Norisring DTM: Wittmann wins, Glock and Paffett clash again
BMW's Marco Wittmann won the DTM's second race at Norisring, as the battle between title rivals Timo Glock and Gary Paffett burst back into life.
Wittmann was able to build an initial 2.5-second lead in the final quarter of the race that allowed him to see out the task at hand, the two-time champion having used the early stages to build a platform for victory.
Starting seventh on the grid, the BMW driver quickly made his way onto the rear of the fifth-placed Mercedes of Paul di Resta but was initially unable to find his way past.
A lap later di Resta opted to go for an early stop from fourth, releasing Wittmann into the position and clear air.
Wittmann himself stopped on the 12th lap of 68 and returned in the midfield pack, quickly using Bruno Spengler to his advantage as Wittmann's BMW team-mate held up a convoy of runners in eighth.
Edoardo Mortara had stopped on the opening lap in his Mercedes from fifth place and had rejoined the track first of the five stoppers, before quickly working his way up through those who took their pitstops on the following laps to run 10th.
Wittmann squeezed past Spengler to go seventh and put several positions between himself and Mortara.
He then made the crucial pass for the net lead on Dani Juncadella, putting Wittmann fifth behind those yet to stop.
Once the pitstops had cycled out, Wittmann stormed to a comfortable victory over Mortara, Juncadella and Spengler.
Further down the field, the title race resumed between Paffett and Glock, evoking memories of their battle for the race win at Hockenheim.
Paffett had been second on the grid before his pitstop on lap 11 proved slow, taking 8.5s, and dropped him down the order into the clutches of Glock for 14th and 15th.
Just as it was at Hockenheim, Paffett's Mercedes had the speed advantage on the straights with Glock's BMW holding the edge on the tight corners of the Norisring.
They would battle for almost 20 laps, with the first significant bout coming when Paffett locked up into the hairpin and rear-ended Glock, requiring the BMW driver to make a sharp save.
They continued to bang doors through that corner, with one particular stern block from Glock causing Paffett to shout "he has to give the place back" over the radio, before later calling Glock's defensive driving "ridiculous."
For all Paffett continually drew alongside Glock, he was unable to find the decisive pass and the battle ended when Paffett's strong run into the Scholler S preempted a lurid slide that cost him two places.
That proved decisive as Glock remained in 10th - the first points scoring position - over Paffett, narrowing the Mercedes' driver lead in the standings to just five points.
Glock had been unable to overtake Pascal Wehrlein for ninth, with the former Formula 1 driver running a lengthy opening stint of 40 laps.
He ended up behind the two Audis of Nico Muller - who made up several places in a blistering start to the race - and Robin Frijns, who also ran a long first stint for eighth.
Neither had an answer to the leading pace of Mercedes and BMW, with the pair finishing behind Mercedes duo Lucas Auer and Di Resta in fifth and sixth respectively.
Audi's woeful 2018 season continued when defending champion Rene Rast's pitstop took over 15s following a left-rear jack problem that dropped him to 14th ahead of Jamie Green and Mike Rockenfeller.
Loic Duval was the final Audi in 18th, behind Augusto Farfus's 17th-placed BMW.
|1||11||Marco Wittmann||BMW M4 DTM||68||56'13.000|
|2||48||Edoardo Mortara||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||68||56'13.450||0.450|
|3||23||Daniel Juncadella||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||68||56'13.860||0.860|
|4||7||Bruno Spengler||BMW M4 DTM||68||56'18.497||5.497|
|5||22||Lucas Auer||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||68||56'19.062||6.062|
|6||3||Paul di Resta||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||68||56'24.707||11.707|
|7||51||Nico Müller||Audi RS5 DTM||68||56'25.724||12.724|
|8||4||Robin Frijns||Audi RS5 DTM||68||56'26.748||13.748|
|9||94||Pascal Wehrlein||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||68||56'30.917||17.917|
|10||16||Timo Glock||BMW M4 DTM||68||56'42.239||29.239|
|11||25||Philipp Eng||BMW M4 DTM||68||56'42.559||29.559|
|12||47||Joel Eriksson||BMW M4 DTM||68||56'44.139||31.139|
|13||2||Gary Paffett||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||68||56'45.071||32.071|
|14||33||René Rast||Audi RS5 DTM||68||56'46.201||33.201|
|15||53||Jamie Green||Audi RS5 DTM||68||56'48.547||35.547|
|16||99||Mike Rockenfeller||Audi RS5 DTM||68||56'50.893||37.893|
|17||15||Augusto Farfus||BMW M4 DTM||68||57'00.521||47.521|
|18||28||Loic Duval||Audi RS5 DTM||67||56'33.919||1 lap|
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