Timo Scheider returned to the winner’s circle in the DTM championship, taking Audi’s second win of the 2010 season in an action-packed race at Italy’s Autodromo Adria.
The race was marred – and shortened by 21 laps – after an horrific accident for Alexandre Prémat on the second lap. The Frenchman speared into the wall on the opposite side of the pit straight after making contact with Maro Engel, digging into the grass and violently rolling several times before coming to a stop on its side. Incredibly, the former A1GP winner walked away from the accident only seconds later, giving further rise to the incredible safety standards in this category. The red flags were brought out while the mess was cleared away.
Race-winner Scheider – who had endured a disastrous qualifying session yesterday – started from 15th on the grid and made up plenty of places on the opening lap to put himself in a good position. The German then elected to stay out longer than his rivals in his first stint, making his first of two compulsory pit stops with just seven laps remaining, and his second pit stop only two laps later.
This clever strategic call saw him emerge comfortably ahead of Mercedes’ Gary Paffett and Bruno Spengler, who completed the rostrum after enjoying a race-long battle. Paffett should have finished further in front of Spengler after leading the Canadian in the opening stint, but he spun at Turn 2 just two laps before his first pit stop. This then allowed Spengler to get ahead, but he struggled for pace in the middle of the race, which allowed Paffett back past when they made their second round of pit stops.
The podium finish allowed Spengler to resume the championship lead by just three points from Paul di Resta and nine from championship outsider Paffett.
Di Resta had his own dramas in the race after being spun around by Mike Rockenfeller at the final corner of the opening lap. The Scot recovered to seventh after a hard-charging race, but he dropped back again after being hit by Miguel Molina with just six laps to go. The Force India test driver then lost eighth place and the final championship point to Mattias Ekström on the second last lap.
Ekström had his own problems during the race and was a contender for a podium position if his pace in the opening phase of the race was anything to go by. Catching the battling pair of Spengler and Paffett, he was then held up by a slow pit stop that dropped him out of the reckoning for a better result.
This then left Markus Winkelhock to finish fourth, followed by Oliver Jarvis and Martin Tomczyk.
David Coulthard equalled his best championship finish with a run to tenth place in the older-spec Mercedes-Benz.
The series now heads to Shanghai, where the cars will contest the finale on a 2.85km street circuit in the Pudong region that was last visited by the series in 2004 as a non-championship round.
DTM Adria Final Classification (38 laps):