In a race that was dominated by intense duels and numerous overtaking manoeuvres, the Mercedes driver remained in control and laid the foundation for victory with an early pit stop. “That was an incredible race,” Engel said after the finish. There was also joy for Mattias Ekström. The Audi driver finished second and thus claimed back the lead in the drivers’ standings. After 36 laps, Bruno Spengler finished third with his BMW M4 DTM.
“I was surprised to see the chequered flag. I wasn’t aware that the race was already over,” race winner Engel admitted. In 2009, one sixth place was his best DTM race result to date. “These were the longest laps in my career.” Not without reason because Ekström came to the fore in the closing stages of the race, overtook one driver after another and considerably mixed up the order behind Engel. In the early part of the race, things didn’t look good for Ekström who had started from the front row of the grid. The safety car was deployed after an excursion from Maxime Martin on lap 5. That particularly favoured those drivers who had already made their pit stop at that time: Engel, Wittmann, Duval and Blomqvist. In the final part of the race, the Swede worked his way up and was rewarded for his spirited drive with second place and the lead in the drivers’ standings. “This was a crazily wild race,” the Swede commented at the finish. “A bit hardcore, but racing like this is fun. Taking the points’ lead after a cool race is even better. Congratulations to Maro, he deserved this win. I only needed one more lap, then I probably would have caught him.”
Bruno Spengler came third at Moscow Raceway, having already scored five podium finishes in Russia. The Canadian used his chance in the turbulent closing stages and claimed third place that his fellow BMW driver Marco Wittmann held for a long time. “That really was a tough race today, a big fight and good racing!” Wittmann, who initially seemed to be on course for victory, had to hand the lead to Engel on lap 23 and dropped back to sixth with degrading tyres.
In the DTM drivers’ standings, Mattias Ekström is back in the lead. With 113 points, he is one point clear of his fellow Audi driver René Rast. Mercedes driver Lucas Auer, who still managed to score two points for finishing ninth today, is third with 97 points. Behind Jamie Green (87 points) and Mike Rockenfeller (79 points), Maxime Martin is the best-placed BMW driver with 78 points. This time, the Belgian didn’t score any points due to his retirement.
After a four weeks’ summer break, the DTM is racing at Zandvoort in The Netherlands from 18-20 August, 2017. The circuit in the dunes serves as the venue for the eleventh and twelfth race of the season.