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Rockenfeller takes first win of season

Photo by AUDI AGAudi’s Mike Rockenfeller scored his second-ever Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters win in the second race of the season at Brands Hatch, finishing ahead of Bruno Spengler and Gary Paffett, who was later demoted.

Click here for the full Round 2 Results.

Rockenfeller, who had only once before at Zandvoort in 2011, took a dominant victory to beat reigning champion Spengler by 7.641 seconds. Robert Wickens completed the podium, making it two Canadians in the top three, after Paffett was handed a post-race five second time penalty for failing to slow enough when passing yellow flags.

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Mercedes’ Paffett had earlier worked his way up from 11th on the grid thanks to the superior strategy of his HWA team, which saw the Brit pit on lap four to take off his standard tyres and switch to the softer option tyres. The strategy worked and despite losing pace in the middle phase of the race, Paffett was able to work his way into the top three before his penalty was applied.

BMW’s rookie Marco Wittmann inherited fourth – his best-ever result in only his second weekend in the series. Joey Hand also scored his best-ever DTM result in fifth, beating his previous-best set last time out at the Hockenheimring.

Behind Paffett after his penalty was Audi’s Mattias Ekström, with the Swede enduring a tough race from 12th on the grid that saw him pushed wide onto the grass at Graham Hill late in the race.

Mercedes’ Christian Vietoris finished in eighth, ahead of Audi’s Timo Scheider who also follwoed the same strategy as Paffett by pitting early. Mercedes’ Pascal Wehrlein scored his first-ever DTM point and also ensured that Mercedes made up for their poor qualifying form by being the fourth Mercedes in the top ten.

Martin Tomczyk, who had originally qualified his BMW on pole before being thrown out of the classification for having an underweight car, had a storming first lap to go up to 15th from 22nd. However the German could only manage 13th by the end of the race, after being tapped into a spin by Roberto Merhi, who was given a drive-through penalty for the incident.

Merhi also appeared to run Timo Glock off the track on only the seventh lap after diving down the inside at Graham Hill bend, although the duo did not make contact in the incident.

Jamie Green’s torrid start to the season continued, with the new Audi driver finishing in 15th.

BMW’s Andy Priaulx could only finish in 19th after a difficult race which saw the Brit tapped into a spin at Druids by Audi’s Adrien Tambay. The Frenchman was later given a drive-through penalty for the incident. His race was compounded when he was also given a five-second pitstop penalty for not slowing sufficiently under yellow flags, finishing down in 18th, whilst Priaulx also received a penalty for the same offence.

Other drivers penalised for not slowing enough under yellow flags were Timo Glock (14th), Filipe Albuquerque (17th) and Daniel Juncadella (20th).

The result sees Rockenfeller move into the championship lead with 29 points, with Spengler in second on 28 points and Farfus, who failed to finish the race due to a gearbox problem, on 25 points.

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