Spa 2005: Hakkinen breaks DTM duck
15 May 2005
Two-times F1 world champion, Mika Hakkinen showed his class at Spa today [Sunday], by taking the win in only his third DTM race. 'The Flying Finn', who started from pole, eventually triumphed by 4.258 seconds.
Although the Mercedes ace lost out at the start, when Ekstrom went in front, thanks to some quick laps and two perfect pit stops, Hakkinen got the upper hand.
During the course of the race, Mikka extended the gap between himself and Ekstrom, even though he had to contest the race with 20 kilos of ballast weight, due to Mercedes' successes in the previous rounds.
"This has been a great week for me, but an exhausting weekend," he said. "The qualifying already was a major challenge. I completely owe this victory to my team. The car works perfectly. The only thing I still have to practice is the start."
Ekstrom thus had to settle for second - however he freely admitted that he had no answer to Mika's pace.
"Usually, I like to defeat the guys in front of me. But I just wasn't able to get Mika Hakkinen under control, this weekend," he confirmed. "We had some bad luck regarding the pit stops and further details, but in DTM, everything has to be perfect if you want to win."
Tom Kristensen completed the podium, despite a race long battle with Marcel Fassler.
"During the course of the entire race, I was fighting hard to defend my position against Marcel Fassler. The team has done a fantastic job to provide me with a perfect car. Quite obviously, I would love to soon take the lead in our 'Scandinavian Championship'," he joked.
Further back Jean Alesi was fourth, ahead of Fassler, Martin Tomczyk and Laurent Aiello. While Fassler lost out in the battle to beat Kristensen and slipped behind Alesi, his result did give Opel something to cheer about, as they finally notched up their first points of the season.
"Quite obviously, I'm not really happy with the result, but we succeeded in scoring points, for the first time this season," he noted. "And I was involved in two fantastic battles. On the one hand with Tom Kristensen, in front of me, on the other with Martin Tomczyk, behind me."
Gary Paffet, who won the previous round, at the EuroSpeedway had to settle for eighth place. The Brit's race somewhat compromised after he was given a drive-through penalty, following an unfair manoeuvre on Pierre Kaffer.
Paffett though could console himself with the fact that he at least keeps the lead in the championship, although Hakkinen, Alesi and Ekstrom are all poised to pounce in joint second, just two points behind.