Scheider wins “the best race of his life” in Italy
Incredible action in the penultimate DTM round of the season at the Adria International Raceway. The spectators got to see an action-packed race with many overtaking maneuvers, a thrilling battle for the title and a winner that nobody had reckoned with prior to the race. Reigning DTM champion Timo Scheider started from 15th place on the grid, showed a great race and crossed the finish line with his Audi A4 DTM as the jubilant winner. “I had a great start and at the end of the first lap, as the race was stopped due to Alexandre Premat’s accident, I already was in seventh place. Before the start, I said to my team as a joke that this could become the best race of my life. And now I have won! Unbelievable”, said Scheider, describing his first race win of the season.
|From left to right: Mercedes F1 test-driver Gary Paffett (2nd), race-winner Timo Scheider (who started 15th !), Bruno Pengler (3rd), who took over the lead in the championship from Force India test-driver Paul di Resta (GB) |
British driver Gary Paffett showed the best nerves in the battle for the title, finishing second with his AMG Mercedes C-Class, thus reducing the gap to the points’ leader in the battle for the title from 14 to nine points. Now, Bruno Spengler from Canada is on top again in the drivers’ standings with 66 points. After his third place in the race, the Mercedes-Benz driver managed to claim back the lead from his fellow Mercedes-Benz driver Paul Di Resta (63 points), who is now second in the standings. Scottish driver Di Resta just missed out on championship points by finishing ninth. Paffett said after the race: “I knew that it would be very difficult. The track is slippery and there was massive tire wear. The important thing is that I have made it to the finish and that I have reduced the gap in the championship standings.” Spengler was also confident after the race and prior to the finale at Shanghai. “That will be a great finale. There are three drivers who can still become champion. I will do everything to end the season on top.”
The race started with a bang. At the start, Spengler overtook pole-sitter Paffett. A few corners later, Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller tangled with erstwhile points’ leader Di Resta and both came off the track. The two benefited from a severe accident by Frenchman Alexandre Prémat at the end of the opening lap. At high speed, the Audi driver tangled with Mercedes-Benz driver Maro Engel on the main straight, also came off the track and barrel-rolled his car several times. Fortunately, Prémat was able to get out of the totally damaged wreck all by himself and was immediately responsive. The 28-year old was taken to a hospital in Adria for observation. The race was interrupted and Rockenfeller’s and Di Resta’s cars could be repaired in time for the restart after some 20 minutes.
After that, the DTM drivers showed probably the best DTM race of the year on a damp track. Scheider made his way up to the front and made two very late pit stops. This tactic was effective: the advantage established by the German was enough to remain in front after the service. Spengler also lost his second place to Paffett after the pit stop. German driver Markus Winkelhock achieved his best season result to date by finishing fourth with his 2008-spec Audi A4 DTM. His fellow Audi drivers Oliver Jarvis (GB) and Martin Tomczyk (D) followed in fifth and sixth place. Mercedes-Benz driver Engel ended up seventh. For Swede Mattias Ekström (Audi), who was in third place for a long time, the race didn’t bring the expected result after he lost valuable positions due to problems during the pit stop, eventually finishing eighth. For many laps, Di Resta was involved in a battle with Spanish Audi driver Miguel Molina. After a collision between Di Resta and Molina, the Spaniard briefly came off the track, but was able to continue. One lap later, the suspension broke on Molina’s car. He slid across the track and collided with Di Resta in the process. The Scot managed to finish the race, but wasn’t able to score any points in the battle for the title.
The final DTM weekend with the decision for the 2010 title will take place in the Chinese metropolis of Shanghai from November 26th till 28th.
Head of motorsport Audi Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: “Alexandre Prémat was really fortunate, he is doing well. Initially, we were all shocked. After Tom Kristensen’s accident in 2007, we learned that we first have to wait for all the examinations before we can really say that he is safe. At the end of the day, we can be very proud of our cars and the DTM safety concept. Of course, victory was a great relief for us. We all know that winning a race again after a long time is much more difficult than consistently scoring points. Today, we owe this win to our performance, an excellent strategy and a very good team effort. I am really happy with having so many Audi drivers in the top eight today.”
Head of motorsport Mercedes-Benz Norbert Haug: “The most important thing is that Alexandre Premat’s accident didn’t have any major effects. However, this also reminds us of the fact that we can’t stop the continuous development of our safety concept, but rather have to go on with it all the time. Today, Audi had a good strategy and the better speed that we unfortunately didn’t have in the wet. The battle for the title is still open, three drivers can win and all three of them are Mercedes-Benz drivers. The Shanghai race will certainly be thrilling, we are looking forward to the great finale of a great season.”
||Paul di Resta
||Cong Fu Cheng
Championship (with one round to go at Shanghai - November 28):
|2. Di Resta