DTM (Rd 6, Moscow Raceway)
Mike Rockenfeller led Mattias Ekstrom home to ensure an Audi 1-2 upon DTM’s first visit to Russia on Sunday, opening his points lead to 37 in the process. Augusto Farfus completed the podium for the RBM BMW squad.
Starting from pole, Rockenfeller drove a canny race, with the Phoenix Audi man utilising a long opening stint to build a reasonable lead and getting the harder Hankook tyres out of the way. Stopping on lap 46 out of 74, the 2010 Le Mans victor dropped to 3rd behind Ekstrom, before pitting again ten tours later, maintaining the final podium spot ahead of Farfus.
That became 2nd when temporary leader Adrien Tambay made his first tyre stop on lap 57, with the lead eventually coming back to Rockenfeller following Ekstrom’s final dive for the pits. Ekstrom stayed with Rockenfeller to the flag; however team orders ensured the race leader was never in danger from his Abt Sportline Audi stablemate.
The Swede had already played good teammate during the event – prior to his final stop, Ekstrom slowed his pace just enough to fall safely in behind Rockenfeller when the strategies came together. Farfus beat Tambay to the podium, but it was close. Emerging from his first stop on lap 29, the Brazilian crucially exited ahead of Jamie Green. Luck again came for Farfus when his second stop placed him just ahead of Gary Paffett and Timo Glock – in both instances, Farfus lost precious little time escaping.
Tambay impressed with his drive to 4th. From the sixth row, Tambay rose to 6th by lap 3 and maintained a solid pace during his ultra long first stint that brought him to the lead, as he maximised the clear air opposing strategies gave to him. Unfortunately for the young Frenchman, the gap over Farfus wasn’t quite enough and Tambay fell just shy of his Brazilian rival as he returned to the track from his final stop.
Paffett was the highest Mercedes finisher in 5th, taking the flag 1.3s ahead of Green following an at times feisty door-to-door battle in the latter stages. Joey Hand (BMW) took a credible 7th place ahead Dirk Werner (8th, BMW), Timo Scheider (9th, Audi) and Christian Vietoris (10th, Mercedes). Reigning champion Bruno Spengler had a horror of race – the BMW man was 7th, but was punted off four laps in by Miguel Molina in a move that was never going to work.