British DTM driver Gary Paffett endured a difficult race weekend in Valencia with the Mercedes cars struggling for grip under hot track conditions. The cool conditions of Friday’s free practice had suited the Mercedes cars, with them taking four of the top six positions at the end of the session. Track temperature increased dramatically for Saturday’s qualifying session which resulted in Paffett’s car sliding around a lot and making it difficult to post a perfect lap.
Paffett posted a lap time of 1:30.297 which saw him line up his THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Class in ninth position for the race. At the start of the race, while Paffett was lining up Jarvis for a pass, Tomczyk and Green were able to slip past into turn one for ninth and tenth place. Given that twelfth placed Spengler was fighting for the Championship, Paffett didn’t put up a fight when his Mercedes team mate came up behind him at turn four, leaving Paffett in twelfth place at the start of lap two.
On lap twelve the field began pitting for their first stop of the afternoon. Paffett pitted late so was running in P3 when he headed into the pits on lap 17.
Paffett rejoined the field in P12 behind Spengler and, despite lapping quicker than the Canadian, supported his attempts to secure the Championship by not challenging him for the position. On lap 25 Paffett pitted for the second time and came out in P13. Two laps later Paffett passed Engel and was back running in twelfth place.
It took just four more laps for Paffett to catch and pass eleventh placed driver Mortara, which left Paffett running behind Spengler once more. On the last lap, Green ran wide and into the gravel which elevated Paffett to tenth place but as Coulthard’s and van der Zande’s races were not classified due to them being under investigation for technical infringements during qualifying, Paffett recorded an eighth place finish.
“What started off to be quite a promising weekend unfortunately ended up a bit disappointing as we just lacked grip in the high temperatures of Saturday and Sunday. The car handled well across the weekend, we just didn’t have the pace of the Audis when the temperatures shot up on Saturday and Sunday;” commented Gary Paffett. “It’s a shame that Bruno wasn’t able to clinch the driver’s Championship but Martin has had a fantastic season so I would like to congratulate him on well deserved title win.
We now look ahead to the final race of the Championship where we will be fighting hard for a strong end to what has been a difficult season;” continued Paffett. Gary Paffett heads to Hockenheim, Germany for the final round of the DTM Championship on October 23rd. Gary is currently ninth in the Championship with twenty one Championship points.