Martin Tomczyk has completed his rout of the DTM round at the Red Bull Ring, taking a lights-to-flag victory as the series made its return to Austria. It was the German’s first win in nearly two years and the first win for the Phoenix team in eleven years. The result also saw Tomczyk close to within three points of championship leader Bruno Spengler in the title race.
After making a great start from pole position, Tomczyk had a clean race out in front, only surrendering his lead when he pitted and as other drivers gambled on different pit strategies with varying degrees of success.
Behind Tomczyk, Ralf Schumacher finished a career-best second to consolidate the podium-getting form he showed in the opening round at Hockenheim. The former F1 race-winner overtook Oliver Jarvis during the first sequence of pit stops when Jarvis was delayed in his first visit to pit lane.
Schumacher then set about trying to close down the gap to Tomczyk, steadily clawing back a four-second deficit to finish just 0.4 seconds behind at the finish of the 38-lap race. Jarvis’ third-placed finish was his first podium result of the season.
One driver to run an alternative strategy to great effect was series leader Bruno Spengler, who had suffered a difficult qualifying session yesterday that saw him buried in 12th on the grid.
The Canadian made a good start to gain four places by the end of the first lap, and then ran 22 laps on his first set of tyres, eventually peeling into the pits after some drivers had already made their two compulsory pit stops.
Running in cleaner air gave the Mercedes-Benz driver a great opportunity to move up the order, and after his second pit stop, he emerged in fourth behind Jarvis and spent the remaining few laps trying to find a way past the Briton.
Mike Rockenfeller and Jamie Green completed the top-six finishers, with the latter managing to leapfrog Timo Scheider during the first pit stop sequence.
Gary Paffett continued his difficult run in the 2011 season to-date, with the early championship favourite looking a long shot to challenge for the title after collecting a single point for eighth place. Despite qualifying further up the order, his race pace was simply not quick enough and he slipped to the fringes of the points’ places. Having finally got his car sorted in the final stint, it was a case of ‘too little, too late’ for the Englishman, who now sits ninth in the Championship Standings.
Other contenders for points were Edoardo Mortara and Maro Engel, but they conspired to collide at the fraught Turn 1, with Mortara spinning to the rear of the field. Engel was slapped with a drive-through penalty for his troubles.
But the man everyone felt sorry for was Mattias Ekström, who had a nightmare weekend on the home soil of his chief sponsor, Red Bull. The Swede qualified on the back row after a crash on Saturday, and struggled to make any headway from the rear of the field. After making his first pit stop from a lowly 16th, his right-front wheel wasn’t properly attached and parted company as he peeled onto the pit exit.
2011 DTM Race of Zandvoort Final Standings (41 laps):
|Driver||Entrant / Car||Result|
|1.||Martin Tomczyk||Phoenix Audi A4 DTM 2008||55:55.117|
|2.||Ralf Schumacher||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||+ 0.462|
|3.||Oliver Jarvis||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||+ 2.749|
|4.||Bruno Spengler||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||+ 2.999|
|5.||Mike Rockenfeller||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||+ 10.364|
|6.||Jamie Green||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||+ 10.984|
|7.||Timo Scheider||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||+ 12.179|
|8.||Gary Paffett||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||+ 12.660|
|9.||David Coulthard||Mücke Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 14.246|
|10.||Renger can der Zande||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 15.699|
|11.||Miguel Molina||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2008||+ 16.266|
|12.||Filipe Albuquerque||Rosberg Audi A4 DTM 2008||+ 19.608|
|13.||Susie Stoddart||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 26.311|
|14.||Maro Engel||Mücke Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 26.805|
|15.||Christian Vietoris||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||+ 28.071|
|16.||Edoardo Mortara||Rosberg Audi A4 DTM 2008||+ 35.893|
|17.||Rahel Frey||Phoenix Audi A4 DTM 2008||+ 43.420|
|DNF.||Mattias Ekström||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||12 laps|
[Original image via DTM official site]