Martin Tomczyk has taken his third win of the 2011 DTM season with a masterful drive in soaking conditions at Brands Hatch, finishing ahead of fellow Audi runners Mattias Ekström and Edoardo Mortara.
The result sees the German claim a two-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings, with just three races left to run in the season.
Tomczyk fell to fifth at the start of the race, but the Team Phoenix driver quickly recovered, gaining two places when Mortara and Mercedes’ Gary Paffet tangled at Graham Hill Bend on Lap 2, and then passing Ekström and Mike Rockenfeller in separate moves to take the lead on the tenth lap.
He was unchallenged for the rest of the 88-lap race, winning by two seconds, and making many question Audi’s wisdom in demoting him to one of the older-spec machines during the off-season.
Ekström had a terrific start to move into second place, having already gained a place when polesitter Rockenfeller made a small mistake and ran wide exiting Graham Hill Bend, allowing him the chance of trying to close down Tomczyk.
Ultimately the Swede’s pursuit would be in vain, although he came closest courtesy of his second pit stop, a rapid effort that allowed him to trim the gap to his fellow Audi runner to just over one second. But despite his best efforts, Tomczyk was always able to counterpunch with slightly better lap times in what was a consummate performance.
Behind the leading duo, Rockenfeller had a rather more fraught race, losing third place to Mortara and later being tipped into a spin by Ralf Schumacher, which saw him drop to sixth, leaving him having to fend off the attacks of championship leader Bruno Spengler, who was slowly working his way up the order after being demoted two spots on the grid after qualifying sixth.
Mortara would go on to claim his maiden DTM podium in what was his best drive of the season, finishing ahead of Gary Paffett, who equalled his Lausitzring result in a tough season to claim fourth, with Schumacher claiming his fifth points’ finish with fifth place.
Spengler’s seventh place wasn’t enough to keep him in the championship lead, and he now lies a point behind Tomczyk as the series makes its way to the next round at Oschersleben in two weeks time.
The final point went to Jamie Green, who made his performance on home soil tough going with a poor start and two subsequent off-track excursions – one being a spin at Clark Curve – to fall to 12th mid-race. He staged a solid recovery, snatching eighth place from compatriot Oliver Jarvis on the penultimate lap.
Despite the greasy conditions, Miguel Molina was the sole retirement in a race of low attrition that had seventeen runners circulating at the end of the race.
Christian Vietories earned the wrath of the stewards for two separate overtaking moves during yellow flag conditions, one of which earned him a drive-through penalty, and the next of which saw him slapped with a five-place grid penalty for the next round.
2011 DTM Race of Brands Hatch Final Classification (88 laps):
|Driver||Entrant / Car||Result|
|1.||Martin Tomczyk||Phoenix Audi A4 DTM 2008||1:15:37.956|
|2.||Mattias Ekström||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||+ 2.023|
|3.||Edoardo Mortara||Rosberg Audi A4 DTM 2008||+ 11.723|
|4.||Gary Paffett||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||+ 14.136|
|5.||Ralf Schumacher||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||+ 20.395|
|6.||Mike Rockenfeller||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||+ 36.087|
|7.||Bruno Spengler||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||+ 38.586|
|8.||Jamie Green||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||+ 42.698|
|9.||Oliver Jarvis||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||+ 46.941|
|10.||Maro Engel||Mücke Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 48.473|
|11.||Filipe Albuquerque||Rosberg Audi A4 DTM 2008||1 lap behind|
|12.||David Coulthard||Mücke Mercedes C-Class 2008||1 lap behind|
|13.||Christian Vietoris||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||1 lap behind|
|14.||Susie Stoddart||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||1 lap behind|
|15.||Renger van der Zande||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||1 lap behind|
|16.||Timo Scheider||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||3 laps behind|
|17.||Rahel Frey||Phoenix Audi A4 DTM 2008||20 laps behind|
|DNF.||Miguel Molina||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2008||8 laps|
[Original image via DTM official site]