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Farfus wins thrilling season opener

Photo by BMW AGBMW’s Augusto Farfus took victory in the opening Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters race of the season at the Hockenheimring, playing the strategic game to perfection to take his second DTM win.

Click here for the full Round 1 Results.

Having started from second, Farfus followed poleman Timo Scheider for the opening six laps of the race, which featured a brief safety car period when Adrien Tambay’s Audi caught fire. Farfus then passed Scheider for the lead on lap six, before pitting to remove his option tyres.

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As strategic games unfolfed around him, Farfus found himself leading in the second half of the race, with Dirk Werner behind him finishing in second having started from the very back of the grid.

The lead Mercedes driver was Christian Vietoris in third, with the young German scoring his first-ever podium finish in the DTM. Fellow Mercedes racer Gary Paffett finished in fourth, despite heavy pressure from reigning champion Bruno Spengler, who had to settle for fifth. The duo had intense battles during the race, resulting in contact on several occasions.

Timo Scheider could only manage sixth as the best Audi driver, having started from pole, with the DTM’s most experienced current driver suffering as a result of the strategic games played. In particular he lost out when the safety car period came early in the race, and was forced to battle back through the field as a result.

BMW’s Joey Hand finished in seventh, despite stalling at the start, ahead of Audi’s Mike Rockenfeller and the top rookie of BMW’s Marco Wittmann, who finished in ninth on his and his team’s DTM début.

Mercedes driver Roberto Merhi completed the top ten. There was less luck for his compatriots, however, with Miguel Molina suffering contact on the opening lap and was only able to finish in 15th, whilst Daniel Juncadella took 12th on his début.

Former Formula 1 driver Timo Glock failed to finish the race when the left-rear wheel of his car fell off following a botched pit-stop by his BMW Team MTEK crew. The German had been running in second, before running wide at the Sachs curve prior to his pitstop and losing several positions.

Also failing to finish were Audi’s Mattias Ekström and Edoardo Mortara, with the former losing his bonnet when his retaining clips came loose after running wide onto the back straight. Ekström later hit Mortara into a spin, receiving a drive-through penalty, and retiring shortly thereafter.

Robert Wickens retired on the fifth lap of the race, whilst running in fourth, when he went straight on at Spitz Kehre and stopped with, retiring with a sticking accelerator pedal.

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