World Rally and World Rallycross champion Petter Solberg became the seventh different race winner in The Race Legends Trophy in the reverse-grid race at the Nurburgring.
Solberg, who had started the race from pole, led until late contact with Dario Franchitti and then followed Juan Pablo Montoya at the chequered flag, inheriting the win once Montoya was penalised.
Franchitti started third but was overtaken by Vitantonio Liuzzi off the line, with the ex-F1 driver then making contact with three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves – and though they’d kept position, their battle handed Solberg significant breathing room out front.
The rally legend’s pursuers continued to keep each other busy as Franchitti threw it down the inside of Liuzzi at the NGK chicane and hit Castroneves instead. Franchitti and Castroneves straightlined the chicane as a result but otherwise continued unimpeded, while Liuzzi then spun by himself at the final corner.
Franchitti soon overtook Castroneves for second down the inside of Turn 1, and set out in pursuit of Solberg – and while the latter’s lead hovered around two seconds for the next couple of laps, it soon began to go down rapidly.
By the penultimate lap in the six-lap race Franchitti had caught Solberg but another overtaking attempt from the four-time IndyCar champion at the chicane went awry yet again, leaving Franchitti in a half-spin and bringing Montoya – who had nudged his way past Castroneves – right into the thick of the battle.
On the final tour, Franchitti punted Solberg off at the hairpin and was then himself unsettled by a tap from Montoya approaching the NGK chicane, spinning out as a result.
Montoya thus finished first on the road, but was disqualified for corner cutting, handing a maiden Legends Trophy win to Solberg.
Jenson Button, who had won the opening race, had early contact with Emanuele Pirro at the hairpin and had to fight his way through the pack twice after a second-lap spin.
His subsequent progress up the order was aided by two penultimate-lap crashes right ahead, the first involving Darren Turner and Castroneves on the start-finish straight and the second between Adrian Fernandez and Liuzzi into the hairpin.
The late Montoya-Franchitti incident then promoted Button into third on the road, but he too was penalised.
As such, Castroneves and Franchitti completed the podium, ahead of Turner and Pirro.