In just its second race since its return to DTM competition after a twenty-year absence, BMW has won its first race, courtesy of a brilliant drive by Lausitzring pole-sitter Bruno Spengler.
Spengler converted his pole position on the sprint down to Turn 1, while championship leader Gary Paffett was able to move into second place from his second-row starting position to give chase to the Canadian.
The quickly began to pull away from the chasing pack, although they were never separated by more than 1.5 seconds as the both rounds of pit stops approached.
Despite Paffett’s HWA Mercedes team performing quicker pit stops than Spengler’s Schnitzer BMW pit crew, Spengler was still able to keep his lead over the Englishman.
The final phase of the race was an exciting duel between Spengler and Paffett, with the pair running nose-to-tail for the final 16 laps of the race.
Paffett was unable to find a way past his rival, and a mistake on the final lap ensured that Spengler would stoke his way home to claim his tenth championship win and the first for BMW since their final championship season in 1992.
The final podium spot went to front-row starter Augusto Farfus in his RBM BMW, with the Brazilian earning his first-ever DTM podium by managing to resist the attentions of Jamie Green’s Mercedes.
Starting from sixth place, Green passed Edoardo Mortara on the ninth lap to move into fourth place, and then used his long first stint to get some clear track, which helped him move right up to the back of Farfus.
But his hopes of claiming third place went with a sticking wheelnut in his final pit stop, consigning him to fourth place. No matter what tricks he tried, he was unable to find a way by Farfus.
Fifth and sixth were the Abt Sportsline Audi pairing of Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider, with the latter implementing the same long first stint strategy that had helped him net a podium last year. This time around, he could only finish sixth, but it was a significant improvement on his twelfth-placed grid position.
Finishing seventh, defending champion Martin Tomczyk claimed his first points of the season following his off-season switch to BMW. He was followed over the line by the Rosberg pairing of Mortara and Filipe Albuquerque.
After a disastrous qualifying session where he could only manage 17th on the grid, Ralf Schumacher snuck through to claim the final points position, assisted pit stop troubles for Mike Rockenfeller and by the late race retirement of DTM rookie Robert Wickens.
The series now decamps and heads to the UK for its only offshore event at Brands Hatch in two weeks time.
2012 DTM Race of Lausitz – Final Standings (52 laps):
|DRIVER||TEAM / ENTRY||LAPS||RESULT|
|1.||Bruno Spengler||Team Schnitzer BMW||52||1:09:45.795|
|2.||Gary Paffett||HWA Team Mercedes||52||+ 1.019|
|3.||Augusto Farfus Jr||Team RBM BMW||52||+ 7.069|
|4.||Jamie Green||HWA Team Mercedes||52||+ 7.676|
|5.||Mattias Ekström||Abt Sportsline Audi||52||+ 21.362|
|6.||Timo Scheider||Abt Sportsline Audi||52||+ 22.607|
|7.||Martin Tomczyk||Team RMG BMW||52||+ 25.446|
|8.||Edoardo Mortara||Team Rosberg Audi||52||+ 32.202|
|9.||Filipe Albuquerque||Team Rosberg Audi||52||+ 32.658|
|10.||Ralf Schumacher||HWA Team Mercedes||52||+ 35.513|
|11.||Christian Vietoris||HWA Team Mercedes||52||+ 45.699|
|12.||David Coulthard||Mücke Motorsport Mercedes||52||+ 46.355|
|13.||Mike Rockenfeller||Phoenix Racing Audi||52||+ 47.667|
|14.||Joey Hand||Team RMG BMW||52||+ 48.034|
|15.||Miguel Molina||Phoenix Racing Audi||52||+ 48.836|
|16.||Robert Merhi||Persson Motorsport Mercedes||52||+ 56.454|
|17.||Andy Priaulx||Team RBM BMW||52||+ 58.984|
|18.||Adrien Tambay||Audi Sport Team Abt||52||+ 1:04.646|
|19.||Dirk Werner||Team Schnitzer BMW||52||+ 1:05.201|
|20.||Rahel Frey||Audi Sport Team Abt||52||+ 1:08.570|
|21.||Susie Wolff||Persson Motorsport Mercedes||51||1 lap behind|
|DNF.||Robert Wickens||Mücke Motorsport Mercedes||47||Mechanical|