Thriller in Moscow: Engel holds off Ekstrom

Ekstrom, Engel and Spengler
Ekstrom, Engel and Spengler

In front of 25,000 spectators, the second race at Moscow Raceway brought about the biggest surprise of the season to date. From the penultimate grid position, Maro Engel charged to his maiden victory in the DTM. Behind him, the new points’ leader Mattias Ekstrom with his Audi and BMW driver Bruno Spengler took the other podium slots. In total, DTM returnee Engel had to wait for this moment of joy for 52 races. So far, pair of tenth places and one ninth position had been the rather meager outcome of the season for the Mercedes-AMG driver. On Sunday, however, the moment of glory had come for the 29-year-old. He added no less than 25 points to the four he had collected hitherto.

"It is fantastic. We knew that when the safety car comes out, it would be a perfect scenario for us. Our strategy was based on this. However, I had made a mistake in qualifying and I had to start from penultimate place on the grid. Therefore, I never expected to win. Once I had overtaken Duval and Wittmann, I knew that I stood a chance," Engel said. Together with Marco Wittmann, Tom Blomqvist (both BMW) and Loic Duval (Audi), he had come in for a tyre change after the opening lap already. While the three other drivers gradually dropped back as the race went on, Engel benefited from a safety car intervention from lap six as he had hoped. Prior to that, BMW driver Maro Engel had crashed into the Armco barriers with overheating brakes. At that time, Spengler was leading from Ekstrom and Paul Di Resta. For the Mercedes-AMG driver, the race was over following a collision with Duval on lap 29.

After that, the field got back together again. Initially, the aforementioned quartet gradually came to the fore as the other drivers came in for their pit stops one after another. The only exception was Audi driver Nico Muller who postponed his stop until three laps before the end. Muller stayed out in front for many laps and bunched up the entire field. "There is no doubt that he slowed me down. I was praying for him to head into the pits all the time, but he didn’t give me that pleasure, and I didn’t want to risk contact in an attempt to overtake him," said Engel, who was glad as he finally saw the checkered flag. "To be honest, I wasn’t even aware that it was the final lap."

Eki drove a brave race

‘Eki’ came up quickly behind him as the Swede made up one place after another. Eventually, he lacked a few additional laps to secure victory. “I was in the same situation as Bruno. It was clear to me that it would be difficult to still make it to the front after the safety car. That was hardcore racing. I am very happy with second place after such a race," said Ekstrom, who moved one point ahead of fourth-placed Audi driver Rene Rast (112 points) in the drivers’ standings.

‘Eki’ came up quickly behind him as the Swede made up one place after another. Eventually, he lacked a few additional laps to secure victory. “I was in the same situation as Bruno. It was clear to me that it would be difficult to still make it to the front after the safety car. That was hardcore racing. I am very happy with second place after such a race," said Ekstrom, who moved one point ahead of fourth-placed Audi driver Rene Rast (112 points) in the drivers’ standings.

Results

Pos. Driver Nation Car Gap Behind Laps
1 Maro Engel GER Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM 0.000 0.000 36
2 Mattias Ekstrom (S) Audi RS5 DTM 0.376 0.376 36
3 Bruno Spengler (CA) BMW M4 DTM 3.605 3.981 36
4 Rene Rast (D) Audi RS5 DTM 0.721 4.702 36
5 Jamie Green (GB) Audi RS5 DTM 0.708 5.410 36
6 Marco Wittmann (D) BMW M4 DTM 1.782 7.192 36
7 Tom Blomqvist (GB) BMW M4 DTM 1.199 8.391 36
8 Lucas Auer (AT) Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM 0.173 8.564 36
9 Robert Wickens (CA) Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM 0.418 8.982 36
10 Edoardo Mortara (I) Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM 0.960 9.942 36
11 Augusto Farfus (BR) BMW M4 DTM 0.977 10.919 36
12 Mike Rockenfeller (D) Audi RS5 DTM 1.497 12.416 36
13 Timo Glock (D) BMW M4 DTM 0.089 12.505 36
14 Loic Duval (F) Audi RS 5 DTM 7.408 19.913 36
15 Nico Muller (CH) Audi RS5 DTM 17.815 37.728 36
16 Gary Paffett (GB) Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM 1.539 39.267 36
Maxime Martin (BE) BMW M4 DTM 32 Laps 4
Paul Di Resta (GB) Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM 36 Laps 0

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