Mercedes-Benz driver Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) took part in his 100th DTM race at the third-to-last DTM event of the season in Oschersleben on Sunday. After a tough qualifying session and being handed a five-place grid penalty, Paffett fought his way up the field during the 51 laps from grid position twelve to sixth place.
His fellow Mercedes drivers, Roberto Merhi (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Daniel Juncadella (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) and Christian Vietoris (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) came home in positions 14, 17 and 18 respectively.
Winner of the last race at the Nürburgring Robert Wickens was rear-ended by another driver after making a successful overtaking manoeuvre. The back of his STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé was damaged to such an extent that he was forced to retire.
Overall standings: The race at Oschersleben was won by Augusto Farfus (BMW). A total of 70,500 spectators came through the gates during the weekend. After eight of ten races, Mike Rockenfeller (Audi / 124 points) leads from Farfus (BMW / 91 points) in the overall standings.
Christian Vietoris (71 points) and Robert Wickens (70 points) are placed third and fourth in the drivers' standings. STIHL / AMG Mercedes lead the DTM team standings on 141 points.
The next race: The ninth round of the 2013 DTM season will be staged from 28th to 29th September at Zandvoort in the Netherlands.
Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 6th place): “Too bad that I was only in twelfth place on the grid as a result of my penalty. I drove a strong race and kept seeing Mike Rockenfeller and Augusto Farfus as they ducked out of sight at the end of the straights. Audi were very strong today but not invincible. Unfortunately, we lost the race yesterday in qualifying.
We were not too far behind in terms of pace and were just unlucky on Saturday. Everyone knows how closely contested and how evenly matched the field is in the DTM, and moving forwards is not easy from a low starting position. Had I been in seventh place on the grid, then I would have had a better chance of being among the front-runners at the finish.
Now we’ll have to try to qualify well up the field again for the next race at Zandvoort. We will then be in contention for a place among the leaders once more.”
Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 11th place): “We went for a slightly different strategy to most other teams in the field. I think it might have worked, as my speed was super once again. But I hit heavy traffic just before the end and was involved in hard-fought scraps. That all cost time, of course. So as a result, nothing more was to be done, unfortunately.”
Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 14th place): “I got away to a good start and moved up a few places. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really push on the standard tyres and the competition on options were a whole lot quicker than me. After switching to options, I too was very quick and could even catch Robert and Gary.
But when I had to go back onto the standard rubber, I found that the grip had gone again and I slid around a fair bit. Looking on the positive side of things, though, I was a lot faster in the race today than yesterday in qualifying and was at least able to gain a few places.”
Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 17th place): “My pace wasn’t so good at the start of the race because I was stuck first behind Christian, then behind Andy Priaulx and was unable to get any real benefit from my option tyres. Unfortunately, Saturday didn’t go too well for me. Still, I've enjoyed racing at this track, and it’s all vital experience for the future, even if the end result wasn’t too brilliant.”
Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - 18th place): “It was quite a tough weekend for me from the word go. We were too slow in first practice and didn’t do any better in qualifying or in the race. P18 was not what we had hoped for. Overall, it’s a great pity. Now we need to focus on Zandvoort, and I'll be doing my utmost to finish the season in the Top Three.”
Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé - retired): “I got off to a good start, but unfortunately, was forced onto the grass whilst still on the straight. My race went very well actually after that, and I was heading for the points. Then there was the incident with Bruno. I think the TV footage says it all. I'm sorry for my team, but we're looking to the future now and we’ll try to secure a better result in Zandvoort.”
Wolfgang Schattling, Head of DTM Management: “That was a disappointing weekend as far as we are concerned, but at least, Gary was able to fight his way up into sixth position. Gary went on a good charge to mark his 100th DTM race. Unfortunately, our team's performance this weekend was not as strong as it has been in other races this season. That was due to some extent to the weather in qualifying here in Oschersleben.
We will now analyse exactly why we were not as good as expected in qualifying and in the race so that we can be well prepared for the final two race weekends of the season at Zandvoort and Hockenheim. The scrap between Robert and Bruno Spengler was hard but need not have ended with both of them having to retire. However, we will put that all behind us now and focus on the final two races.”