Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller has taken his maiden DTM win with a brilliant drive in the series’ second round at Zandvoort.
The German took advantage of a slow getaway from front-row starter Jamie Green to jump into second by the time the field swept to the Tarzan corner, and then he used the first round of pit stops to pass race leader Bruno Spengler.
With overtaking being particularly difficult at the narrow Dutch circuit, making up places would be a case of using an alternative strategy by pitting out of sequence. And it wasn’t until there were 11 laps to run that Rockenfeller finally assumed the lead, holding a 2.5-second gap to Spengler and Green.
Green shadowed Spengler’s every move in the middle stint of the race, but he didn’t appear as happy with his final set of tyres and his pace fell away. The Briton was overtaken by Martin Tomczyk, who staged a late charge in his older-spec Audi A4 and closed right up to Spengler to finish just 0.4 seconds behind the Canadian.
Timo Scheider finished in fifth place, just a few seconds ahead of Edoardo Mortara, who took a career-best sixth place with a hugely impressive drive in his older-spec A4.
Driving an equally outstanding race was Maro Engel, who took his Mercedes-Benz into seventh place and defended gamely against Mattias Ekström, who climbed from 16th place to 8th at the chequered flag by running a much longer stint than many of his rivals.
Gary Paffett will be disappointed to finish in ninth and out of the points, while Oliver Jarvis managed to pinch tenth place from Ralf Schumacher in the final sequence of pit stops.
David Coulthard was enjoying a fun battle with his fellow Scot Susie Stoddart during the race, but he was handed a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane and finished a distant 16th.
Filipe Albuquerque was the sole retiree from the race with overheating problems, caused by him running into the gravel at the first corner on the opening lap.
The circus will now enjoy a three-week break before it becomes the first series to christen the new Red Bull Ring – formerly the A1-Ring – in Austria on the first weekend of June. Spengler leads the Drivers’ Championship by eight points from Rockenfeller and Tomczyk.
2011 DTM Race of Zandvoort Final Standings (41 laps):
|Driver||Entrant / Car||Result|
|1.||Mike Rockenfeller||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||1:05:28.514|
|2.||Bruno Spengler||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||+ 1.423|
|3.||Martin Tomczyk||Phoenix Audi A4 DTM 2008||+ 1.865|
|4.||Jamie Green||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||+ 6.957|
|5.||Timo Scheider||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||+ 11.478|
|6.||Edoardo Mortara||Rosberg Audi A4 DTM 2008||+ 14.160|
|7.||Maro Engel||Mücke Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 15.064|
|8.||Mattias Ekström||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||+ 15.439|
|9.||Gary Paffett||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||+ 19.482|
|10.||Oliver Jarvis||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||+ 21.859|
|11.||Ralf Schumacher||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||+ 28.435|
|12.||Susie Stoddart||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 28.855|
|13.||Renger can der Zande||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 35.870|
|14.||Miguel Molina||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2008||+ 37.268|
|15.||Christian Vietoris||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 38.901|
|16.||David Coulthard||Mücke Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 49.548|
|17.||Rahel Frey||Phoenix Audi A4 DTM 2008||1 lap behind|
|NF.||Filipe Albuquerque||Rosberg Audi A4 DTM 2008||13 laps|
[Original image via DTM official site]
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