Matthias Ekström has secured Audi’s first victory on the streets of Nürnberg at the Norisring since 2002 with a controlled drive through the field, his first since 2011.
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The Swedish driver lined up ninth on the grid and worked his way forwards to move into the lead of the race on lap 63 and then never looked back – afterwards it was announced that he was under investigation but the reason hasn’t been announced.
Pole sitter Robert Wickens and Christian Vietoris completed the top 3 after Edoardo Mortara and Gary Paffett came to blows two laps from the end, with Mortara pushing the British driver wide at the first hairpin before dropping back down the order.
Vietoris and Paffett made their moves at the Lake Hairpin and as Paffett made his move, Mortara turned in and put Paffett into the wall, ending both of their races on the spot.
Two early safety cars saw most of the field pulling a long final stint – Paffett and Mike Rockenfeller were climbing the order on two different tyre strategies, with Paffett on the normal Hankook tyres while Rockenfeller was on the option tyre.
The first Safety Car was deployed at the end of the opening lap after Timo Schneider stalled on the grid but the race went live after one lap behind the Safety car.
A longer Safety Car period was required after BMW’s Martin Tomczyk clattered the wall as Norisring specialist Jamie Green made his move to pass the 2011 Champion.
Mortara led after the second Safety Car period having started on a different tyre strategy while Ekström was fifth at this stage and the Swede continued his climb.
The main interest during the mid part of the race was whether Paffett and Rockenfeller would pass Mortara and Ekström on their different strategies – having stopped under the Safety Car while Mortara and Ekström left their stops as late as possible.
Paffett took second as Mortara rejoined the track having recovered from the back of the field due to a drive through penalty for a jump start. Ekström held the lead after his stop as Mortara chased Paffett for second, and was gone by the time Mortara and Paffett came together.
Wickens and Vietoris capitalised to complete the podium, Vietoris taking his third top 3 finish of the season to move into fourth in the Championship.
BMW had another testing race after their promising showing in qualifying as Andy Priaulx dropped down the order to finish 9th while Joey Hand was on for a podium result until his final stop which dropped him down the order.
The results have seen Rockenfeller open up a two point advantage at the top of the Championship standings ahead of Bruno Spengler, the Canadian finishing as the top BMW finisher in 6th.