Audi's Timo Scheider dominates the penultimate race of the season to end a five-year victory drought while Pascal Wehrlein steers his way through a dramatic opening phase to become the youngest ever DTM-champion in history at the Hockenheimring.

Eighth place was good enough to seal the title for the Mercedes F1 reserve driver with one race to spare as his fellow title rivals fell by the wayside during a wild opening Hockenheim encounter.

BMW's Maxime Martin got the ideal launch and led away from pole-position but Audi's Timo Scheider - sharing the front row with Martin - quickly seized the lead away from the Team RMG driver by the end of the second lap.

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However, behind the leaders, a quite extraordinary exchange - involving three of the four main title protagonists - caused chaos within the opening laps.

DTM champion elect Wehrlein initially had a terrible start, which dropped the Mercedes driver further down the pack into the danger zone in 19th. But Mattias Ekstrom had an equally as disastrous getaway, resulting in the pair ending the opening lap nose-to-tail.

Wehrlein crucially nudged his way past Ekstrom as they exited the Mercedes Tribune but the 21-year old then found himself embroiled in battle with BMW's Martin Tomczyk and made went inside the side of the former champion's M4 at the final corner.

Tomczyk's aggressive defence left the HWA driver vulnerable to attack from behind but as Ekstrom prepared to pounce on Wehrlein, the Audi veteran was then sensationally tagged into a spin by the Mercedes of Robert Wickens.

Ekstrom lost little time and quickly recovered from his brief spin but before the action could escalate any further, a safety car, needed to clear up the mess of another clash - this time involving Gary Paffett and Miguel Molina - neutralised the race.

The bruising opening plethora of contact also cost Edoardo Mortara of vital track position while a further incident involving the Italian resulted in the Abt driver receiving a drive-through penalty.

Seeing his already slim title hopes fade away, Mortara later parked his RS 5 into an early retirement.

Back at the front, Scheider's charge to front had almost gone unnoticed due to the drama behind the leading pack.

Once the safety car returned to the pits on lap six, the former double DTM champion wound back the years and unleashed a relentless string of fastest laps to assemble an unassailable near five-second cushion back to Jamie Green in second.

Green also got the better of pole-man Martin for the second step of the rostrum but the Belgian held on for third position.