Tom Kristensen Wins Season Opener at Hockenheim

After announcing this will be his final DTM campaign in career, Danish driver Tom Kristensen took his first win in the series after a 3-year absence during this weekend's season opener at Hockenheim. The Audi driver took advantage of a penultimate-lap puncture from race leader Mattias Ekstrom to score the whole 10 points on Sunday.

Ekstrom dominated the race from one end to another, only for his tire to blow with 2 laps to go to the chequered flag. He was forced to pit one lap to the finish line, leaving Kristensen and reigning champion Timo Scheider to fight to the first win of the season. The Dane kept his cool and managed to stay in front of his teammate, eventually crossing the finish line less than half of second ahead.

Ekstrom's effort on Sunday was only good for 7th place, as he lost no less than 46 second to Kristensen in the final 2 laps of the race. Completing the podium was also an Audi driver, Oliver Jarvis, competing in a 2008-spec machinery.

Audi scored an impressive 4 out of 4 at Hockenheim, as Markus Winkelhock came 4th overall, almost 11 seconds ahead of Mercedes' highest finisher Paul di Resta. The German manufacturer had a troubled day on Sunday, as both Gary Paffett and Bruno Spengler failed to finish the race (the former due to accident damage, while the latter with a suspension problem).

Mercedes' 4th works driver Jamie Green finished the race in 8th place, 2 places down from privateer Maro Engel. Ralf Schumacher, the victim of a first lap incident involving Paffett – whose car's bonnet flew up and broke the German's windshield – finished just outside the points, in 9th place.

The 2nd round of the DTM calendar is scheduled for May 31st, at Lausitzring, where Mercedes is expected to turn the clock on the championship fight. The Stuttgart-based manufacturer has clinched no less than 7 wins in the last 8 events at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz.
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