Bernd Schneider took his first win of 2004 in the final race of the DTM season in Mercedes homeland at Hockenheim.
Schneider was in contention from the off of the 37 lap race, watched by over 100,000 race fans. Eventual second place man, and pole-sitter, Martin Tomczyk was off to a stunning start, but Mercedes' DTM veteran would win through the two compulsory pit-stops, and survive a late lock-up and run wide which put Tomczyk right back in contention.
"I'm really happy with second place," said Tomczyk after the race. "Perhaps I could have been first but the Mercedes of Bernd was really quick and I could stay behind it."
Schneider was happy to gain his first win of 2004 in his final opportunity to do so. "I had a good start," explains the race winner. "I was always behind Mattias Ekstrom but then I was able to overtake him. My crew made two good pitstops and I was ahead of them.
"In the end the car was very good and I'm satisfied to take the win, especially in front of such a big crowd."
Brit Gary Paffett took third place in the race, and secured the runners-up spot in the championship, with rival Chritijan Albers finishing down in seventh spot.
"It's great to finish in second place in the championship," said Gary after the race. "I could have fought more with Mattias for the championship if I had the points from Laustizring but it's motorsport, you have to take that."
Audi retains the manufacturers' title after a more than robust move from new champion Mattias Ekstrom on Jean Alesi at the final corner. Ekstrom, on the freshest tyres in the field, has already been allowed through by Tom Kristensen to take the fight to Alesi.
Ekstrom came from a long way back in a move whose intent didn't appear to be to take the place and the corner, but rather to take Alesi's Mercedes wide. Kristensen nipped through past the tangling duo, but Alesi was able to fight back to take fifth place by the narrowest of margins on the line. Alesi was understandably upset by the move and if there is any action taken remains to be seen.
1. Bernd Scneider
2. Martin Tomczyk
3. Gary Paffett
4. Tom Kristensen
5. Jean Alesi
6. Mattias Ekstrom
7. Christijan Albers
8. Christen Abt
9. Timo Scheider
10. Stefan Mucke