After ten races in the current season, Team Abt Sportsline’s Mattias Ekström leads the standings after another good run at Moscow Raceway, which saw the two-time champion continue his points-scoring run that has remained unbroken since the first race at Lausitzring earlier this year.
The Swede has yet to win a race in 2017, having last stood on the top step of the podium in race two at Hungary last season, but has hit the podium four times in the last eight races.
“I’m happy with P2 after such a race,” admitted Ekström in the final post-race press conference of the weekend, having fought through the field in customary fashion to finish up just over three-tenths of a second behind winner Maro Engel.
“First of all, I want to say congratulations to Maro. People say that you’re lucky when you win, but I can tell you that to win a DTM race without luck is something I’ve seen nobody else do. He was fast and did some good passes without a shadow [of a doubt].”
The 39-year-old went onto explain that he felt Mercedes’ Paul Di Resta was one driver that he would have to look out for, due to the pace that the Scottish driver showed until his unfortunate clash with Loïc Duval in the last few moments of the race.
“Pretty soon, I knew that there were four or five cars that pitted, but after the pit stop, I felt pretty [much] OK, but I looked in my mirrors and saw that Paul di Resta was coming, flying, so I was expecting him to be battling hard.”
The Team Abt Sportsline driver was quick to point out that both he and Team RBM’s Bruno Spengler, who finished third, were “in the same boat” after the Safety Car had been deployed, following on from Maxime Martin’s altercation with the wall at turn nine just five laps in.
“We both knew that it would be tricky to battle for the win. It was hardcore racing towards the end, having to battle with the guys, but it was one lap too short to have a run on Maro.
“But I’m happy with P2 after such a race, and I think it’s the second time when I’ve been stuck behind the Safety Car. Pitting early, I like, but I think we did this in the wrong race.”