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Wickens handed win, Ekstrom excluded
14 July 2013
Mercedes' Robert Wickens has been handed a maiden DTM victory following a controversial post–race decision to strip Mattias Ekstrom of his Norisring triumph.
Ekstrom, who today also celebrated his 35th birthday, had crossed the line first, a handful of seconds up the road from eventual winner Wickens after brilliantly taking his first victory since Valencia 2011. The 'success' also appeared to have endeda ten-year Norisring draught for Audi.
But it emerged after the race that the Abt driver was seen to have broken
regulations when receiving a bottle of water during his jubilant post-race celebrations with his Audi team.
Ekstrom's exclusion means Mercedes inherited a 1-2-3 podium lockout which promoted Christian Vietoris to second and rookie Dani Juncadella to his first ever DTM rostrum in third.
The race itself was just as eventful as Ekstrom majestically scythed his way up the field from ninth and into race-winning contention amid two safety car periods and pit -stop chaos.
Audi's Edoardo Mortara and Ekstrom led the way into the second half of the race as the pair created a gap on the option tyre before Mortara eventually relinquished the lead to his elder statesmen.
The former double champion kept the lead after the second and final pit-stops, but Mortara dropped to third just behind Gary Paffett, who was going long on the standard tyre – which turned out to be a recipe for disaster as the Italian, on the fresher rubber, rear-ended the Brit into turn one, demoting the HWA man down the order.
But as the Audi, clearly compromised by the damage, attempted to defend his position from Vietoris for the final position on the rostrum, Paffett then seized the opportunity to take the pair before moving across Mortara, giving the Rosberg-run Audi no option but to spin the Mercedes out of the race.
The incident not only ensured what would later be a Mercedes 1-2-3, but also meant Audi's Mike Rockenfeller got a free pass to fourth. As a result, he now leads the championship by two points from BMW's Bruno Spengler who finished fifth.
Andy Priaulx scored his first points of what has so far been a difficult season for the Brit, taking eighth for BMW.
Audi immediately stated their intention in appealing Ekstrom's exclusion, meaning the result remains provisional. Paffett and Mortara, meanwhile, both received five-place grid penalties, suspended for two events.
Ekstrom, to add salt to the wounds, was also given a €1000 fine for not attaching his steering wheel correctly after the race had finished in
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