Bruno Spengler became the most successful driver of 2006 in terms of race wins courtesy of his DTM triumph at Le Mans last weekend, and in so doing marked himself out as a strong title favourite for next year.

The Canadian sped from pole to victory on French soil, and in the process hoisted himself up past Tom Kristensen into second position in the championship. Only headed briefly during the pit-stops, the 23-year-old AMG ace produced a faultless performance to seal the result in front of team-mate and double Formula One world champion Mika Hakkinen.

"I'm very, very happy about my third win this season," Spengler said afterwards. "Winning at Le Mans is particularly beautiful - after all, racing here in France is something like a home race for me. The race was not as easy as it might have looked because Mika put pressure on me throughout. My good start played an important role for my success.

"I am now second overall and look forward to Hockenheim, where I want to maintain this position. Congratulations to Bernd on his title win - he is a worthy champion."

Second place - just 0.4s adrift at the chequered flag - was Hakkinen's best result of the year, and the Finn said he was pleased both his own performance and thrilled for the team with Bernd Schneider's record title success.

"I am glad I ended up on the podium again after a difficult season," he admitted. "Everything worked out well and this shows how strong our team is. I thank everybody for their great job during the entire weekend."