The second half of the 2017 DTM season started with a thrilling and spectacular race at the Moscow Raceway on Sunday. Maro Engel celebrated his first win in what is probably the most popular international touring car series. The Mercedes-Benz driver completed the mandatory tyre change on the first lap, and this strategy proved successful. The 29-year-old made the most of the fast and consistent dry-weather tyre from premium partner Hankook to progress to the head of the field. He recorded a personal best on the last lap and crossed the finishing line in first place after 36 laps. Second place was claimed by Mattias Ekström (Audi), who returned to the top of the drivers' standings.
Moscow/Russia, 23rd July 2017
Maro Engel started Sunday's race at the Moscow Raceway from the second last position on the grid and was not afraid to risk everything with an early pit-stop strategy. The Hankook Ventus Race tyre rewarded this courageous approach, as its high level of grip and extremely consistent performance helped the Mercedes-Benz driver to mount an unbelievable chase. Maro Engel took the lead on lap 23 without the burden of an outstanding pit stop, and defended his position to the finish.
Mattias Ekström had started Sunday's race in Moscow from second place and had moved into the lead on lap twelve, before slipping back again after his mandatory pit stop. The fresh set of Hankook tyres then helped the Swedish driver to make some spectacular overtaking manoeuvres but it was not quite enough to claim victory. However, a second-place finish enabled him to reclaim the lead in the overall standings.
Pole-setter Bruno Spengler secured third place right at the death. On the final lap, the BMW driver overtook team-mate Marco Wittmann to claim the third podium position. The reigning DTM champion was also caught and passed by René Rast (Audi), who finished fourth and is now second in the drivers' rankings, just one point behind Ekström. Lucas Auer (Mercedes-Benz) is in third place.
Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook Motorsport Director Europe: "The spectators at the Moscow Raceway once again enjoyed motorsport of the highest quality. There were thrilling battles for position, the lead changed hands on several occasions and we had a surprise winner. The strong and consistent performance of the Hankook race tyre mean that even those drivers who start from the back of the grid can have a chance of winning, with the right race strategy. That makes the DTM even more spectacular and exciting than before."
The Audi Sport Team Phoenix recorded the fastest pit stop at the Moscow Raceway with a time of 38.950 seconds, which is rewarded with 25 points in the overall standings as part of the Best Pit Stop Award from Hankook. The victorious crew will also get three crates of beer at the next DTM race weekend in Zandvoort.
Maro Engel (Mercedes-Benz): "The Hankook tyres were great and lasted fantastically well. The good balance of the car played its part there. I drove my best time on the final lap, which shows that our tyre management was perfect. This was the key to victory."
Mattias Ekström (Audi): "The race was shortened by the long Safety Car phase. Everything was fine with the tyres."
Bruno Spengler (BMW): "The Hankook tyres played a decisive role today. I was a bit unlucky as the Safety Car came out early while I was in the lead, which pushed the field closer back together. The tyres were very good, especially after my pit stop. I had a fast second stint and I am very pleased with my podium finish."