Audi's Mike Rockenfeller has won the first ever Russian DTM round at the Moscow Raceway while his chief championship rival Bruno Spengler failed to score a point.
Rockenfeller led away well from pole-position and was able to control the pace at the front ahead of Mattias Ekstrom and Augusto Farfus who ran in close company during the opening laps.
Spengler, on the other hand, had dropped to eighth after starting fourth and eventually collided with Audi's Miguel Molina into turn 1, which dropped the defending champion out of points scoring contention and also forced the Spaniard to retire.
Meanwhile, Rockenfeller ran a long opening stint on the option tyre and pitted on lap 44, rejoining behind Ekstrom on a different strategy.
The German was the first to blink during the second round of stops and in a perfectly choreographed piece of Audi teamwork Rockenfeller emerged in the lead after Ekstrom made his final mandatory stop, further maximising Rockenfeller's bid for the title.
The former Le-Mans 24 hour victor now has a 27-point lead over his nearest challenger Spengler, who in turn is 10-points ahead of Gary Paffett.
Like Rockenfeller the Audi of Adrien Tambay also ran long on the option tyre and incredibly made his first stop on lap 56.
Tambay's miraculous tyre conversation allowed the Frenchman to leap from twelfth to very nearly an unlikely rostrum with the BMW of Farfus narrowly hanging on for the final step on the podium.
Paffett added to his points tally in fifth after barging his way past the ABT-run Audi of Jamie Green through turn 1 in the dying laps, Green having to settle for sixth.
Joey Hand yet again earns himself some more valuable points in seventh just ahead of his fellow BMW team-mate Dirk Werner in eighth while ABT's Timo Scheider and HWA's Christian Vietoris round out the points paying positions.
by Simon Evans