Norisring DTM: Mortara wins as Audi continues to struggle
Edoardo Mortara converted his pole position into a victory in the Saturday DTM race at Norisring, with Audi continuing to struggle and failing to score points.
Mortara, who beat Philipp Eng by 0.001s in qualifying, led off the line, despite the BMW driver having managed a slightly better launch.
With Eng pitting at the end of the opening lap, fellow BMW driver Marco Wittmann was in second as the only non-Mercedes driver in the top five - with Paul di Resta, Gary Paffett and Lucas Auer following the German.
The gap between Mortara and Wittmann remained around half a second when the latter pitted on Lap 7.
Mortara reacted by changing tyres a lap later, and he managed to stay ahead of Wittmann, as well as early-stoppers Eng and Daniel Juncadella.
Paffett passed Di Resta to take the lead shortly afterwards, only for him to pit as well.
Although Paffett rejoined ahead of both Mortara and Wittmann, the Italian made a move on his Mercedes teammate at Turn 1.
Paffett tried to keep Wittmann at bay, but the BMW driver also forced his way through, passing the Briton, still on cold tyres, on the outside of the Scholler chicane.
The provisional top three remained close, pulling away from Eng and Juncadella, who couldn't keep up on older rubber.
Wittmann never dropped more than one second behind Mortara, but it was the BMW driver who ended up losing position as Paffett stole second into Turn 1 with 20 minutes left on the clock.
It was then Paffett's turn to closely follow Mortara, the Briton putting increasing pressure as the final laps approached.
He once went side-by-side with Mortara at Turn 1, but didn't have a serious chance to make a move stick and eventually settled for second.
Wittmann temporarily lost ground but caught up with the top two again to take third, only 1.2s behind.
The trio of di Resta, Bruno Spengler and Auer passed Juncadella soon after their stops, but spent a big chunk of the race behind fourth-placed Eng.
Eventually, Di Resta passed the Austrian to take fourth, but Eng held on to fifth ahead of Spengler and Auer.
Juncadella ended up eighth followed by Joel Eriksson and Timo Glock.
With Paffett taking second, he snatched the championship lead from Glock and now has a six-point advantage.
For the second time in the seven 2018 races, Audi failed to score points as the brand's highest-placed driver, Jamie Green, was 11th.
He finished ahead of Robin Frijns, who waited to pit until the very last lap of the race.
Race 1 results
|1||Edoardo Mortara||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||68|
|2||Gary Paffett||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||68||0.681|
|3||Marco Wittmann||BMW M4 DTM||68||1.286|
|4||Paul di Resta||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||68||8.550|
|5||Philipp Eng||BMW M4 DTM||68||13.773|
|6||Bruno Spengler||BMW M4 DTM||68||14.169|
|7||Lucas Auer||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||68||14.874|
|8||Daniel Juncadella||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||68||15.205|
|9||Joel Eriksson||BMW M4 DTM||68||15.813|
|10||Timo Glock||BMW M4 DTM||68||16.681|
|11||Jamie Green||Audi RS5 DTM||68||23.330|
|12||Robin Frijns||Audi RS5 DTM||68||24.505|
|13||Pascal Wehrlein||Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM||68||28.033|
|14||Augusto Farfus||BMW M4 DTM||68||30.382|
|15||Mike Rockenfeller||Audi RS5 DTM||68||30.803|
|16||René Rast||Audi RS5 DTM||68||31.632|
|17||Loic Duval||Audi RS5 DTM||68||42.539|
|18||Nico Müller||Audi RS5 DTM||67||1 lap|
DTM and Super GT sign off Class One regs
Norisring DTM: Juncadella tops red-flagged qualifying