Augusto Farfus played his strategy to perfection to win the opening round of the DTM at Hockenheim.
The RBM BMW driver ran second to polesitter Timo Scheider for the opening handful of laps, but used his DRS to take the lead from the Abt Audi at the hairpin on lap six. The Brazilian, who had started on the newly introduced option tires, stopped for the first time on lap seven while the safety car was on track and then spent the middle section of the race out of position as a host of different tire strategies were employed. He crucially overtook Danie Juncadella for fifth spot at the Spitz Kehre shortly after he had pitted for the final time. That then became the lead when the cars ahead of him made their final stops.
The surprise of the race came from Dirk Werner, who started 20th, stopped under the and then ran an ultra-long middle stint on the option tires – which proved far more durable than expected – and emerged in second after his final visit to the pits.
The Schnitzer driver's best DTM result completed a 1-2 for BMW, ahead of HWA Mercedes duo Christian Vietoris and Gary Paffett.
Vietoris, who dropped from third to 11th on the opening lap, ran a similar strategy to Werner's and passed Paffett using DRS inside the final 10 laps. Like Werner's his result was the first time he had made the podium in a DTM race.
Paffett held off champion Bruno Spengler – with whom he had earlier banged wheels several times heading into the Mercedes Arena – for fourth.
Scheider's victory hopes ended when the safety car was brought out early on to allow Adrien Tambay's smoking Abt Audi to be cleared away from the side of the track. He stayed out for one extra lap compared to his rivals and dropped to 19th as a result. But he was able to climb to sixth by the finish, aided by a sensational move on Joey Hand's BMW around the outside at the Sachs Kurve.
Scheider was the best-placed Audi with Mike Rockenfeller eighth. Marco Wittmann and Roberto Merhi each took their first DTM points in ninth and 10th.
Mercedes rookie Pascal Wehrlein led most of the first half of the race after staying out on options during the safety car and not pitting until lap 25. He and his RSC Mucke teammate Juncadella, who ran a similar strategy, finished outside the top 10.
Mattias Ekstrom damaged the front end of his Audi in a first-corner brush with Juncadella and Paffett and was later given a drive-through penalty – after his car's hood had flown off – for spinning Edoardo Mortara.
Robert Wickens retired early on, the Canadian's strong run in fourth ending when he strangely ran straight on at the Spitz Kehre and narrowly avoided taking Spengler with him.
Results - 42 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Augusto Farfus RBM BMW 1h10m11.583s
2. Dirk Werner Schnitzer BMW + 3.692s
3. Christian Vietoris HWA Mercedes + 9.675s
4. Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes + 12.613s
5. Bruno Spengler Schnitzer BMW + 13.212s
6. Timo Scheider Abt Audi + 13.753s
7. Joey Hand RBM BMW + 14.100s
8. Mike Rockenfeller Phoenix Audi + 14.477s
9. Marco Wittmann MTEK BMW + 17.894s
10. Roberto Merhi HWA Mercedes + 19.537s
11. Pascal Wehrlein Mucke Mercedes + 20.902s
12. Daniel Juncadella Mucke Mercedes + 26.169s
13. Martin Tomczyk RMG BMW + 30.904s
14. Jamie Green Abt Audi + 41.166s
15. Miguel Molina Phoenix Audi + 43.535s
16. Filipe Albuquerque Rosberg Audi + 54.077s
17. Andy Priaulx RMG BMW + 2 laps
Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi 28 laps
Edoardo Mortara Rosberg Audi 21 laps
Timo Glock MTEK BMW 17 laps
Robert Wickens HWA Mercedes 5 laps
Adrien Tambay Abt Audi 4 laps