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Zandvoort result remains provisional
23 July 2009
The results of the fifth round of the 2009 DTM held at Zandvoort in the Netherlands will remain provisional until July 31, it has been announced.
A statement on the official DTM website from the DMSB, the governing body of motorsport in Germany, explained that it will hold further talks with the Audi drivers at the centre of the team orders investigation.
The stewards of the meeting launched an investigation on Sunday after Mattias Ekström managed to make up a number of positions in the closing stages - passing Alexandre Prémat on lap 35 and Oliver Jarvis on lap 37 - eventually finishing second, 1.431 seconds off the winner, Gary Paffett.
This gave rise to speculation that the Swede had been assisted by his Audi colleagues to ensure he remains as close to Paffett as possible in the battle for the 2009 DTM Drivers' title.
The full blurb from the DMSB read:
"DMSB has checked the data recordings of Audi drivers Mattias Ekström, Oliver Jarvis and Alexandre Prémat and will offer the teams and drivers involved the chance of commenting on the gathered data on the day prior to the race at Oschersleben [at the end of this month, July 31].
"Due to the appearance of doubts regarding the regular course of several overtaking manoeuvres in the closing stages of the race, the stewards opted for suspending the official result and having all the relevant data analysed extensively.
"The reason for the examination is the accusation of team orders that is forbidden according to paragraph 20.2 of the DTM regulations.
"To find out the truth, the DTM experts checked data such as speed, acceleration, deceleration and the radio communication with the drivers involved as well as the television pictures and lap times."
Meanwhile Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, head of Audi Motorsport, has strongly denied that they used team orders.
"Mattias Ekström was very quick today - that was the reason why, in the end, he was one of the front runners [and finished in second place]," Ullrich stated on Sunday. "He had the right strategy today and, with a long first stint, put himself in a position of being able to drive clearly faster on the fresher tyres than the cars in front of him.
"On the final laps, he was also much quicker than Gary Paffett. The drivers of our 08-spec cars pitted very early and were therefore struggling with their tyres in the end.
"That they wouldn't make life difficult for a faster brand colleague and take any unnecessary risk in such a situation is natural at Audi.
"There are no team orders required for this. Strategy is an important element of motorsport."
Norbert Haug, vice president of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, unsurprisingly saw things differently.
"A great win by Gary Paffett and this despite additional weight - a perfect drive, perfect pit-stops and a perfect C-Class. It's a shame though that the obvious team order of our rivals distorted the true result," Haug added.
"In the next race we will start in the heavyweight class - with 20 kilograms more than our opposition following three wins out of four races so far - but we look forward to the challenge."
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