Bruno Spengler has backed up his fourth pole position of the 2011 DTM season by winning today’s rain-shortened race at the Norisring street circuit.
The Canadian’s second win of the season sees him resume the lead of the Drivers’ Championship from Martin Tomczyk, after he managed to just hold out team-mate Jamie Green for the win, denying the Briton the chance of winning the race for the fourth time in succession.
Spengler led the race for much of the race with the exception of when he made his two compulsory pit stops, but it was action aplenty behind him.
Gary Paffett’s wretched season continued when he planted his Mercedes into the wall on Lap 16 while running in second place, leaving Spengler with a five-second gap to Green.
But Green had other ideas and quickly set about closing the gap down to his team-mate in a handful of laps, before trying to charm his team to instruct Spengler to move aside for “the faster car”, as he put it none-too-subtly on the radio.
But the HWA team was having none of it, and if Green was to win once again, he’d need to earn it and pass his team-mate for the lead while keeping a hard-charging Mattias Ekström at bay in third.
Much of the field left their first round of pit stops until well after lap 30, and Ekström took his chance to have a lunge at Green when Spengler surrendered his lead by pitting for fresh tyres.
No sooner had the Swede passes Green at the chicane that the positions swapped at the final corner when the Audi driver ran wide and handed back the place.
Spengler was able to eke out a small lead after the pit stops were completed, but the rain began to intensify soon afterwards, and the apparent standing water saw the Safety Car make an appearance in the hope that conditions would ease.
They did anything but that, and the red flags were thrown on the 65th of 84 scheduled laps.
Ekström failed to finish on the podium and had dropped to seventh when the race was suspended, while Martin Tomczyk took advantage of completing both pit stops in the space of three laps to vault into third place, a huge improvement on his tenth-placed starting position. The German managed to leapfrog Ekström, Ralf Schumacher, Edoardo Mortara and Timo Scheider with this clever piece of pit work.
David Coulthard picked up his first championship point of the season by finishing eighth in his older-spec Mercedes, pinching the final points’ place by passing his team-mate Maro Engel in the latter stages of the race.
2011 DTM Race of Norisring Final Classification (64 laps):
|Driver||Entrant / Car||Result|
|1.||Bruno Spengler||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||1:04:43.617|
|2.||Jamie Green||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||+ 0.499|
|3.||Martin Tomczyk||Phoenix Audi A4 DTM 2008||+ 1.493|
|4.||Timo Scheider||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||+ 2.760|
|5.||Edoardo Mortara||Rosberg Audi A4 DTM 2008||+ 4.725|
|6.||Ralf Schumacher||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||+ 6.098|
|7.||Mattias Ekström||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||+ 7.022|
|8.||David Coulthard||Mücke Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 9.672|
|9.||Maro Engel||Mücke Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 11.320|
|10.||Renger can der Zande||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 12.773|
|11.||Christian Vietoris||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 14.112|
|12.||Miguel Molina||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2008||+ 15.459|
|13.||Susie Stoddart||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 17.515|
|14.||Mike Rockenfeller||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||+ 21.030|
|15.||Oliver Jarvis||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||+ 21.556|
|16.||Filipe Albuquerque||Rosberg Audi A4 DTM 2008||+ 22.394|
|17.||Rahel Frey||Phoenix Audi A4 DTM 2008||1 lap behind|
|NF.||Gary Paffett||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||15 laps|
[Original image via DTM official site]