Gary Paffett DTM Champion
Bernd Schneider Wins the Final Race
Triple for Mercedes-Benz
Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes) is the 2005 DTM Champion. After five victories this year, Paffett secured the title win with a third place behind Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) and Jamie Green (Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes).
Schneider won the final race like last year and achieved the 39th DTM win in his 200th start. Paffett won the championship with 84 points ahead of Mattias Ekström (Audi) with 71 points and has won the title now in every motor sport category he took part in.
Schneider improved to fourth overall with 32 points. Mercedes-Benz also won the Manufacturers' Championship. Team DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes had won the team title already three weeks ago at Istanbul. A record crowd of 147,000 attended the event.
Schneider, third in qualifying, made a perfect start on a wet track and overtook pole sitter Green and Tom Kristensen (Audi) to take the lead. In the first two laps, Paffett fought with Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Opel) for fifth position; afterwards he attacked Frank Stippler (Audi) in fourth place.
Schneider, Green and Paffett made their first pit stops on lap 16. Two laps later, Schneider was back in the lead ahead of Green whilst Paffett was again fifth behind Stippler. The Englishman came into the pits for the second time on lap 25. He then fought with Kristensen for third place.
On lap 31, Gary passed the Audi driver in front of the Mercedes grandstand. Schneider and Green pitted for the second time on lap 27 and resumed first and second. After 36 laps Schneider won ahead of Green whilst Paffett completed the Mercedes triple like in the season opener in April with third place.
Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) pitted on laps 17 and 28 and ended up 13th. Mika Häkkinen (Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes) had a coming-together with Bernd Schneider on lap 17 and resumed with a damaged right rear fender. He made his pit stops on laps 17 and 21 and came home 15th.
Gary Paffett, DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes, third and champion:
"I'm really happy to achieve this championship. It's a great feeling to win the title. It has been a perfect season and everybody in the team worked really hard throughout the year and I want to thank them. Today's race was tough. It was difficult to find the right timing to change the tyres. The battle with the Audis was hard but fair. Thank you to my HWA guys -- you are great!"
Bernd Schneider, Vodafone AMG-Mercedes, winner:
"The whole weekend I had this feeling that the race win was possible. However, in today's conditions you also needed a bit of luck. Therefore I'm even happier to repeat last year's victory in the final race."
Jamie Green, Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes, second:
"Bernd had a better start than me and this was a preliminary decision. After I had changed to slicks I was able to re-pass Tom Kristensen. I'm satisfied to have achieved my second podium finish of the year."
Bruno Spengler, Mercedes Second Hand Cars, eighth and best driver of a 2004 AMG-Mercedes C-Class.:
"My car improved lap by lap in the course of the race. I'm happy to have scored one point in the final race."
Jean Alesi, AMG-Mercedes, 13.:
"In the wet I was just not fast enough; however, when the track dried out I became faster and faster. Unfortunately, it was not enough to score points."
Mika Häkkinen, Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes, 15.:
"An exciting race and a great season final for our team. It's a shame that I lost my fourth place overall to Bernd after we had a short coming together."
Stefan Mücke, Mücke Motorsport AMG-Mercedes improved from 20th on the grid to 11th at the chequered flag. His team mate Alexandros Margaritis retired on lap 19 after an accident.
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
"Congratulations to Gary Paffett on his title win and to Bernd Schneider on today's victory. I thank the HWA team under Gerhard Ungar and Hans-Jürgen Mattheis who made a fantastic job throughout the year. Today they found the correct set-up in difficult conditions. It's perfect to end the season with a 1-2-3 victory."
"The C-Class ruled and it's a rare achievement that one manufacturer wins all three titles within one year. I thank everybody for this success. Our fights with the competition were hard and fair. A great DTM season ended in front of an impressive crowd with a record attendance. We all hope that Heinz-Harald Frentzen did not incur any severe injuries in his accident."