DTM » 23 September 2007
Green win marred by Audi protest.
Jamie Green has scored his first DTM victory in immensely controversial surroundings during the penultimate round at Barcelona after Audi withdrew its remaining cars with ten laps of the race remaining.
Going a long way to overshadowing the victory for the Brit – his first in 30 attempts -, Audi appeared to be unhappy at the way their title protagonists Mattias Ekstrom and Martin Tomczyk were both separately eliminated from the race. When Timo Scheider was later pushed off, Audi immediately called their remaining six runners into the pit lane to withdraw.
A race of controversy all round that included several on-track incidents as well as a number of drive-through penalties, the final order was a pale reflection of what had been expected. However, after a bruising encounter over the course of the 58 lap race, Mercedes were left to claim the top six positions, with Audi keeping seventh and eighth, despite being ten laps adrift, thanks to the unusually high attrition rate.
As things stand though, Ekstrom still leads the standings heading to the Hockenheimring. However, Spengler is now second, just two points adrift, while Tomczyk is down to third still four points off his team-mate, creating a three-way fight for the title in the tenth and final round.
With Tomczyk starting on pole position and five Mercedes starting just behind him, you could forgive the Audi driver to for becoming overwhelmed at the getaway. Nonetheless, the German kept his cool and led into the first corner, Mika Hakkinen close behind and Bruno Spengler, Bernd Schneider and Green ensuring the status quo in third, fourth and fifth.
Further back, the cracks between Audi and Mercedes' increasingly uneasy relationship in the DTM began to appear when Tom Kristensen and Gary Paffett came together in the middle of the field. Although both continued, Kristensen was sent to the back of the field, while Paffett was called in for a drive-through penalty, albeit for jumping the start.
Settling into a typical procession over the course of the early stages, the race came alive on lap seven when Hakkinen made a move on Tomczyk heading into the first turn under braking and the two came together. The impact was enough to send both drivers off the circuit, Tomczyk falling down to 11th place and Hakkinen limping back to the pit lane to retire from the race.
Their elimination allowed Spengler into the lead, with Schneider and Green closely following, while Alex Margaritis, Timo Scheider, Paul di Resta, Lucas Luhr and Mathias Lauda filled out the top eight after Mike Rockenfeller and Ekstrom came in early for their first pit stop.
Ekstrom's race was over by lap 13 though when he was involved in a collision with Daniel La Rosa, the duo going side by side into the first turn but coming together. While La Rosa remained in the gravel, Ekstrom limped back to the pit lane to retire.
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