Gary Paffett press release
Today’s rain left British DTM driver Gary Paffett unable to convert his front row qualifying position into a podium finish. After being dry all weekend, heavy rain began to fall just one hour before the start of the race, leaving the team with a tough call to make on set up for the race.
Paffett had been on the pace during the weekend’s practice sessions and on Saturday afternoon put his car through into a tightly contested Q4. Setting the second fastest time of the session, Paffett lined his THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Class up on the grid next to pole-sitter Mike Rockenfeller.
After two days of sunshine, rain began to fall heavily just ahead of the race, forcing the grid to start on wet tyres. When the lights went green Paffett made a good start, but Ekström came storming through from P5 and was able to snatch P2 heading into turn two.
On lap two Paffett was caught up in a battle with Tomczyk and Mortara and the three drivers spent the lap trading places before Tomczyk was able to squeeze past. Mortara then made an overly-optimistic move on Paffett which saw the Italian driver make contact with Paffett’s Mercedes as he went for P4.
On lap three Paffett began to open up a gap ahead of sixth placed Schumacher, and now had his sights set on the four Audis ahead who had managed to pull out a sizeable gap.
The rain began to let off and by lap 29 Paffett had closed up on the back of Rockenfeller. Paffett stayed on the tail of the Audi, but was unable to find a way past, which meant that by lap 40 Rockenfeller had backed Paffett into Schumacher and Spengler, with the four drivers battling for P4.
On Lap 45 Paffett made his first pit stop of the day and rejoined in P4; successfully jumping Rockenfeller in the pits. Paffett’s next focus was third placed Mortara.
Lap 70 saw Paffett make his second pit stop and he rejoined the track in P4, but having closed the gap slightly to Mortara. Paffett then spent the next twenty five laps putting in quick lap after quick lap and was able to close the gap to Mortara to less than a second.
On the second and third sets of tyres we were more competitive
The wet conditions and the resulting slower lap times meant the race turned to a timed race and with the clock counting down, Paffett ran out of laps to catch and pass Mortara, so crossed the line in P4.
“I’ve had a really mixed weekend at Brands Hatch. We started firmly on the pace and as the weekend progressed got quicker; firstly qualifying P2 and then setting the quickest lap in the final warm up session. I definitely feel that if the race had been dry then it would have been a different story and I would have had a good chance of standing on the top step of the podium;” commented Gary Paffett.
“However, in the wet we simply didn’t have the pace. The Audis were able to get past me at the start and then pull away, and for the first part of the race we had no answer for them. On the second and third sets of tyres we were more competitive but by then we were too far back to win. I’m pleased to have finished as the top Mercedes driver but after being the fastest ahead of the race, it is disappointing not to be coming away with a victory;” continued Paffett.
Gary Paffett heads to Oschersleben, Germany for round eight of the DTM Championship on September 18th. Gary is currently eighth in the Championship with fifteen Championship points.