Edoardo Mortara has launched himself right into the thick of the DTM title race as Audi's No.1 contender following his third win of the season at the Nurburgring.
The Team Abt Sportsline driver started the second race from sixth but immediately found himself in the lead group after jumping up into fourth during the first corner.
The leading group, led by the Mercedes of Lucas Auer, managed to pull away from Augusto Farfus in fifth, giving Mortara the opportunity to save his ammunition for later in the race.
"I had a good start from position six and immediately managed to overtake two drivers. In the first part of the race, I pursued the BMW cars and Lucas (Auer). I saved my DRS and took it easy on my tires and my brakes," said Mortara.
While Auer, Marco Wittmann and Bruno Spengler had all made their stops before the 18th lap, Mortara continued on to complete a mammoth 28-lap stint on his first set of tyres.
That crucially enabled Mortara to enjoy clean air at the front whereas the leaders all lost time trying to pick their way back through the traffic.
Once Mortara emerged from the pits on significantly fresher rubber in second, Auer was a sitting duck and Italian had little troubling in passing the Austrian on the 35th lap of the race.
"When the others pitted before me, I knew that we'd be able to win with a different strategy. The team did a fantastic job. They called me in to pit at the right time," Mortara continued.
"The stop was good and the car top-class. We benefited from being able to drive on a clear track. After the pit stop, I only had to overtake (Lucas) Auer and he acted in a very fair manner. Everything worked out well."
The 29-year old has now usurped Jamie Green as Audi's best hope of the title but still remains 33-points adrift of championship leader Wittmann.
"I'm happy to have mounted the top of the podium again, to have scored 37 points and being back in the title race," the Audi RS 5 driver concluded.