DTM (Norisring, Rd 5)
Mercedes HWA racer Robert Wickens claimed his first DTM victory at the Norisring on Sunday following the disqualification of Mattias Ekstrom.
Poleman Wickens in the top three for much of the event, losing out to Edoardo Mortara at the first stops and dropping behind Ekstrom, who started 9th, on lap 24. There followed a ferocious fight for the lead that lasted all of forty laps, but as Mortara’s second set of Hankook’s faded, Ekstrom made the vital move at the Grundig Hairpin, helped a lairy slide by the Swiss-Italian Mortara.
Ekstrom carried on to take the chequered flag first, only to be thrown out, when a mechanic – reportedly Ekstrom’s father – poured the contents of a water bottle into the racer’s overalls in Parc Ferme.
Wickens assumed the win following a late push. The Canadian pitted 29 laps from the end, emerging in 12th, climbing to 8th by lap 71; however that became 4th within eight tours thanks to moves on Timo Glock, Daniel Juncadella, Mike Rockenfeller and Christian Vietoris. A light collision in the hairpin between Mortara and Gary Paffett with three laps to go helped propel Wickens to 2nd spot, which would be the winning position several hours later.
Paffett and Mortara again collided clumsily at the end of the penultimate lap – retiring on this occasion – earning suspended five-place grid penalties in the process. The crash promoted Vietoris to an eventual 2nd, with Juncadella assuming 3rd place.
Rockenfeller was classified a brilliant 4th, despite starting 21st, while Spengler lost out in the second stops to take a respectable 5th. Roberto Merhi drove a clean race to finish 6th from 20th and Joey Hand added to his points tally with 7th place. Andy Priaulx showed well to grab 8th ahead of Marco Wittmann (9th) and Dirk Werner (10th).
There were two safety cars – the first when Timo Scheider stalled on the grid and the second when Martin Tomczyk punted the wall on the back straight with a bit of help from Paffett and Jamie Green. Rockenfeller now leads the standings by two points ahead of Spengler, who is a further eleven up on Vietoris.