Mattias Ekstrom took his second win in three DTM races with a dominant performance in wet conditions at Oschersleben while title contenders Martin Tomczyk and Bruno Spengler suffered differing fortunes.
The Swede, who had started from fourth spot, grabbed the lead from Spengler's HWA Mercedes into Turn 3 on lap eight and steadily pulled away to victory by over 42 seconds in his Abt Audi.
Spengler looked set for a comfortable second place until the front end of his car began to bounce around excessively at high speeds, possibly after the Canadian clattered a curb at the chicane just after his first pit stop. He made his second stop earlier than planned, but lost more than 20sec as the HWA crew struggled to remove his right-front wheel and dropped to 11th spot, leaving himself a huge task to move back into the points in the 14 laps that remained.
His problem moved Tomczyk's Phoenix Audi, which had started down in 14th, up to second, but the championship leader immediately threw the position away by going off at Turn 1, dropping behind Edoardo Mortara's Rosberg-run A4.
Tomczyk, who had brilliantly climbed to sixth place by the end of the first lap, repassed Mortara for second following the final stops and finished there to increase his championship lead to nine points over Spengler – who retired with two laps to go after complaining of fading brakes – with only two races to go and 20 points available.
Gary Paffett and Christian Vietoris, who started from the back row, both staged magnificent recovery drives to finish fourth and fifth, the HWA and Persson Mercedes drivers making the most of long first stints to climb up the order.
Vietoris, who claimed his best DTM finish, held off Mike Rockenfeller's Abt Audi by just under a second, while Maro Engel recovered from being tipped into a spin on the first lap to finish seventh in his Mucke Mercedes.
Polesitter Miguel Molina had a fraught race. He went off at the first corner of the race, losing the lead to Spengler and rejoining just in time to spin his Abt team-mate Timo Scheider down to the back of the field.
The Spaniard ran third during the early stages, but eventually fell back to finish eighth – still his best result of the year – following a trip through the gravel at Turn 7 late on. Scheider, meanwhile, drove magnificently to climb to fifth by half-distance, right behind Mortara, but he was ordered to park by his team as his engine temperature began to soar.
After running inside the top five early on, Oliver Jarvis went off twice and became involved in a close scrap with Jamie Green during the closing stages; the Abt and HWA cars making contact on a number of occasions.
Jarvis finished ninth, with David Coulthard getting his Mucke Mercedes ahead of Green by the end, too.
Ralf Schumacher ran fourth early on, but spun back to seventh at Turn 1 under pressure from Tomczyk and then collided with Filipe Albuquerque's Rosberg Audi two corners later, putting him out.
Results - 45 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi 1h16m14.996s
2. Martin Tomczyk Phoenix Audi + 42.167s
3. Edoardo Mortara Rosberg Audi + 43.376s
4. Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes + 53.184s
5. Christian Vietoris Persson Mercedes + 53.873s
6. Mike Rockenfeller Abt Audi + 54.795s
7. Maro Engel Mucke Mercedes + 56.504s
8. Miguel Molina Abt Audi + 1m04.593s
9. Oliver Jarvis Abt Audi + 1m22.704s
10. David Coulthard Mucke Mercedes + 1m25.008s
11. Jamie Green HWA Mercedes + 1m27.514s
12. Rahel Frey Phoenix Audi + 1 lap
Bruno Spengler HWA Mercedes 42 laps
Timo Scheider Abt Audi 25 laps
Filipe Albuquerque Rosberg Audi 11 laps
Ralf Schumacher HWA Mercedes 9 laps
Renger van der Zande Persson Mercedes 6 laps
Susie Stoddart Persson Mercedes 2 laps