British racer Gary Paffett celebrated Sunday's DTM victory at the Lausitzring and handed Mercedes-Benz their 150th series win.
Britain’s Gary Paffett delivered an outstanding performance at the Lausitzring in Germany on Sunday to claim his 20th career DTM race victory, his first win of the 2013 season, to climb into third place in the championship standings. The success was also the 150th DTM victory for Mercedes-Benz.
Making a faultless start from second on the grid, his best qualifying run of the year so far, the 2005 DTM Champion sliced past pole-sitter, and fellow Mercedes driver, Christian Vietoris to take the lead on the inside into Turn One and was never realistically challenged thereafter.
Paffett was at the sharp end throughout each track session during the weekend, beginning with the second fastest time in free practice and going on to battle for pole in qualifying. Progressing from the Q1 session with the second fastest time, he went on to lap quickest in Q2 and Q3 before ending the fourth and final period second fastest.
Not that it made any difference in the race for the Bromley-born driver as he surged into the lead when the lights went out and was only ever headed when out of sequence during the mandatory pit-stops. Beginning the race on the softer ‘option’ Hankook tyres, Paffett built a healthy advantage before his first stop on lap 25 when a set of prime rubber was fitted to his Mercedes.
Managing to keep Mike Rockenfeller’s Audi at bay during the second phase of the 52-lap encounter, Paffett served his second stop on lap 40 and when the remainder of the pit-stops played out he was 1.1 seconds clear of Rockenfeller.
Pulling away to a supreme 6.8 second winning margin, Paffett’s richly deserved victory enabled him to leap from seventh in the championship into the top three, the highest placed of the Mercedes drivers, just 12 points shy of the top of the standings. With his 20th career win, he has also become the third most successful competitor in the history of the DTM in terms of total victories.
Gary Paffett: “I had a great car, it was a perfect race, we got everything out of the option tyres and then tried to keep our margin big enough to prevent Rocky [Mike Rockenfeller] from using the DRS. My EURONICS Mercedes AMG C Coupé was simply brilliant to drive the whole weekend. After the disappointing start to the season, the team has really got stuck in over these last couple of weeks and this victory is the perfect reward for all our hard work. It's been a while since I last won a race. This one is all the more satisfying because it's my twentieth in the DTM.”
Round five of the DTM season will take place four weeks from now on 13th/14th July at the Norisring in Germany.