Mike Rockenfeller has cruised to a commanding victory at Brands Hatch to give Audi their first DTM win since Zandvoort last year.
Rockenfeller, who started the race from the top slot after inheriting pole-position from BMW's underweight Martin Tomczyk, immediately began to establish a comfortable gap during the opening stint in which he led from the two BMWs of Augusto Farfus and Bruno Spengler.
The Phoenix-run Audi then had the luxury of just simply mirroring the BMW strategy behind him, and the German never relinquished the lead on his way to a second career DTM victory.
The 29-year old now leads the championship as a result of Farfus' BMW dying on lap 66 shortly after pitting, having appeared up to that point to be shaping up as Rockenfeller's main challenger.
Farfus' team mate, defending champion Spengler, did his championship challenge no harm after claiming the second step on rostrum following Farfus' demise.
Gary Paffett had looked to have secured an unlikely podium despite starting the race from eleventh. However, shortly after the race finished it emerged that the Mercedes man had failed to slow down sufficiently under yellow flags, resulting in the 2005 champion being demoted to sixth.
Fellow Mercedes driver Robert Wickens was the main beneficiary of this ruling, producing an equally as impressive comeback to take a maiden DTM podium finish having started from just twelfth on the grid.
Before Paffett's demotion the HWA-run Mercedes was able to take advantage of an alternative strategy which saw the Briton pit out of tandem of lap 4 on the option tyre. This proved to be a master-stroke as the 32-year old emerged fourth following the opening stint, before further improving to third until all the good work was undone post-race by the penalty.
BMW's Marco Wittmann and Joey Hand both took career best finishes in the DTM with the pair ending the race fourth and fifth, consolidating strong points for the Munich-manufacturer.
Audi's Mattias Ekstrom took an unspectacular seventh behind the penalised Paffett, while Christian Vietoris came eighth.
Timo Scheider came home ninth in front of the DTM's youngest driver in field, Pascal Wehrlein in tenth, who scored his first point for Mercedes.
F1-refugee Timo Glock ended his first race in Brands Hatch with a 14th place finish. The German's race was compromised earlier in the race as the MTEK-run BMW was edged off the circuit by Roberto Mehri.
Andy Priaulx had looked in prime position to score his first points of the season but while the Brit was running ninth for the opening stint the former triple WTCC champion was spun around by Audi's Adrien Tambay at Druids, dropping Priaulx down to 21st. He was only able to recover to a lowly 18th place by the finish.See full race results