Touring Cars: Hakkinen rolls back the years with win

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The Independent Online

The former Formula One world champion Mika Hakkinen claimed his first German Touring Car Championship win in round three of the series at Spa-Francorchamps.

The former Formula One world champion Mika Hakkinen claimed his first German Touring Car Championship win in round three of the series at Spa-Francorchamps.

Hakkinen began from pole in his Mercedes and finished 4.2sec ahead of the reigning champion Mattias Ekstrom in an Audi. Tom Kristensen finished third while Gary Paffett was the first Briton home as he ended up eighth despite making contact with Pierre Kaffer in the early stages and having to serve a stop-go penalty. The result kept Paffett in the championship lead, two points ahead of team-mate Hakkinen.

"The team deserves all of the credit, the Mercedes is a fantastic car and we had great tactics for the race. We are all motivated and focused. I'm very, very happy," Hakkinen said.

Allan McNish retired from the closing stages after he had looked set to finish inside the top eight for the first time when a puncture three laps from the end forced the Audi driver out.

At Silverstone, the BMW driver Dirk Muller maintained his lead of the World Touring Car Championship after races five and six of the series.

Muller has a two-point lead from Alfa Romeo driver Gabriele Tarquini in the drivers' standings after Tarquini claimed his first world touring car victory of the season as he won the first race yesterday to move from fifth in the standings.

Tarquini finished ahead of team-mate James Thompson in the first race after starting from pole position, with Fabrizio Giovanardi third to round off an all-Alfa Romeo podium.

Seat's Rickard Rydell won the second race ahead of Jason Plato, who was making his debut in the series at his home track, with Tarquini in third.

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