Eduardo Mortara claimed his 2nd win of the DTM season at Norisring on Saturday.
Gary Paffett came home next to make it a Mercedes 1-2, while Marco Wittmann took the final podium spot in his BMW M4.
Mortara led from pole, heading Wittmann, with Mercedes trio Paul Di Resta, Paffett and Lucas Auer chasing close by. Front row qualifier Philipp Eng pitted early, as did the Audi’s of Rene Rast, Nico Müller and Loïc Duval and Mercedes’ Dani Juncadella.
Mortara, Wittmann and Paffett pulled away from the pack, only to pit on laps nine, eight and twelve respectively. The stop was enough to give the trio a tyre advantage, while also dropping them far enough behind the field to run undisturbed.
With fresh rubber, Wittmann pushed Mortara hard for a time, but the twice DTM champion could not find a way past his rival. The three stayed close for the next forty tours, but despite the use of DRS, neither Wittmann nor Paffett could break Mortara.
Eventually it was Wittmann who succumbed to pressure, as Paffett got a nice run down the start/finish straight, slotting down the inside of his BMW rival at turn one.
Thereafter Paffett pressed Mortara, but with his DRS also running out, the Englishman’s opportunities were limited. The last of the stoppers, Robin Frijns, finally pitted on the penultimate lap, bringing Mortara back into the lead, which he then converted into a victory moments later.
Paffett crossed the line only six-tenths shy of the win, with Wittmann ending up another six-tenths behind Paffett. Despite his inability to steal a win, it was good effort for the 2005 DTM Champion and propelled him into the points lead ahead of BMW Team RMR racer Timo Glock.
Di Resta claimed 4th spot, some 5s clear of a struggling Eng, who managed to bravely keep Bruno Spengler (6th, BMW), Auer (7th), Juncadella (8th), Joel Eriksson (9th, BMW) and Glock at bay.
Jamie Green headed an awful day for Audi. The Ingolstadt marque could only manage a best of 11th after the Briton suffered a lengthy stop and Frijns ending up 12th after his long run strategy. Audi also took up the final four positions with Mike Rockenfeller, Rene Rast, Duval and Müller all taking 15th-18th respectively.
Pascal Wehrlein and Augusto Farfus enjoyed a hard fought mid-race battle, albeit for the lower positions in the field. They would take 13th (Wehrlein) and 14th (Farfus).
There did appear to be some tyre warming issues early in the tyre stints with both Mortara and Di Resta weaving significantly to bring some heat into their Hankooks.