PAFFETT DRIVES FROM 10TH TO 4th TO SECURE A FURTHER FIVE CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
British DTM driver Gary Paffett drove a strong race today in Oschersleben which saw him make up six places during the race and collect five valuable Championship points.
After a difficult qualifying session on Saturday, Paffett lined his Salzgitter Mercedes-Benz up on the fifth row of the grid, in tenth place. With his nearest championship title contenders locking out the front row of the grid, Paffett took to the track with his sights firmly set on the front of the pack.
When the lights went out, Paffett got a good start and immediately overtook ninth placed Green. At turn two on the opening lap, 8th placed Molina spun into the gravel trap after making contact with 7th placed Jarvis which allowed Paffett through into P7.
Paffett was immediately right on the back of 6th placed Tomczyk and began looking for a way past. On lap seven Paffett seized the opportunity to overtake Tomczyk coming out of the first corner and then set his sights firmly on fifth placed Rockenfeller who was half a second ahead.
On lap nine race control declared Paffett's overtaking manoeuvre on Tomczyk as 'irregular' which resulted in Paffett having to give his position back to the Audi driver. Having pulled out a good gap ahead of Tomczyk in just two laps, Paffett had to slow considerably to allow Tomczyk to catch him and pass him.
Paffett continued to keep the pressure on Tomczyk in the battle for sixth place before pitting on lap 13. After a solid pit stop, Paffett rejoined in 9th position, directly behind Tomczyk. Over the next few laps Paffett continued to attack Tomczyk and on lap 16 made a move coming out of the second corner to take sixth position.
Paffett now focused his attention on 5th placed Rockenfeller who was currently seven seconds ahead. Free of Tomczyk and with his second set of tyres performing well, Paffett was lapping 1.5 seconds faster than Tomczyk and began to reel in Rockenfeller.
On lap 22 after every driver has taken their first pit stop, Paffett was in P6, and had closed the gap to 2.5 seconds behind Rockenfeller.
Paffett spent the next ten laps closing in on Rockenfeller and was right behind him when he came into the pits on lap 32. After a faultless pitstop from the team, Paffett rejoined the track in 5th position having leapfrogged Rockenfeller in the pits.
On lap 34, Schieder suffered a right rear puncture which forced him to pit and allowed Paffett to move into P4. Paffett's next target was third placed Ekstrom who was now just over one second ahead.
Having kept Ekstrom under pressure for five laps, Paffett had got the gap down to 0.4 seconds by lap 39. For the next eleven laps, Paffett continued to apply the pressure on Ekstrom and the gap between the two drivers fluctuated between 0.8 and 0.4 seconds.
By this stage in the race, having followed Ekstrom closely for almost twenty laps, Paffett's tyres were worn out which resulted in the rear of the car moving around and meant that he couldn't mount a good challenge for third place.
Unable to find a way past in the closing laps, Paffett crossed the line in a solid fourth position, only just missing out on a podium finish.
"Considering yesterday's qualifying position, I am really pleased with today's result. The aim today was to make up as many positions as possible during the race and therefore limit the number of points that my championship rivals Spengler and Di Rests could take;" commented Paffett.
"It was very disappointing to get a penalty for my move on Tomczyk as I felt confident that without the penalty that I would have been on for a podium finish. However the battle at the top of the table remains close and with three races left to go, my focus is the top step of the podium at all three races;" continued Paffett.
Today's result sees Paffett maintain his third place in the Championship with (44) points, 9 points behind second-placed Di Resta. With three races to go in the 2010 season Paffett's team - Salzgitter Mercedes-Benz AMG - currently lead the team ranking with (104) points.
Gary Paffett will head to Hockenheim for Round Nine of the Championship on the 17th October.