Team Abt's Edoardo Mortara has won an action-packed opening DTM race at the Norisring after capitalising upon a dramatic three-way clash, involving long-term leader Christian Vietoris.

Mortara was sitting fourth at the point when the leading trio of Vietoris, Robert Wickens and Mattias Ekstrom collided, which changed the course of the afternoon.

It was the pole-sitter of Christian Vietoris who led the first half of the race despite locking the brakes of his Mercedes C63 into the Grundig hairpin, almost immediately handing the lead to Audi's Mattias Ekstrom.

The Mucke driver's first corner skirmish proved just the tip of the iceberg as Vietoris - through no fault of his own - was swiped out of the lead of the race 20 laps later.

Ekstrom, who had fallen to third behind HWA's Wickens, was looking to avenge his second place lost after being caught unaware by the Canadian on the eighth lap of the race.

But while attempting to grab the inside line ahead of Wickens into the Grundig hairpin, Ekstrom arrived out-of-shape into the right hander and subsequently ploughed into the side of Vietoris.

Vietoris recovered from his spin but the incident but Wickens bore the brunt of the damage and was sent into an early retirement - while also triggering a short safety car period.

Ekstrom briefly managed to continue but also retired a couple of laps with heavy front end damage.

Mortara was the first to profit from the drama and seized upon the lead of the race ahead of his Audi RS 5 stablemate Jamie Green and Paul di Resta.

It was a lead the Team Abt driver would never relinquish despite coming under heightened pressure from Green towards the end of the race.

Mortara's second win of the season was also an historic first 'home win' for Audi in 14-years - finally ending Mercedes' unprecedented stranglehold of the Norisring event.

Green ultimately settled for second as Di Resta returned to the podium for the first time since winning at Hockenheim back in May.

Vietoris later fell to tenth by the end of the race after losing out to Maximilian Goetz and Antonio Felix da Costa during the dying laps.

Da Costa's renaissance up the order was a particular highlight performance having started the race from 21st on the grid.

BMW's Marco Wittmann, Bruno Spengler and Maxime Martin had already made their way past the wounded Mercedes to finish up the road in fourth, fifth and sixth while Adrien Tambay was seventh for Audi.

 

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