Paul di Resta has taken his maiden DTM championship title in a shortened season-ending race on the Shanghai street circuit, finishing second behind race-winner Gary Paffett, with the pair leapfrogging the championship leader Bruno Spengler on the back of their results.
The race was red-flagged after 50 laps had been run due to a collision between Mike Rockenfeller and Susie Stoddart, where the German turned the British driver around and the pair blocking the circuit. Race organisers took the decision to end the race then and there, as over 75% of the race distance had been run.
The race itself was not particularly eventful leading up to the crash. Paffett took the lead from di Resta at the first round of pit stops, when di Resta was momentarily held up due to a slow change of his right-rear tyre.
This left di Resta vulnerable to the attention of the Audi pair of Timo Scheider and Martin Tomczyk in the second phase of the race, but it became academic when the race was brought to a halt, with the Scot’s second placed finish enough to ensure the title crown was his.
Qualifying for the race had brought more action than the race itself, with a mixed up grid brought about due to several large accidents in qualifying proper, one of which for debutant Darryl O’Young was enough to ensure that the Phoenix Audi was unable to make the start after he clobbered the wall at the entry to pit lane. One driver to be affected by this was the championship leader Spengler, who started well down the order and needed a miracle to stay in the championship hunt.
After his crash in qualifying, Spengler started at the rear of the field, gambling on possible safety car interruptions playing into his hands by taking both of his mandatory pit stops very early in the race, and hoping that it would give him track position in the event that any full-course yellow flags were thrown. As it was, this didn’t eventuate, and he finished down in thirteenth.
Finishing behind the leading quartet of di Resta, Paffett, Scheider and Tomczyk was Miguel Molina, who climbed to fifth by the end of the race, courtesy of leaving his pit stops until very late in the race.
Jamie Green finished in sixth place, but he had run in third for much of the race until he was overtaken by Tomczyk after his first pit stop, and their scrap thereafter slowed them up enough for Scheider to leapfrog both of them when he pitted.
Markus Winkelhock finished in seventh place, ahead of David Coulthard, who ended his rookie DTM season on a high with his first championship points finish.
‘DC’ may perhaps feel aggrieved not to have finished higher – possibly as high as sixth – after he was held up lapping Spengler in the middle of the race, and then compounded the issue when he stalled at his second pit stop.
The stop saw him rejoin in tenth, which became ninth when Oliver Jarvis damaged his car over some debris at Turn 3, and then he overtook Mattias Ekström for eighth just three laps before the race was brought to a halt.
DTM Shanghai Final Classification (49 laps):
[Original image via DTM official website]