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DTM: Ekström wins thrilling Zandvoort race

Photo by ITR e.V.Mattias Ekström ended Audi’s win drought in the DTM at Zandvoort as he took victory ahead of BMW’s Marco Wittmann and Martin Tomczyk, in a race which saw four safety car interventions.

The race started with Audi’s poleman Mike Rockenfeller losing out to BMW’s new champion Marco Wittmann, who got ahead at the first turn.

After four laps the first safety car period was required when Audi’s Adrien Tambay slid off the circuit at turn six, with the Frenchman simply running out of road and hitting the barriers when he was running in ninth.

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Meanwhile at the front the lead duo were hardly separable, and on lap 17 Rockenfeller passed Wittmann into turn one. Just one lap later Wittmann made his mandatory pitstop complaining that his tyres had given up, whilst Rockenfeller stayed out in front.

Shortly after the lead change the safety car came out again after BMW’s Augusto Farfus crashed approaching the chicane. Contact from Mercedes’ Daniel Juncadella pitched the Brazilian into the barriers on the inside of the circuit and he bounced back over the chicane into the gravel on the outside.

When the race resumed there were just a handful of laps, in which several drivers pitted for their tyre change, before Audi’s Nico Müller, running in top three early on, was nudged into the barriers by Mercedes’ Christian Vietoris. Five laps behind the safety car followed, leaving leader Rockenfeller passing the half-distance without having made his mandatory pitstop.

At this stage, Ekström was left as the lead driver on the option tyres. The Swede, who had on Saturday been given a five-place grid penalty and thus started from eighth, had started the race on the harder tyre – a move which proved to be decisive as a result of the numerous safety car periods.

Ekström powered his way from ninth to five in a single lap and just two laps later the former champion passed Wittmann for the lead, with the German powerless to defend his position against the superior tyre-shod Ekström.

New champion Wittmann held on to finish second, ahead of BMW’s Martin Tomczyk, who scored his first podium finish since 2012.

Audi’s Edoardo Mortara kept his hopes of finishing second in the championship alive with a fourth placed finish, ahead of Mercedes’ Christian Vietoris in fifth. The German had been involved in a close battle in the final laps of the race in his new Mercedes car, passing sixth-placed Maxime Martin and seventh-placed Pascal Wehrlein near the end of the race.

Eighth was Spaniard Juncadella, with Mercedes’ Robert Wickens and Audi’s Timo Scheider completing the top ten.

Having been caught out by the safety cars and staying on the option tyres too long, Rockenfeller finished the race down in 16th position.

BMW’s Bruno Spengler was given a late-race drive-through penalty for contact with Jamie Green whilst battling for eighth. The Brit spun down from eighth to 15th, and Spengler had 30 seconds added to his race time as a result, classifying him in 17th.

Top ten result

1 7 Mattias EKSTRÖM Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Audi RS5 DTM 43 1:16:35.761 1:32.668 8
2 23 Marco WITTMANN BMW Team RMG BMW M4 DTM 43 7.414 1:32.411 2
3 10 Martin TOMCZYK BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M4 DTM 43 11.144 1:33.055 6
4 15 Edoardo MORTARA Audi Sport Team Abt Audi RS5 DTM 43 12.234 1:33.962 23
5 5 Christian VIETORIS Original-Teile AMG Mercedes DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé 43 12.73 1:33.940 17
6 24 Maxime MARTIN BMW Team RMG BMW M4 DTM 43 14.26 1:33.132 16
7 25 Pascal WEHRLEIN gooix AMG Mercedes DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé 43 15.128 1:33.450 5
8 9 Bruno SPENGLER BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M4 DTM 43 15.591 1:33.836 14
9 19 Daniel JUNCADELLA Petronas AMG Mercedes DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé 43 15.729 1:33.532 21
10 12 Robert WICKENS FREE MAN’S WORLD AMG Mercedes DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé 43 16.182 1:32.867 20

Complete race results

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