For the fourth time in his career, Martin Tomczyk crossed the line at the head of a DTM field, leading a 1-2-3-4 for Audi after 48 laps of action on the Nurburgring 'sprint' circuit.
After an incident-packed opening, Tomczyk was able to convert his pole position into a immediate advantage and remained at the front throughout, rejoining still in the lead after his mandatory pit-stop and coming home 1.2secs clear of nearest rival, Audi team-mate and reigning DTM champion Timo Scheider.
“The car was just fantastic," the winner enthused, "I didn't have one single problem this weekend. Moreover, it was a comfortable race for me with two Audis behind me. However, winning a race is always the most beautiful thing. I had been lacking the speed I had this weekend for a long time, but now, I am back.”
Mattias Ekström completed the podium, the Swede losing out to Scheider at the start, while Markus Winkelhock completed the top-four lock-out by steering his Playboy-backed entry to year-old honours in fourth spot.
In the sixth round of the season, Jamie Green came through to be the best-placed Mercedes driver, in fifth place, after Bruno Spengler's car began smoking as early as lap one after contact with Ekstrom. The Canadian, who had qualified on the front row alongside Tomczyk, managed to survive to the end of the race, but came home sixth, ahead of Ralf Schumacher and Gary Paffett, both of whom guided their Mercedes entries to point-scoring finishes from the lower reaches of the grid.
“I was surprised being the best-placed Mercedes driver at the finish, but I had good speed, was consistent and the tyres were good," Green reported, "These were the keys to success as, today, we have seen, once again, that competition in the DTM is very close. However, with three victories for Mercedes-Benz from six races, we are looking ahead in a positive way.”
Scheider's second place was enough to see him rise to the top of the standings, the German's 35 points putting him one marker ahead of Ekström, with Paffett third, a further five points adrift.
“I am very happy," Audi motorsport director Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich commented, "Having four Audis in front really is a great team effort and a perfect racing weekend for Audi. A double lead in the championship is a great way to start the second half of the season. I am particularly happy that Martin Tomczyk is back. This is an impressive comeback. Markus Winkelhock has also driven a very good race.”
The race began with Paffett, Katherine Legge and Maro Engel all spinning at the first corner, with the British Audi driver out on the spot. Audi veteran Tom Kristensen then spun coming out of the sprint loop and pitted for attention at the end of the lap. The Dane's error was compounded by the fact that the safety car had been summoned to clear the first corner incident and, on the restart, Schumacher began his move, passing Bakkerud for tenth.