Spengler, BMW dominant in the DTM race 1 at Norisring
Bruno Spengler scored his first win of the 2017 DTM season after being fastest in the race 1 at Norisring. BMW cars dominated the race after having five cars in the top six.
In a thrilling qualifying the BMW driver Maxime Martin won the pole position. The championship leader Rene Rast was only five thousandths of a second slower Audi RS 5 DTM, while other two BMW drivers Bruno Spengler and Tom Blomqvist started from the second row. Lucas Auer ended up as the best-placed Mercedes-AMG driver in qualifying on the 5th position. Because of the bad weather, the race was shortened to 52 minutes plus one lap.
The start of the race was exciting and a bit chaotic after Martin stalled and dropped to the 3rd place, Spengler took the early lead but Mattias Ekstrom was the one who impressed most. He started from P6 but moved up to the 2nd position! The biggest loser was Lucas Auer as he went wide at Turn 1 and was forced to retire.
Martin overtook Ekstrom for P2 on lap 10 what announced exciting battle for the win between BMW and Audi cars. On the other side, Mercedes was in trouble. Auer and Robert Wickens retired while Edoardo Mortara was their only driver in the points at the moment, holding the 7th place. Most drivers decided to pit earlier and switch to slick tires after the track began to dry slowly. Rast was one of them, but the points leader received a drive-through penalty for crossing the yellow line at the pit lane exit. Mike Rockenfeller also received a drive-through after causing a collision while running 6th.
With 20 minutes to go and with all drivers completed a mandatory pit stop, Spengler still had a small lead to Martin and Ekstrom, with three BMWs of Marco Wittmann, Timo Glock, and Blomqvist behind. In the last stage of the race, Spengler’s lead was safe but Martin was under the huge pressure from the Swede. However, the BMW driver defended well and kept his position, finishing 4.3s behind Spengler. Ekstrom finished 3rd and took the lead in the standings.
The second race at Norisring will go on Sunday, 17:20 CET.