Nancy Knapp Schilke
Tomczyk just a tad faster than Paffett in opening practice at Brands Hatch Indy circuit
Martin Tomczyk set the fastest time on the shortest track that the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) series will race on this year. Touring the 1.929 km circuit in his BMW Team RMG M3, Tomczyk had a best lap of 42.415 seconds; just 0.077 seconds faster than homeland hero Gary Paffett. The Mercedes AMG C-Coupe driver was followed by Christian Vietoris, also for Mercedes.
The top racers for BMW, Mercedes and Audi were all setting hot laps in preparation for this weekend’s fourth round on the 2012 calendar, and their only race in the United Kingdom. After the 90 minute practice session, the drivers will not be back out on track until Saturday morning for the final preparation of setting up their touring cars prior to qualifying.
At this time, it is hard to predict the pole with the cream of the crop with only one hundredths of a second separation, and by tomorrow, every thousandths of a second will be valuable.
While the German was fastest today, the early bets are on the duo for the HWA Mercedes team. It is the home race for current points leader Paffett and his teammate Jamie Green, who is second in the points. But they both will have to contend with the 2011 champion Tomczyk who started a new chapter in his racing career this season by switching from Audi to BMW, and after watching Bruno Spengler take the first pole and victory for BMW, the German wants to be on the top of the podium.
Rounding out the top ten in this afternoon’s practice were Robert Wickens (Mercedes), Roberto Merhi (Mercedes), Spengler, Augusto Farfus (BMW), Mattias Ekstrom (Audi), Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes) , Green, and Edoardo Mortara (Audi).