Five-time series king Bernd Schneider made it three Mercedes' in the top four with fourth spot, ahead of Oliver Jarvis, who registered the finest result of his fledgling tin-top career courtesy of an impressively composed performance – and with it secured the honour of first 2007-spec machine past the finishing post. The final points-scorers were completed by the Audi trio of reigning champion Mattias Ekström, Markus Winkelhock and Alex Prémat.
Martin Tomczyk – until Mugello holding second position in the drivers' standings – endured a nightmare race, colliding with fellow Audi ace Mike Rockenfeller on the opening lap in a contre-temps that also accounted for Formula 1 refugee Ralf Schumacher. Tomczyk was forced to pit for repairs – leaving him down in an unrepresentative 17th place at the chequered flag – whilst Schumacher toured around to the pits and into retirement at the end of lap four.
With the next round of the series due to take place at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz on 18 May, and the top seven drivers in the rankings now separated by just seven points, both Mercedes and Audi are aware there is much to play for over the remainder of the campaign.
“It was a great race,” underlined Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director Norbert Haug. “We had a good strategy, quick pit-stops and our speed was good. In qualifying yesterday and this morning after the warm-up, it didn't look like that, but sometimes differences in temperature of only three or four degrees can have an effect on the set-up.
“The team has done a great job and found exactly the right set-up for this temperature. All-in-all, I am very happy. We have deserved this victory, but it came earlier than I had expected.”
“I am not happy with the result,” countered a disappointed Audi Motorsport Director Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Apparently Mugello doesn't suit us, as we just don't succeed in repeating our qualifying results in the race. It is clear that we lost the race at the start. Additionally, some things happened in the first couple of corners, which mixed up the order.
“At a track like this, making up [time] during the race is very difficult, especially when your opponent is quick, has good tactics and does good pit-stops. We will continue to give everything and now we are focussing on the next race to try to win it. I am very pleased with the performance of our 2007-spec cars, which were absolutely competitive and showed some good fights between them.”
To see the race results in full, click here