In the first night race in DTM history, Paul Di Resta came out on top with his Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM.
“I am absolutely happy. This was a perfect day, even though the race was difficult,” he said after the finish.
With his third victory of the season, the Scot reduced the gap to championship leader Gary Paffett to only one point. Audi driver Robin Frijns scored his maiden DTM podium finish. In a turbulent race, the Dutchman came second from Edoardo Mortara with another Mercedes-AMG.
“This victory was a major step in the championship. But it was anything but easy – hard work. I hope that I can sleep well and that my car is top again tomorrow,” said Di Resta, who achieved the maximum score of 28 points on Saturday with pole position and the race win.
Frijns with his Audi RS 5 DTM also had every reason to be happy. In his 13th DTM race, the Dutchman secured his maiden podium finish.
“I was already fast at Brands Hatch, but unfortunately, I didn’t score any points. Today’s race was great fun. The final lap in particular was sensational,” said Frijns, who still found a way past Mortara with a spirited overtaking move on the final lap. “Edo had made a mistake from which I was able to benefit. And then, he left me some room. That was a great duel.”
DTM guest driver Alex Zanardi (pictured below) drove a good race. With his BMW M4 DTM, the multiple Paralympics gold medalist took the flag in 13th place.
“I am super happy,” said the Italian, who raced without his prosthetic legs in a specially developed racecar. “For me, there are many reasons to smile. And I have learned a lot of things that I want to use in the second race tomorrow.”
Philipp Eng had almost caused a slight sensation in the 13th DTM race of the season. Having started from 18th on the grid, the Austrian temporarily had worked his way up to first place, but eventually, he finished eighth with his BMW M4 DTM.
“I had hoped for that first win for me and my team so much,” he said. “The race was thrilling. There was some contact back and forth and at the end, my car wasn’t in a perfect condition anymore.”
A pair of safety car interventions and the subsequent double-file restarts added to the excitement. The first one from lap nine to 12 followed after contact between the two Mercedes-AMG drivers Mortara and Paffett that led to the early retirement for the leader in the drivers’ standings. On lap 14, the safety car came out for another three laps.
In the DTM drivers’ standings after 13 of this season’s 20 races, three-time race winner Paffett remains in the lead. With 177 points, he is only one point ahead of Di Resta (176). Mortara (118) is third from Marco Wittmann (112) as the best-placed BMW driver. Lucas Auer (Mercedes-AMG, 110) and Timo Glock (BMW, 107) are fifth and sixth respectively.
The second DTM night race at Misano gets underway on Sunday.