Race report

Moscow DTM: Engel takes shock maiden win in frantic race

Maro Engel benefited from an early safety car period to score a shock win, the first one of his DTM career in the Sunday race at Moscow Raceway.

Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Paul Di Resta, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Marco Wittmann, BMW Team RMG, BMW M4 DTM
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
René Rast, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi RS 5 DTM

Mercedes driver Engel, who returned to DTM in 2017, hadn't finished higher than sixth in his first stint in the series in 2008-2011 – and had just four points to his name in the current standings ahead of Sunday.

But the German, who lined up on the back row of the grid, made the most of a profitable stop in the first lap, overtaking both Loic Duval and reigning champion Marco Wittmann later on en route to victory.

Having inherited pole position when fellow BMW driver Tom Blomqvist was excluded from qualifying, Bruno Spengler moved to block the fast-starting Mattias Ekstrom off the line, the Swede forced to abandon the move as he neared the inside wall.

Spengler then built up his lead to a second over the opening lap, and it fluctuated around that mark before the safety car came out on lap six.

BMW driver Maxime Martin - running towards the back of the pack after he was pushed wide by Duval at Turn 1 - was the culprit, going off into the barriers, his car's brakes erupting in flames.

The subsequent four-lap interruption bunched up the pack, which was of great benefit to Wittmann, Duval, Engel and Blomqvist, the quartet having all pitted on the opening lap.

Shortly after the race got underway again, Ekstrom nudged Spengler wide in the final corner to take the lead of the race.

He then pushed for a few laps in clean air and came into the pits for his mandatory stop on lap 16, but the Swede rejoined almost 20 seconds behind Wittmann – who soon cycled through to the front.

However, he wasn't leading, because Audi kept Nico Muller out on track, the Swiss driver dropping back and now specifically holding up the early-stoppers.

For many laps, Wittmann was unable to find a way past Muller – and on lap 22 the BMW driver instead fell prey to a cut-back move from Engel heading out of the final corner.

Engel was not able to get past Muller either and would have to shadow him until the Swiss driver finally came in on lap 33.

In the meantime, the initial gap to Ekstrom was coming down with each lap and, entering the final minutes of the race, the Swede was on the tail of Blomqvist.

Picking off the early-stoppers one by one, Ekstrom got close to Engel on the final lap, but crossed the finish line 0.3s off.

Also charging in the late stages was Spengler, who eventually brought the car home in third place for a record fifth Moscow Raceway podium.

Spengler had slipped behind the late-stopping Audi of Jamie Green, but when the Briton caught up to Wittmann and forced him wide in the final corner, the Canadian picked up the pieces.

Green also surrendered a spot to fellow Audi driver Rene Rast and finished fifth, with Wittmann coming home in sixth and Audi's Mike Rockenfeller seventh.

Blomqvist was shuffled down to eighth place at the chequered flag, finishing just ahead of Mercedes duo Lucas Auer and Robert Wickens.

Duval, meanwhile, ended up out of the points after late-race contact with the Mercedes of Paul di Resta, who was firmly in podium contention but was forced to retire because of the crash.

In the championship standings, Ekstrom has retaken the lead from Rast by one point, with Auer now a further 15 adrift.

UPDATE: A five-second penalty for Rockenfeller, for exceeding the maximum permitted number of DRS uses, dropped him from seventh to 12th in the final results - elevating Blomqvist, Auer and Wickens.

With Gary Paffett also being hit with a 30-second penalty for an incident with Duval, it meant Edoardo Mortara claimed the final point despite finishing 12th on the road.

Race results:

1 germany Maro Engel  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 56'41.087
2 sweden Mattias Ekström  Audi RS5 DTM 0.376
3 canada Bruno Spengler  BMW M4 DTM 3.981
4 germany René Rast  Audi RS5 DTM 4.702
5 united_kingdom Jamie Green  Audi RS5 DTM 5.410
6 germany Marco Wittmann  BMW M4 DTM 7.192
7 united_kingdom Tom Blomqvist  BMW M4 DTM 8.391
8 austria Lucas Auer  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 8.564
9 canada Robert Wickens  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 8.982
10 italy Edoardo Mortara  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 9.942
11 brazil Augusto Farfus  BMW M4 DTM 10.919

germany Mike Rockenfeller 

Audi RS5 DTM 12.416*
13 germany Timo Glock  BMW M4 DTM 12.505
14 france Loic Duval  Audi RS5 DTM 19.913
15 switzerland Nico Müller  Audi RS5 DTM 37.728
16 united_kingdom Gary Paffett  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 39.267*
Ret united_kingdom Paul di Resta  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 4 laps
Ret belgium Maxime Martin  BMW M4 DTM -

* includes penalty

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