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Spengler charges to new BMW's maiden win
6 May 2012
Bruno Spengler has given BMW their first DTM win in almost 20 years after soaking up race long pressure from Mercedes' championship leader Gary Paffett at the Lausitzring.
After making another flyer of a start a repeat of Hockenheim had looked on the cards for championship leader Paffett, who immediately latched onto the back of Spengler from third on the grid.
Despite remaining locked together at the front, the leading BMW and Mercedes were able to pull away from the rest of the field as the pair relentlessly traded sector times.
Although the Mercedes of Paffett looked to have the slight edge in both pit lane and track, Spengler was able to eke out an extra half a second before the pit stop window, enabling the Canadian to keep that all important track position as he rejoined the circuit.
Track position, at the front at least, looked order of the day as the Brit for the final 16 laps climbed all over the back of Spengler's BMW but to no avail. An error into the entry of turn 1's Ludwig kerbs finally put pay to Paffett's charge as his Mercedes helplessly ran wide over the kerbs handing BMW their first win in twenty years, since Roberto Ravaglia's double victory at Hockenheim.
Further down the road a carbon copy of the leading battle took place for the final podium position between the BMW of Augusto Farfus and the Mercedes of Jamie Green.
In a contrast of races for the pair, Farfus immediately lost position at the start courtesy of Paffett, dropping the Brazilian to third, while Green who was making progress up the order then relieved Edoardo Mortara of fourth position and set about chasing the BMW up the road.
An alternative strategy in comparison to the front runners saw the HWA man stay out a further ten laps longer, enabling the Brit to rejoin in the slipstream of Farfus after exiting the pits. However, a shoddy final pit stop which saw Green remain stationary for a further handful of seconds ruined his chances of taking third position thus handing the RBM-run BMW of Farfus his first DTM podium in only his second race.
On the flip side of the coin, Audi endured a less than satisfactory race by their standards, with lead Audi of Mattias Ekstrom coming home a distant fifth followed by team-mate Timo Scheider in sixth, an improvement, nonetheless, for the pair though after their respective qualifying performances.
Defending champion Martin Tomczyk started where he finished in seventh position, taking his first points in BMW colours. The champion was followed home by the Rosberg-run Audi's of Edoardo Mortara and Filipe Alberquerque in eighth and ninth respectively.
Rounding off the top ten was Mercedes' Ralf Schumacher in a somewhat fortunate manner after inheriting the final point from retiree Robert Wickens who held tenth position up until four laps to go.
by Simon Evans
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