Gary Paffett has won the opening DTM race at Hockenheim

Gary Paffett has opened his 2012 DTM championship season in style, leading an HWA Mercedes 1-2 – and an all-British one at that – to victory in the opening race in front of a packed Hockenheim crowd.

The McLaren reserve driver powered through from sixth on the grid to be third in the opening laps, and then vaulted into the lead after his first pit stop to claim an assured win ahead of team-mate and compatriot Jamie Green.

Ekstrom would convert pole into the lead, but his joy would be short-lived...

Pole-sitter Mattias Ekström converted his front-row start into an early lead, only to make a mistake at Turn 1 shortly after to hand the lead to Green at the following corner. The opportunistic Paffett made his way by the Swede just three corners later.

Green and Paffett ran line astern until the first round of pit stops, and when Paffett emerged from his stop, their pair ran side-by-side for several corners before he took an effective lead from Green.

After losing his lead, Ekström was unable to keep pace with the leading pair and steadily fell away, although did enough to keep clear of any threat to his third place.

The Swede finished ahead of Christian Vietoris, who was one of the biggest movers in the race, finishing fourth to ensure four HWA Mercedes’ would finish in the top four places. The young German climbed up through the order from the lower reaches of the grid with an impressive drive, passing Mike Rockenfeller with five laps to go.

With Rockenfeller finishing fifth, three-time World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx finished sixth and the only BMW in the points on the carmaker’s return to the DTM series. The Guernseyman charged hard in the closing stages, finishing right under Rockenfeller’s rear wing at the end of the race.

Despite a drive-through penalty Ralf Schumacher still managed to finish seventh

Seventh place went to Ralf Schumacher, who found himself in the wars on Sunday. The former F1 driver was caught up in an incident at the hairpin with Dirk Werner and Bruno Spengler early in the race, which led to the latter’s retirement.

Stewards deemed Schumacher at fault in the accident and forced him to serve a drive-through penalty, but he charged hard all day to claim seventh spot, just over three seconds ahead of fellow ex-F1 veteran David Coulthard.

The last points positions were claimed by the Audi pairing of Miguel Molina and Filipe Albuquerque.


2012 DTM Race of Hockenheim – Final Standings (40 laps):

1. Gary Paffett GBR HWA Team Mercedes Mercedes 40 1:04:37.615
2. Jamie Green GBR HWA Team Mercedes Mercedes 40 + 4.709
3. Mattias Ekström SWE Abt Sportsline Audi Audi 40 + 19.434
4. Christian Vietoris DEU HWA Team Mercedes Mercedes 40 + 25.774
5. Mike Rockenfeller DEU Phoenix Racing Audi Audi 40 + 27.834
6. Andy Priaulx GBR Team RBM BMW BMW 40 + 28.435
7. Ralf Schumacher DEU HWA Team Mercedes Mercedes 40 + 39.948
8. David Coulthard GBR Mücke Motorsport Mercedes Mercedes 40 + 43.306
9. Miguel Molina ESP Phoenix Racing Audi Audi 40 + 46.079
10. Filipe Albuquerque POR Team Rosberg Audi Audi 40 + 46.614
11. Edoardo Mortara ITA Team Rosberg Audi Audi 40 + 47.253
12. Susie Wolff GBR Persson Motorsport Mercedes Mercedes 40 + 51.971
13. Joey Hand USA Team RMG BMW BMW 40 + 1:08.628
14. Robert Wickens CAN Mücke Motorsport Mercedes Mercedes 40 + 1:09.027
15. Augusto Farfus Jr BRA Team RBM BMW BMW 40 + 1:09.556
16. Rahel Frey SUI Audi Sport Team Abt Audi 40 + 1:16.123
17. Dirk Werner DEU Team Schnitzer BMW BMW 39 1 lap behind
DNF. Robert Merhi ESP Persson Motorsport Mercedes Mercedes 38 Damage
DNF. Timo Scheider DEU Abt Sportsline Audi Audi 13 Damage
DNF. Martin Tomczyk DEU Team RMG BMW BMW 4 Accident
DNF. Adrien Tambay FRA Audi Sport Team Abt Audi 3 Collision
DNF. Bruno Spengler CAN Team Schnitzer BMW BMW 3 Collision

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.