down the inside of the final turn, which finally gave him the lead with four minutes on the clock.

Wehrlein then disappeared into the distance, while Wittmann held Jamie Green off for second place.

Green, meanwhile, ended up off the podium altogether, as Bruno Spengler eased past him in the last corner of the race.

Daniel Juncadella recorded his best finish of the season in fifth, ahead of Edoardo Mortara and Gary Paffett, the latter fighting his way up from 20th on the grid.

BMW driver Tom Blomqvist was eighth, while the Audi duo of Nico Muller and Mike Rockenfeller rounded out the points.

DTM debutant Antonio Giovinazzi completed the finishers in 19th.

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About this article
Series DTM
Event Moscow
Sub-event Saturday race
Track Moscow Raceway
Drivers Bruno Spengler , Marco Wittmann , Pascal Wehrlein
Teams HWA AG
Article type Race report