Former double DTM-champion Mattias Ekstrom says he's pleased to leave the Hockenheim season opener with a podium finish under his belt.

Ekstrom started the race from seventh position but said after qualifying he was confident of a better race due to the set up of his Abt-run RS 5.

The Swede ran an alternative strategy to the leaders and spent the first stint of the race on the harder standard Hankook tyre before later searing through the pack on the option rubber while the leaders got their obligatory prime phase out of the way.

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The 35-year old was the top Audi finisher but finished a full 13 seconds behind race winner Marco Wittmann - the Abt- veteran admitting his team face a challenge to catch BMW.

Ekstrom's second place was the 2005 and 07's champion first podium since Moscow last year, where he also finished just one place behind the winner.

"Finishing the race and then mounting the podium to top it off is obviously a successful start of the season," said Ekstrom.

"Before the next race we've still got a bit of work to do though in order to make the car even faster because we could tell that the BMW in particular were running really well too.

"But all in all, I'm very pleased."